Okay folks, sue me because I’m on a Western rant this week. Problem is I have a ton of Western material and I need to give the West some love. A couple days ago we posted a short that looked back at the winners of the 1979 Western Bass Team trail and today we’re going 10 years forward to 1989 and the West’s premier tournament series, West Coast Bass.
The interesting thing about these pages from the January/February 1990 issue of West Coast Bass are the names of the winners – in many cases nationally known anglers. It doesn’t take one long to go down the first page and see flipping legend Dee Thomas. Dee needs no introduction and has been written about a number of times here on the Bass Fishing Archives. He’s also been inducted into both the Professional Bass Fishing and Freshwater Fishing Halls of Fame.
Right after Dee, though, is a younger , albeit just-as-hairy, Gary Dobyns. Dobyns has arguably won more boats and tournaments on the west coast than any other angler living or dead. He’s won everything there is to win in the west, including the U.S. Open. and who knows how many AOY trophies for various tournament circuits over the years. If you look at this list of tournament wins, you’ll notice that 1989 was the “Donate to Gary” year as he won both the one-day and two day Pro-on-Pro draw circuit AOY and then teamed up with Ron Hillock to win Team of the Year. Damn overachiever is what I have to say.
The next nationally-known name would be John Murray back before he had won 40-something boats and left high school. Murray is one of the best the west has ever produced and is the western angler with the longest national career. Yeah, Greg Hines and Rich Tauber may have predated him but Murray is still at it.
On to some regional sticks that never seemed to leave the west.
If you looked at the awards list, you saw a guy named Cary Serklew. He won a ton in 1989. Cary was from southern California and cut his teeth on the old SWAB and Western Bass circuits as a teenager. He was always a threat to win and in 1989 he did a lot of it. I’m not sure why he never went national but if he had, there’s a good chance he’d have made a name for himself.
Another stellar regional angler that everyone knows of in the west is Dave Rush. Rush, like Dobyns, is one of the toughest competitors in the west, having won two FLW events, one in 2000 and the other in 2009, twenty years after he won the 1989 West Coast Bass Pro-Am AOY shown here.
Other stellar anglers the west has produced are Russ Meyer, Mike Cato (Cato n Brawley Lures), Leroy Bertolero, John Bedwell, 3-time Federation Bassmaster Classic Qualifier Jeff Boyer, Ron Glover, Kim Manning and the SoCal team of Taylor and Roady.
All the individuals and teams on the pages here were winners, and I’m sorry I didn’t make mention of all of them, but I had to at least give credit to those I knew or knew a lot about. If there’s an individual or team here that you feel needs more press, feel free to leave it in the “comments” section below.