Bodacious Bass!

VHS Greatness: "Bodacious Bass"

VHS Greatness: “Bodacious Bass”

If I had to pick a moment in bass fishing history when live bait become “the deal” for targeting giant bass, at least on a nationally known level, I’d personally point to the coverage of Ray Easley’s 21-pound beast caught on 8-pound line and a live crawdad back in 1980 from Lake Casitas. While the use of crawdads was popular to big bass chasers prior to that, the overall coverage to those of us not in California was a mixed bag. Previous to that time, it seemed like as much attention was devoted to tactics such as deep water lead core trolling (Doug Crandall), deep running crawdad crankbaits (Cliff Alderson), or worm fishing (Bill Beckum) as to live bait. Even ‘Lunker’ Bill Murphy was tagged as a deep-trolling lead-core specialist over other techniques (stitching, etc.) he later became famous for.

Along those lines, if I also had to pick an angler who I most associated with the use of live bait for giant bass, that would have to go to two guys; Bob Crupi and Dan Kadota. This past weekend, I pulled out an old VHS tape I hadn’t watched in quite some time called “Bodacious Bass,” A tape made in 1992 that featured these two anglers and discussed the specific aspects of their live baiting techniques.

Bob Crupi covering proper equipment in the Bodacious Bass video.

Bob Crupi covering proper equipment in the Bodacious Bass video.

In the nearly hour-long video, they break the process into a variety of segments, each covering key components of their system, combined with in-person interviews and on-the-water video. It starts with topics like map reading, then extends into rod and reel outfits (Shimano/Loomis), proper line selection (10-pound Trilene XT), hooks, and baits (crawdads, mudsuckers and waterdogs). The tape also covers their use of electronics (old Lowrance paper graphs) and their unique double-anchor system. Even things like proper coolers for keeping live bait lively are given some discussion. The guys pretty much left nothing to chance. Included in the video are also snippets of four different television shows they were featured in, including those from Roland Martin and Jeff Boyer.

As for accolades, individually, either Crupi or Kadota had represented California in the Goodyear/Bassin’ Big Bass World Championship 6 years in a row. Between the two of them, they were credited with over 175 largemouths topping the 10-pound mark. The year before the tape came out, Bob Crupi had also landed a 22-pound largemouth bass, a fish that just missed the world record mark by mere ounces. Not far behind, Dan Kadota had one over 19 pounds and one just under 19 to his credit, and had claimed to have lost two fish as large or larger. Danny owned and operated a sportboat out of southern Cal for many years. He went to freshwater fishing as a means to relax from his sportboat job. The key here is that sportboat operators are probably some of the best structure anglers there are. They know how to set up on structure based on every variable you could think of, and several made the conversion over to bass fishing rather easily. Needless to say, the guys had the credentials to back up their reputation as live bait/big bass specialists.

The guys "setting up" (double anchoring) on a spot. Screenshot from "Bodacious Bass."

The guys “setting up” (double anchoring) on a spot. Screenshot from “Bodacious Bass.”

I’m guessing the tape has long been out of production, and trying to find a copy will probably be a chore. I’ve scanned Google and eBay at various times and hardly ever find a reference to it. I actually picked mine up through direct mail by calling the then-famous bait shop out at Lake Castaic that distributed them.  That tackle shop was Claud and Shirley’s Mobile Mini Mart. According to Terry, they operated it from the time Castaic opened in the early 1970s until they closed it around the late 1990s. Terry stated, “It was sad to see it go as it was an institution at Castaic.” For all I know, I might be the only guy east of the Mississippi with a remaining copy – LOL. Needless to say, if you ever get a chance to pick one up and add it to your collection, I think it’s a nice change to the usual old books and magazines we tend to collect. Hopefully you’ll also have an old VHS tape player sitting around somewhere in the attic of your house to watch it on.

  • Andy Williamson

    Brian,
    I still view my copy, occasionally, on my VCR which is certainly not in my attic but used daily, for recording TV shows in my living room. I got my copy directly from Bob at the 1993 Big Bass World Championship in Nashville, on Percy Priest where we were both competitors. I am sure glad he was there that year, because in 1991 while launching for the first day of the BBWC, at the Belle Carol Riverboat ramp on Cheatham Lake, TN, he slipped, I believe on the ramp and broke his back. Man, that was sad for all of us. He may have made the 1992 BBWC, also, but I am not sure because I didn’t make it that year.
    Thanks for your site.

    • Trish Crupi

      We have converted the video to DVD because people have been asking for them

  • Brian

    Andy – great to hear there are others still out there with the same tape. Also very cool that you got to meet Bob and get yours directly from him. Had heard of an accident he had at the Championship, but never really heard the details. I don’t think they did too many after that. I once sent a copy of my tape to a guy in Portugal who had taken up bass fishing and had studied our big bass catches here in the USA, which at the time I thought was pretty cool. He veen sent me some pics from a bass tourney held there. Never would have guessed…

  • Marco Caetano

    I would like to have the video on DVD. Where can I buy it?

  • Yarb

    Trish – how can I get a copy of this DVD?

    Thanks

  • Ralph Manns

    I had the great pleasure of fishing Castaic and Casitas with Bob Crupi many years ago. Although our day didn’t produce any record bass, I did learn about the crawdad technique and how to double-anchor for total boat and bait movement/positioning control. Henceforth I always carried two extra-long anchor ropes with a separate fairly light lead anchors, and a short chain connected to a fluke-style anchor to grab and hold in soft bottoms.

    I tried crawdads at Fork, but had less success than I did with simple plastics and other types of live bait. I found that dads will cling to vegetation and that one side of each pincher needed to be clipped lest baits grab the vegetation. This limited my presentation effectiveness. The combo of thick vegetation (abundant Hydrilla in those days) and heavy nearby wood cover seemed to limit the effectiveness of Crupi’s light line technique.

    When I wanted to fish live bait, a waterdog or Black-Salty on 20# line worked better. These baits seemed more effective for the repeated pitches I found effective to fish the heavy wood and grass of Fork. However,` I suspect it is hard to outfish Crupi’s craw technique in rocky/slick-bottom reservoirs.

  • Terry Battisti

    Ralph,

    That would have been an awesome experience. I wish I could say I’d fished with him. I got a hold of his wife, who posted below, and will be talking with Bob soon, after I get done traveling in a few weeks. I’ll let everyone know about the CDs and an article will definitely come from that talk we have.

    Thanks everyone – especially Brian for this post.

  • Andy Williamson

    Brian,
    The Big Bass World Championship (BBWC) finals was actually held for several more years since the first one in 1991, where Bob Crupi had his accident. It ran from 1991 every year, through 2002. It actually started in 1989, but the fly-away championship finals didn’t start until 1991. In 2014, it was resurrected (on Lake Fort Gibson, OK) after a 12 year hiatus.

  • Marco Caetano

    Hi Brian! It must have been me! I’m from Portugal and I received a Bodacious Bass tape from someone in the USA! Thank you so much for sending it to me! I loved the video! It helped me a lot. I learned many things about fishing for trophy bass. I caught a nice bass on a crawdad sometime after watching it, but I never fished crawdads much. Maybe I’ll try fishing them more. Recently I was trying to convert the tape to a dvd but I found the tape was broken. 🙁 Trish Crupi said they converted the tape to dvd. Anyone knows where can I find it? I would like to buy the dvd!