Original Caption: BASS KINGS - Ray Creel, left, and Herman Findley, of Keene, are the defending champions in the annual state black bass tournament which this year will be held on the Highland Lakes, May 22-25. May 1958, Fort Worth Star-Telegram, Star-Telegram photo

In today’s historical photo, we go back to the beginnings of organized bass tournaments, in particular, the Texas State Bass Tournament. A look at the results from those first couple events, held in 1956 and 1957, had a pair of then familiar names at the top of the leaderboards. Ray Creel and Herman Findley had dominated those events. The first tournament drew 378 contestants, and Ray Creel became the first State Bass Champion. He also teamed with Herman Findley to take the Team title at that event. The next year, with 500 anglers entered, Creel and Findley again took those same respective titles. Local news stories were often headed by titles such as, “Start of the Ray Creel Legend.”

This Star-Telegram photograph from 1958 shows the two anglers, who were set to try and repeat their success in the third such event, and also gives us a glimpse at the standard tackle of the time. Other notable winners of future events would include such names as Dave Hawk, largely credited with developing the ‘Texas Rig,’ Floyd Mabry, a.k.a. ‘Mr. Bomber,’ and Ray Murski, original Strike King salesman and eventual owner.