This last week as I was thumbing through several Bass Caster’s Association’s The Lunker Hole magazines, I came across a tournament report that caught my eye. The tournament report was from the 1978 BCA-Schlitz Pro-Am held on Missouri’s Lake of the Ozarks September 14-15. What caught my eye were two familiar faces in the lead picture. They were Guido Hibdon and Basil Bacon.
For those of you who started bass fishing after the year 2000, these names may not mean much to you at all. But to those of us who have followed the sport since the early 70s, these names are icons.
Basil Bacon fished his first B.A.S.S. event in 1973 and through the year 2002 had qualified for nine Bass Masters Classics. Over that course of time, he fished 237 Bassmaster events, placed 1st twice, had five 2nds, two 3rds and 74 Top-30 finishes. His career results with FLW are hard to pin down since MLF has muddled up the old FLW statistics.
To top that off, Bacon was the genius behind the Flippin’ switch in the early 1980s. He gave the rights of the design to ABU Garcia, who quickly placed it on many of their reels soon after. Bacon was also instrumental in the design of a number of baits, one of the most popular being his Bacon Rind flippin’ bait.
Guido Hibdon, on the other hand, started his B.A.S.S. career in 1980, two years after the article we’re writing about today. Hibdon in his career at B.A.S.S., went on to win a Classic, had four other wins, three 2nds, five 3rds, and 84 Top-30 finishes. Hibdon’s FLW results were just as impressive.
But let’s get back to the 1978 BCA-Schlitz Pro-Am report and its significance.
Here you have two of the most influential anglers of the 80s competing with the Bass Caster’s Association before their names became etched in stone. Bacon had made the 1976 Bass Masters Classic, but Hibdon had yet to fish a Bassmaster event. Neither of them were on the national radar at this time.
The tournament report starts out talking about Hibdon and how he routed the field of 279 anglers on Lake of the Ozarks. Hibdon weighed in two limits of bass that totaled 47-13, 12-pounds 8-ounces more than the second-place angler, Rich Crouch. Hibdon reported catching his fish with 7- to 9-inch worms off of points in the Hurricane Bridge area of the lake.
It’s a curious note what Hibdon reported he caught his fish on. When one thinks of Guido Hibdon, you envision small jigs, small crawdad trailers, a spinning rod, and docks. Not 7- to 9-inch worms off points.
Bacon, on the other hand, fished the Osage River Arm and relied on a home-made buzzbait in the morning. Then around noon, he’d switch tactics and flip the rest of the day to upgrade. This is a significant deal in that flipping had not been fully accepted by the masses of tournament anglers at this point. Bacon was one of the earliest proponents of the system outside the west.
The reason for this is Bacon had befriended Dave Gliebe on other tournament circuits and had an early lesson from Gliebe in 1977. From that point on, in Bacon’s words, “I was ruined.”
Bacon honed his flipping skills and became a master of the technique within a short period of time. By the end of the 1978 BCA-Schlitz Pro-Am on LOZ, Bacon had won two BCA events, placed 3rd in two BCA events and had a 10th in another all in the same season and all with the long rod.
Another aspect of the report that gives a lot of history is the pictures that were printed with it. Of course you had the lead-in picture with the Top-5 pro anglers, but they did the same for the Top-5 amateurs as well. Also on the opening pages of the report is a picture of winner Guido standing with his son Dion, another future Bass Masters Classic winner as well as FLW Cup winner.
Turn the page and you’re greeted to 10 more pictures at various stages of the event. In all the tournament report covered seven pages of the magazine, featured 20 pictures and the top-30 standings for the Pro division and Top-20 for the Amateur division. Great coverage for those that followed this organization and better coverage for people like us who want to preserve the history of the sport.
I hope you enjoyed this look back at the start of two of the sport’s most influential anglers. We’ll have more coming from the pages of The Lunker Hole in the coming weeks and months. The full article is printed in its entirety below. Click on the first image and use the arrows to scroll pages.
I’d like to acknowledge the late Clyde Drury who was the person who sent me my first The Lunker Hole magazines back in 2012. It is because of him that I have this magazine and all the 1979 issues. For those who didn’t know Clyde, he had the largest library of fishing literature in the world. He had written five books on the subject of bass literature and was a consultant for many in the collectors’ world. His library now resides at the Washington State University Library.