This week we’re going to take a trip down memory lane and feature three bass boat companies, all three were big at the time and today none of them remain. To start off, today we’re going to through the MonArk Boats Catalog 1975. MonArk has always held a spot in my heart as there were a lot of them around when I was growing up and in 1981 we purchased our first fiberglass bass boat, a MonArk V16.
The cover of this catalog is typical 1975. Two guys sitting in the casting chairs fishing. But let’s take a deeper dive into the image itself. First off, look at the electronics on the boat. There is only one Lowrance flasher and it’s on the console. This was typical of the time as the flasher was only used to find breaks while at the console and then a buoy was dropped, anchors dropped and fishing commenced.
The second thing I’d like to point out are the tackle boxes in the bottom of the boat. To start off, on the port side there’s an UMCO Possum Belly. Then right below the angler in the front seat there appears to be a Plano 747 or similar box. Then there’s another UMCO on the starboard side in front of the console as well as a cooler. This was standard in the day as the full front flipping deck had not even been thought of at the time. Tackle boxes were stored on the bottom of the boat, fully exposed to the elements.
To deal with that possum belly in the bottom of the boat was a real chore. One really had to have the need to dig into it. The 747 and later the full-drawer-type boxes, like the 777, became more popular because of their ease to get into.
After a day of rain, these boxes had to be completely emptied and all their contents dried to prevent rust forming on hooks and in the box. It was a pain but there was no other option as you can see there is no storage for these boxes.
The other problem occurred in the summer months as the glaring sun and high temperatures would melt not only worms but also crankbaits. There was no protecting your tackle from the elements and wouldn’t be until the mid- to late-1980s. You just dealt with it.
Turning the page, you’re greeted with a welcome from the president of MonArk, Zach McClendon Jr. and Jimmy Houston. McClendon is pimping the new metal flake hulls being offer this year, standing in front of their flagship model, the Silver Fox.
On the other hand, you have Houston touting the ride and fishability of the MonArk boat. Houston was with MonArk for several years. I also like the red jumpsuit he’s wearing adorning the Bill Norman Lures patch. 1975 would mark Houston’s first full year on the BASS Master Trail, where he’d make his first Classic.
In the caption to the photo, it says that Houston also won the 1973 Tournament of Champions, which I assume was for Project Sports Inc. (PSI) as well as being the Oklahoma State Champion twice. I’d like to know what is meant by being the World Champion in 1968. The only World Champion I know of that year was Bill Dillon at the World Series of Sport Fishing that year, but there could have been another organization that held a world championship.
For 1975, the Super Sport series was the pinnacle of MonArk bass boats. There were two boats offered in this class, the Super Sport I and Super Sport II. These boats were the same with respect to the hulls but differed quite a bit when it came to the interior. The Super Sport I had an internal 18-gallon fuel tank, driver/passenger seating, storage fore and aft. The Super Sport II didn’t have side-by-side seating for the driver and passenger and does not appear to have an internal gas tank, leaving the owner to use the standard external 6-gallon tanks of the day.
The hull was 16-feet, 3-inches in length, had a beam of 69 1/2-inches, depth of 32-inches, and was rated for an 85-horsepower motor.
Next in the lineup was the Delta Series, with five different options. The Delta 7 was the high-end boat of the series. At 15-feet, 1-inch this boat was pretty standard for the day. It had a 62-inch beam and a depth of 26 inches. It was rated for a 70-horsepower motor. This little boat only has a driver’s seat and no passenger seat. The description says it has elevated platforms fore and aft, which is does, but no seat on the back deck. The raised platform appears to extend from the front all the way to the back on the port side, which is most likely dry storage and rod locker space. It’s a neat little boat but doesn’t offer much in the way of comfort for your fishing buddy.
The Delta 6, on the other hand, is the same hull as the Delta 7, but with more creature comforts for the co-angler. What is doesn’t offer is rear storage for battery and gas tank, or a casting deck for the backseat angler. The standard model isn’t carpeted, which would lead to a lot of noise, but it is offered in the options. There is no rod locker or dry storage, it’s just a plain boat for the angler who wants to get out on the water.
Next in line is the Delta 5. Again, built on the same hull as the Delta 6 and Delta 7, this is a bare minimum boat for the money conscious angler. The difference between the Delta 6 and the Delta 5 is the Delta 5 doesn’t offer a forward casting platform and comes standard with stick steering. Other than that, the boats are the same.
The Delta 4 is the next in the lineup and only differs from the delta 5 in that there is no livewell offered. Instead, the driver’s seat is placed on top of pedestal with storage underneath. If you think this is bare bones, wait until you see the final in the series.
Last in this series of MonArk boats is the Delta I. The only boat in the series not built off the 15-foot, 1-inch hull, this boat comes in at 14-feet in length. It has a 54-inch beam and was rated for a 30-horsepower motor. The boat has no elevated decks, with the fore and aft seats placed directly on the bottom of the boat. There is no livewell or storage, it’s just a boat. Standard options included stick steering running lights, and trolling motor terminals on the front. This is truly a barebones boat for those just interested in getting on the water.
Pages 10 and 11 of the catalog feature MonArk’s options, accessories, and color patterns. Then, on the back cover, they give some examples of the aluminum line of boats they also offer. MonArk got into the boating business originally with aluminum and didn’t move into glass until the early 1970s.
That’s about all I have for this 1975 MonArk catalog. I hope you enjoyed looking back on one of the big bass boat companies of the day. Tomorrow we’ll be featuring a look into another early company, Glasstream 1984.
To see the entire catalog, please check out the gallery below. Click on the first image and use the arrows to scroll through the catalog.