Today we’ll look at three organizations that made up the bulk of organizations in the West – namely Western Bass Fishing Association (WBFA), the Southwest Association of Bass (SWAB) and U.S. Bass.
Moving clockwise you’ll notice two Project Sports Incorporated patches, one from the 1973 Ross Barnett event and the other from a State Championship – date unknown. PSI was one of the first tournament organizations after B.A.S.S. started the ball rolling in 1967.
Last week I ran across this 1972 Bass Pro Shops Spring Sale ad in the 1972 March/April issue of Bass Master Magazine and thought you’d find it interesting. During the months of March and April, Johnny was hosting the first two BASS Anglers of the Year, Bill Dance and Roland Martin along with future legend Billy Murray. Wallace Lea, who was a considerable threat in those early days would also be there to visit.
Although there have been major strides in the manufacture of bass boats, the biggest advances (are they really?) in bass fishing have been in the line of the gadgets we use. And speaking of these gadgets, anglers today (especially those who didn’t bass fish in the 60s through 80s) take for granted all the gizmos they have on their boats – thinking that they, “can’t catch fish without them.”
Still, Childre’s legacy lives on in the rod and reel industry. If not for him, it could have been a couple decades before the U.S. embraced the Fuji guide (Americans still considered Japanese-made products junk in those days). His new pistol grip collet design was light years ahead of anything previous and, of course, we owe him for changing the reel industry.
Here’s an ad from the 1970 Fall Issue of Bass Master Magazine showing Motor-Guide’s foot-controlled trolling motor. Notice the bracket (or what appears to be a lack thereof). The ad states, “Imagine a steering mechanism in your automobile’s accelerator pedal. That’s how Motor-Guide works. To go faster, just press down. To turn right or left, just lean your foot that way.”
Still, even equipped with small aluminum boats and minimal electronics, the anglers fiercely competed and many a fish were brought to the scales. This picture article looks back on those days and the boats the early California anglers used to compete in bass tournaments.