Today’s Throwback Thursday historical photo takes us back to a time when there were four major circuit, three of which were directly trying to take down Ma-B.A.S.S. In this photo, ABF Lake Okeechobee 1978, we look at the American Bass Fisherman Top-10 from their first event of the season.
Check out this image and who’s in it. The winner, who only fished 11 BASS events, was Al Waldron, but flanking him are Jerry Rhyne (10th), Roland Martin (5th), Dave Gliebe (3rd), and Billy Westmorland (2nd). On the bottom row are Jim Wells(9th), Johnny Adams(8th), Steve Mitchell(6th), and Bob Burress (7th). Larry Singleton, who placed in 4th, is missing from the photo.
Other big names of the day who were in the Top-50 were Walt Sawicki (13th), Ron Shearer (20th), Corbin Dyer (23rd), Bruce Cunagin (27th), Wade Singleton (38th), Hank Parker (44th), and Guy Eaker (45th).
What this photo really shows, though, is that these top B.A.S.S. pros didn’t just fish the BASSMaster Trail. They fished everything they could get to. Not only was there American Bass Fisherman, but there was also American Angler, National Bass, and Project Sports INC. All these events drew the top anglers until they eventually dried up trying to beat B.A.S.S. at its own game.
The tournament report for this event was lacking compared to reports written in Bassmaster Magazine. It was reported that Waldron caught his limit each day from an area called the Blowout Hole on Rapalas and Johnson Silver Minnows. He weighed a total of 47-12. Waldron also caught the second big fish of the event. Wade Singleton caught the big fish of the event, a 10-pounder.
Another interesting detail is that Dave Gliebe won this same event the year prior with a 3-day limit that weighed 95-03, beating Roland Martin (52-10) by 42-09. That was the year that Gliebe went on one of the biggest tears in professional bass fishing history and won three events back-to-back-to-back across three organizations and in three states. At that point, the Flipping technique couldn’t be ignored any longer.