Today in California Lunker Club July 1974, we continue our look back into the early days of competitive fishing in the Golden State. This is the third issue of the sort-lived California Lunker Club Bass Report and as with the first two, it’s filled with great fish pictures as well as tournament reports and other news of the day.
The cover features the winners from the last two recent events held on Lake Santa Margarita in central California and Lake Henshaw in southern California. If you read the first two issues, you’re probably starting to recognize some names. The cover shots showcased some of the best anglers the state had to offer and represented the “patch jacket” well too. And look at those trophies.
Turning the page, you’re met with Harvey Naslund’s Editorial about California moving to a two-bass limit on two lakes. As of the writing of this newsletter, Naslund wasn’t certain if this was just rumor or truth so he called the Cal DFG for the answer.
The answer he got was a yes and a no. Yes, they were considering the limit decrease but no, it wouldn’t be for the entire year. Cal DFG was worried about the harvest of bass and the effect that the increased pressure was having on the population. The crazy thing about this time was Cal DFG would not let bass tournament anglers release their fish, thinking they’d all just die. In that case, they were right to be worried about fish populations decreasing. But how wrong they were on the survivability of released bass.
Pages 4 through 7 provided the tournament reports for the Lake Santa Margarita and Lake Henshaw events. Reading both reports, you get the idea each event was tough. Forty-seven anglers only weighed in 43 bass at Santa Margarita with just shy of 12 pounds winning the event.
Henshaw, on the other hand, was always known for producing. Evidently the heat of July turned the fish off and only one limit was weighed, by Jim Constantino of the San Diego Bassmasters. The next four anglers who placed, Dave Cartwright, Jerry Williams, and Sam Flores, were all from the fames Pisces club. Big fish was taken by Rich Humphries, also of Pisces, and weighed 7-11. At this point in time, all of these fish were northern strain largemouths, not the Floridas that had been stocked in other San Diego lakes.
Next in the newsletter were scouting reports for the next two events to be held on Lake Cachuma and El Capitan. Cachuma had been suffering for a few years under drought conditions but according to the report and the picture provided, had risen to full capacity and was predicted to provide a good event.
El Capitan was also predicted to be a good event. So far that year the lake was the number-1 bass producing lake in the San Diego area and had produced four bass in excess of 12 pounds for the season. But the event would be held in the heat of July, so could know what would happen.
Page 10 provided a piece from CLC president, Dave Coolidge on cheating in tournaments. He never said he expected it was happening in his events but elaborated on what it would do to someone’s reputation if one of two anglers did decide to go that way. It’s an interesting article that appears to have been written because of anglers showing concern of cheating.
On the same page is the ever-growing list of anglers who had cashed in their Lunker Insurance for a northern over 8 pounds or a Florida over 12 pounds for mounting. Remember, the CLC was initially started to provide anglers with insurance to get a fish mounted.
Pages 11 through 16 provided Bass Club reports for the prior month. The report that really grabbed my eyes was the report from Rio Honda and their trek to Lake Mead. In that report they stated that 21 members weighed in 190 bass for a total of over 500 pounds in two days. That’s over a 2-1/2-pound average and they had 26 fish over four pounds. The winner weighed in two five-fish limits and weighed 34-04. Those weights have been unheard of for decades.
In 1974 California sent its second B.A.S.S. Chapter team to the Federation Nationals. The event in 1974, if you remember, was held on Table Rock Lake. It wasn’t a good showing for the California boys, placing 20th out of 24 teams. This is understandable as none of the six-man team had ever seen a body of water the size of Table Rock, let alone fish a lake that big.
Of course, the winner of that event was the Missouri team, topped by Charlie Campbell. Can you guess what Campbell was throwing? If you guess a Zara Spook, you’re right.
In lockstep with Bassmaster Magazine, the CLC decided to give the fly fishermen of the crowd a full feature article on fly fishing for bass. This three-page article goes into everything an angler would need to get started bass bugging. Unfortunately, the writing was on the wall with respect to fly fishing for bass. Tournament angler would never pick up the long rod, always choosing to use the short casting rod due to its efficiency and versatility. By the end of the 1970s, articles in bass-centric magazines pertaining to fly fishing became extinct.
The final three pages of the newsletter were dedicated to lake reports, and it being summer, most of the lakes didn’t have much to report. It’s still fun to go back and read what was happening at the lakes I grew up fishing.
The back cover ended the issue with the CLC records, as did in the June issue. No change was noted from June to July.
Next week we’ll finish the entire run of California Lunker Club Bass Reports that were published. After that we’ll return to Smallmouth.
The entire newsletter is posted below in the gallery. Click on the first image and scroll through to see and read the entire newsletter.