Today’s Friday Finale historical photo is of someone you probably won’t recognize. But in 1974, he wrote what I believe might be one of the earliest articles (“The Next World Record Largemouth?”) pinning California as the location for the next world record bass. Written by writer and local angler Larry Williams, it appeared in the September issue of Fishing Facts magazine that year and is notable for several other reasons.
First of note with the article is a nicely detailed write-up reviewing the history of the Florida bass stocking ‘experiment’ that occurred in the late 1950s in California. It features a review of lakes stocked and how the state record kept getting eclipsed as the Florida bass survived and thrived.
Also of note are the detailed lake diagrams of Lower Otay Lake by artist Wiley Miller. Fishing Facts was the magazine that started the trend of having artists create fish paintings that would later appear on the magazines covers. Others, such as Larry Tople with In-Fisherman, would follow this path. Along with those diagrams are some great details of fishing on Lower Otay that Larry gets into some detail about.
Lastly, Larry writes about the techniques he feels will be the most likely to capture the record bass. Those include the plastic worm (as you can see if you look closely in the photo), spinnerbaits, and live crayfish. Of particular interest is his mentioning a unique worm tactic to the area known as “mending.” This, of course, is the technique the late Bill Murphy would gain so much notoriety for writing about, which he referred to as “stitching.” But the article never mentions ‘stitching’ (by that name), maybe because it hadn’t been thought of yet. Other names Larry mentions included ‘mooching,’ ‘dragging,’ ‘sliding,’ and ‘touch-worming.’ Perhaps Bill was the one to coin the ‘stitching’ term, which he later wrote about in his book some 15 years after this groundbreaking article.
For those of you that would like to hear the full story from a man that was there when the experiment was done, please click on the link below to take you to The Big Bass Podcast where Ken Duke and Terry Battisti hosted Jim Brown, former Director of the San Diego City Lakes. It’s an amazing video packed with trophy bass history.