When it comes to the development of flipping, there are only a few anglers who can say, I was there when it was born. Those anglers are Dee Thomas (the father of flipping), Frank Hauck (Thomas’ team partner), Dave Gliebe, and Gary Klein, both disciples of Thomas. These were the guys who either developed the technique or were fortunate enough to know Thomas in the early days when it was being developed.
The cat was let out of the bag as soon as Thomas went east in 1975 and won the Bassmaster Arkansas Invitational on Bull Shoals Lake. Unfortunately, not many paid attention to Thomas’ unorthodox methods.
Then in late 1976 and early 1977, Dave Gliebe went on a tear of all the national circuits winning three consecutive events in three different organizations within a span of 5 weeks. The Flippin’ technique got everyone’s attention.
One of those anglers was Basil Bacon of Springfield, MO. Bacon had been fishing the Project Sports INC. (PSI) events and ran into Gliebe. He and Dave started running together and Gliebe showed an eager Bacon what the technique was all about. From there, Bacon would find it hard to put the long rod down.
In an earlier interview I had with Bacon, he credited Gliebe with giving him just enough knowledge to be dangerous. It took him another year, he said, to really get the grasp of the technique and understand all of its capabilities.
One of the tricks that Gliebe showed Bacon was to take out the free-spool engaging springs in an ABU 4600C or 5600C to make it so it would always stay in gear if the thumbar was released. That idea got Bacon’s mind spinning.
Bacon started running with Gary Klein in 1979 when he hit the Bassmaster Trail. One night when Klein was staying at Bacon’s house, Bacon brought up the idea of having a switch on the reel so you could switch between flippin’ mode and casting mode. Klein thought the idea was good so he and Bacon went out to the garage. That night Bacon fashioned a switch for the ABU. The Flippin’ Switch was born.
After that Bacon had his hand in a number of jig and soft plastics designed specifically for flipping, al carrying his name.
I write all of this because I recently found an article in the November/December 1978 issue of The Lunker Hole titled “Basil bacon – the man with the hot hand.” In this article Bacon talks about his history with the technique, who taught him, and the theory behind why it was so effective.
The article was published just months before he’d meet Gary Klein at the Bassmaster Florida Invitational. At that event Klein would place 10th flipping and Bacon would have place dismal 155th. The next event, however, on Arizona’s Lake Powell, Klein would win and Bacon would place second. Both flippin’.
The referenced in this piece can be viewed in its entirety below.