Original caption - Dave Gliebe of Stockton shows off largemouth bass he caught recently in Lake Havasu during Western Bass Federation's fish-off. The bass weighed 6 pounds, 7 ounces. Los Angeles Times. Dec 1976, no photo credit

In an article published the week before this picture, Dave Gliebe stated that for 1977, he had decided to quit his state job and fish professionally for a living. Dave had been a draftsman for the state of California for 15 years, and an engineer before that, but his real enjoyment came from fishing and competing in the growing professional bass circuits at the time.

Gliebe stated, “When I started into bass fishing seriously, the top purses hit $30,000. In 1977 several will top $65,000 and there is talk of one at $100,000…I’ll fish until I run out of money.”

He estimated that he’d hit 21 tournaments that following year, and log 80,000 miles on his tow vehicle.

Gliebe’s gamble paid high dividends by the end of the first quarter. He won the American Bass Fisherman National on Lake Okeechobee in late January by a staggering 42-09 lead over Roland Martin. He then took that momentum to the American Angler National on Sam Rayburn, garnering another win. The following week he’d make it a three-peat by winning the Bassmaster Louisiana Invitational on Toledo Bend. Three major wins on three separate national trails. It’s a feat that has never been repeated to this day.

His main sponsor in 1977 was the Fenwick Rod Corporation out of Westminster (CA), makers of the original Flippin’ Stik. By this time Gliebe had taken over the Flippin’ reigns from friend and Mentor Dee Thomas. By May 1977, a six-part spread in Bassmaster Magazine on the Flippin’ technique, penned by Dave Myers, had both Thomas and Gliebe front and center. Gliebe’s star was rising fast.

Prior to Gliebe’s rise nationally, his previous sponsor on the Western Bass trail was Bass World West in Modesto. Dave won the Tournament of Champions title on the Western Bass Trail in 1974 and again in 1975, then finished fourth in 1976 despite missing two events.