Leach’s Sporting Goods was the first place I saw a bass boat up close. I had wide eyes and dreams of a 10 year old. The year was 1974. Two years later Leach’s would sell us our first bass boat. Ad from a 1976 issue of Western Bass magazine.

Originally posted 25 April, 2012

As a small kid in the early to mid ‘70s, my mom would take me to Leaches Sporting Goods to buy worms, sinkers and hooks. Although I was there to but these goods, I could stand and stare for hours at the crankbaits hanging on the walls or the plastic grubs and worms located in the coffee cans on the shelves. It was a dream-like place for a kid bitten with the fishing bug.

What intrigued me most about Leaches, though, was the “boat shop” out back. In the early days of my fishing adventures we didn’t have a boat and resorted to renting when we went to the local lakes to fish. For those of you that fished southern Cal during those days, you remember the old (even at that time) wood and glass sleds they rented that might top out at 3 mph with a 6-horse Merc going downwind.

As we spent more and more time at the lakes, we eventually saw some of the first bass boats that had made it out west. Their sparkling gel-coat, big motors and swivel seats sure looked like a much more comfortable fishing platform than the hard glass and throw cushions we’d been sitting on for a few years.

Anyway, it was at Leaches where I saw my first actual, dyed-in-the-wool bass boat up close. It was also the place where we bought our first bass boat in 1976 or ’77 – a 15-foot Sea Nymph Jon/bass boat loaded with a 35-horse Johnson and a 23-pound thrust foot-control Pfluegar trolling motor (we didn’t get a depth finder until about a year later).

Leaches was also the meeting place for my first bass club, the Ambassadeurs of Southern California – a club I joined around 1980. Unfortunately Leaches closed down, for reasons unknown to me, in the early 90s and in its place now sits an Indian Casino. Not a good replacement as far as I’m concerned.

Anyway, this ad brought back a flood of memories for me and I hope it does for those who frequented Leaches during those hey-days of bass fishing in southern Cal. The ad also shows a VERY YOUNG Mike Folkestad at a time when he was just starting to become a western (and arguably national) legend.