Last week I received a bunch of old magazines from someone who has become a sounding board for me over the last few months with respect to the written word of bass fishing. Clyde Drury is an encyclopedia when it comes to old bass books and magazines. His book, The Books of the Black Bass, is currently being written as the 5th edition and is a nearly complete bibliography and review of anything ever written about bass. I say nearly because in this industry it’s hard to keep up with everything that has been written on the subject.
Anyway, last week Clyde sent me a bunch of magazines and there were a number of them in the box that I’d never seen let alone heard of. One of those magazines was from the Bass Casters Association called “the Lunker Hole.” As I thumbed through one of the 1979 issues I was taken aback by one of the boat ads in it. Namely it was the Bass Cat ad shown here.
First off I’ve been fishing out of a Cat since 2004 and have come to know the owners and am proud to call them friends. So if this article seems a bit biased, maybe it is. Don’t worry, though, we’ll be doing other pieces just like this with respect to other manufacturers over the course of time.
What struck me about the ad, though, was its simplicity and history. You have Ron Pierce (with dark hair) sitting at his desk thanking all for looking at the boats. You have the old original Bass Cat logo and you also have the three build principles that Bass Cat stood by then (and still stands by today).
What really caught my attention, though, was the picture of the two dudes standing in the filled-up boat. In the bow you have a young Rick Pierce (now president of Bass Cat Boats) and standing on the rear deck is a 20 year-old Steve Eastwold. I scanned the ad and sent it off to Rick to see if he had any recollections of the ad and if he could fill us in on it.
Here’s what he had to say.
“Yep, 1978 and to the right is my 20 or 21 year-old bud Steve Eastwold. Steve’s Mom and Dad had Bull Shoals Lake Boat Dock. We shot the image after leaving the drain plug in and pumping it full or water till it ran out over the splash well. We pulled the drain plug to help get it to come up, so we were carrying water. Once the batteries were out we pumped it dry and Steve and I went skiing in it. 1600 Vee hull and stock all the way.
“Steve and his brother Ricky now own Bull Shoals dock themselves. Steve’s boys (Kevin and Ryan) are there too now and third generation. He is a Bass Cat Dealer and has been since about the ’77 or ’79 range. He would be our oldest Bass Cat dealership now. We were running mates in high school and still good friends.
“That was a cool day. We used the 2″ water pump to fill it and Dad took the shot from top deck of the old dock. Used a house boat first and it wasn’t quite tall enough.”
It’s amazing what history there is in old ads. Here you have two generations of people involved in the fishing industry who are still trying to make our time on the water enjoyable. Two family-owned and operated companies – something that’s hard to find in these days of corporate business conglomerations.
If you’re interested in seeing the first full-page ad Bass Cat placed in Bassmaster Magazine in 1975, featuring Tommy Martin, Jerry Crowell and Basil Bacon, click here.