1979 Skeeter Bass Boat Ad May-June 1979 Bassmaster Magazine

Although we’ve run quite a few bass boat catalogs over the last couple months, it’s been a while since we ran a bass boat ads article.  Today in Old Bass Boats – 1979 Part 1, we’re going to start looking at the ads placed in the bass magazines by each manufacturer.

In the 1978 version of this article, there was a total of 34 manufacturers that placed ads in the bass magazines for the year.  In 1979, that number dropped significantly to 24 manufacturers, with two of those entries being from small, personal watercraft companies.  The major drop in ads most likely had to do with the economy of the time, with president Carter’s double-digit inflation taking its toll on consumers, and thusly manufacturers.  The first way to counter these hard times for many was to cut the fat any way possible, and advertising was one of the ways this was done.

To come up with this year’s advertisements, we consulted the four big organizations’ magazines that were around at the time, Bassmaster Magazine, The Lunker Hole, National Bassman, and American Angler.  In the past we also looked into American Bass Fisherman, but they ceased operation in 1978, having been bought out by National Bass.  The year 1979 would also see the last of American Angler as well as National Bass and Bass Casters Association, publishers of The Lunker Hole.

Starting off, we’re going to look at the companies in alphabetical order, from Astroglass to Hydra-Sports.  In Part 2, we’ll carry on with Maiden Craft/ProCraft through VIP, and in Part 3 we’ll finish with the organizational Championship Boats.

Let’s move on to the ads.


Astroglass, Pleasant View, TN Astroglass stepped up their ads for the 1979 year with two ads, both placed in National Bassman.  The prior year they shared their 156 Cheater-SX Pro Bass and this year they added their 176 Cheater-SX Pro Bass.

The 156 Cheater-SX measured out at 15-feet, 10-inches overall with a 78 1/2-inch beam and was rated for a 120-horse motor.  The 176 Cheater-SX was nearly two feet longer, had an 82-inch beam and was rated for a 155-horsepower powerplant.  The hulls were both light weighing in at 800 and 900 pounds respectively.

Both platforms were standard for the day with front and back casting decks, small by today’s standards, and both featured livewells fore and aft.  Both had an 18-gallon internal gas tank, and dry storage below the front and back decks, albeit quite limited.

Rod lockers were standard and placed along the side of the port gunwale.  The blue ad shows rod locker best, which would only hold three to four rods total.  We’ve come a long way since 1979.

1979 AstroGlass Boat Ad National Bassman January-February 1979
1979 AstroGlass Boat Ad National Bassman March-April 1979


Bass Cat Boats, Mountain Home, AR Bass Cat Boats placed two different ads in the 1979 bass magazines, namely The Lunker Hole published by Bass Casters Association and National Bass.  The first ad I found had been the same ad they’d used in the 1978 magazines featuring their VEE series boats.  Image-wise it’s a cool ad featuring their 1600 VEE floating by itself on the water with a 115-horse Evinrude hanging off the back.  The ad states they have three models, the 1500 VEE, 1600 VEE and 1600 VEE ‘N SKI.  Nothing other than the horsepower ratings were provided for each boat.

The next ad, featuring a young Rick Pierce in the top image, is touting Bass Cat Boats’ commitment to safety, speed and fishability.  We’ve featured this ad before on the Bass Fishing Archives and if you’re interested in reading what Rick Pierce had to say about it, I highly suggest you read it.  It’s a good story.

Of course the ad also features the founder of Bass Cat, Ron Pierce as well as the original logo.

1979 Bass Cat Boats ad The Lunker Hole Volume 10 Issue 1 Jan-Feb 1979
1979 Bass Cat Boats ad The Lunker Hole Volume 10 Issue 3 May-June 1979


Bass Hawk, Olive Hill, KYThe next ad we’ll talk about is from Bass Hawk out of Kentucky.  Again, this is another retread ad from 1978, featuring bass pro Corbin Dyer.  Not much is said about the boat itself or if they have more than one model.  The model shown, though, is their “new” V model Bass Hawk.  At this point in time manufacturers were moving away from the tri-hulls and incorporating the v-hull pad hull taken from the racing industry.

Looking at the picture you’ll notice what appears to be flush decks, a touch boat manufacturers were moving towards at the time.  They touted a custom lure locker and fore and aft livewells.  Not much else is said about the boat.

1979 Bass Hawk Boat Ad National Bassman January-February 1979


Cobra Boat Company, Huntsville, AL A new company in the advertising campaign for 197 was Cobra Boats out of Alabama.  Cobra placed two nearly identical ads in the January/February and March/April issues of the National Bassman.  The only difference being the image of the Cobra in the later.  I guess someone forgot to send the final ad to the copyeditor in time.

As with a lot of companies in the day, little was said about the actual boat, only providing an image of the boat running wide-open down the lake.  From the looks of the motor, it’s either a 115- or a 140-horse Johnson hanging off the back, but you can’t tell anything about the length of other dimensions.

1979 Cobra Boat Ad National Bassman January-February 1979
1979 Cobra Boat Ad National Bassman March-April 1979


Dura Craft, Monticello, AR Dura Craft had been a big advertiser in the bass magazines for a long time and this year would be no different.  In 1979 they placed three ads featuring a wide array of the boats they made.  One big difference, though, was there was only one color ad I was able to find, the other two being black and white, whereas the year before they’d run four different color ads.  You can tell from this that the economy wasn’t very strong and although they felt it important to advertise, color just wasn’t in the budget.

Still, the ads offered a good cross-section of their line and the one color ad they did run whet the whistle for anyone looking to get into one of the best tin boats of the day.  All of their ads were run in Bassmaster Magazine, who for the following couple years had used Dura Craft as their BASS Champs boat.

1979 DuraCraft Bass Boat Ad February Bassmaster Magazine
1979 DuraCraft Bass Boat Ad March-April 1979 Bassmaster Magazine
1979 DuraCraft Bass Boat Ad September-October 1979 Bassmaster Magazine


Ebbtide/Dyna-Trak, White Bluff, TN Another one of the longstanding bass boat companies that continued to advertise was Ebbtide/Dyna-Trak.  They ran a cool little series of 1/3-page ads in Bassmaster Magazine featuring a little cartoon along with a different boat in each ad.  Not much was said about any of the boat models, which , as you know, drives me crazy.  It’s hard to compare at this stage of the game without that kind of information.

Then Ebbtide/Dyna-Trak also ran another 1/3-page ad as well as a full-page ad, again in Bassmaster, that compared their boats to offshore racers for quality.  Both ads are the same, just different configurations.  The ads compare their bass boats to their offshore racers with respect to hull design, durability, and ride.

1979 Ebbtide-DynaTrak Bass Boat Ad January 1979 Bassmaster Magazine
1979 Ebbtide-DynaTrak Bass Boat Ad March-April 1979 Bassmaster Magazine
1979 Ebbtide-DynaTrak Bass Boat Ad May-June 1979 Bassmaster Magazine
1979 Ebbtide-DynaTrak Bass Boat Ad September-October 1979 Bassmaster Magazine


Eldocraft/Roughneck, Smackover, AR By 1978, Eldocraft had been running Roughneck for one year after the buyout in 1977.  The ad published in 1978 featured both companies as does this ad from 1979.  Not much had changed in their ad campaign though, again, probably a sign of the times.

For Edlocraft, they were still pushing the Cliff Harris edition of their 180V from the previous year.  In fact, this boat would become the American Angler All-Pro Grand American boat used in American Angler’s Championship for 1979.  We’ll have more on that when we cover the championship boats.

Roughneck’s part in this ad talks about a new 17-foot high-performance v-hull that, if I’m not mistaken, has the lines of a Hydrostream.  The writeup discusses the history of Roughneck’s always being known for speed but this year they’re even faster with the new hull design.  Then they go on to mention there roomy layout, smooth ride and storage.  I guess it’s too much to ask for dimensions and capacities.

1979 Eldocraft Roughneck Boat Ad American Angler February-March 1979


Fish Hunter, St. Louis, MOThis one has me puzzled.  I’m not sure if this is a marine dealer ad or if Fish Hunter is a boat manufactured by Bud’s Place.  I think it’s the former.  Anyway, this little 14-foot, 1-inch bass boat is loaded and ready to fish.  The complete rig comes with a 40-horse Mercury, Lowrance flasher, Motor0Guide trolling motor, two batteries and a trailer.

I like this ad for two reasons.  One, all of the boat specifications are in the ad as well as all the options and two, there’s a price associated with the package.  A fully rigged fiberglass bass boat for $3,688.00.  In today’s money we’re talking a tad over $16K.  Cost-wise that might equate to a tiny boat today, but no way would it have a 40-horse motor on the back, let alone all the electronics people seem to stick on their boats.  This was a bare-bones boat but very standard for 1979.

If anyone has any information on Fish Hunter boats, please leave a comment below.

1979 Fish Hunter Bass Boat ad The Lunker Hole Volume 10 Issue 3 May-June 1979


Fisher Marine, West Point, MS Another tell that the industry was hurting in 1979 was the fact that Fisher Marine, one of the biggest boat companies in the country, only placed three ads in the bass magazines this year.  In 1978, Fisher Marine placed seven different ads, and in 1977 had run with six in all the publications searched.  Still they went out with full color, knowing the importance of wowing the would-be customer searching for their first boat.

The company still had Bill Dance and John Powell on the payroll, and they’re featured in each ad.  Fisher Marine never really put much emphasis on providing dimensions or capacities for their boats but where they were slack on this, they went overboard with color images of their various models.

What I found really interesting, though, was an apparent knock on an emerging boat company at the time.  In the third ad featured here, a two-pager, you’ll notice the headline says, “Buying from a dealer, VS. buying from a catalog.”  Reading the paragraphs below the headline, Fisher Marine goes into detail why they feel it’s important to buy your boat from a dealer.  They have some good points, like where do you get your catalog boat serviced if something goes wrong?

The interesting part about this ad is that at the time, Johnny Morris was just starting his Tracker Boat Company, a mail order company at the time.  That’s not what’s interesting, though.  What is, is Johnny Morris was buying all of his hulls from Fisher Marine.  It seems like bad business to bad mouth your biggest customer.  Eventually Johnny Morris would buyout Fisher Marine from my understanding.

1979 Fisher Marine Bass Boat Ad March-April 1979 Bassmaster Magazine
1979 Fisher Marine Bass Boat Ad May-June 1979 Bassmaster Magazine
1979 Fisher Marine Boats ad The Lunker Hole Volume 10 Issue 2 March-April 1979 Pages 1 and 2


Gheen MFG, Titusville, FL I mentioned at the start there were two personal watercraft companies that got into the advertising campaign this year and Gheen MFG was one of them.  In earlier years, we’d seen some small one-man boats in the ads and even one company that sold airboats get into the fray.  But this is the first company I’ve seen touting canoes.  Of course Colman had ads in a lot of these magazines but I never saw one with an outboard motor and a trolling motor on the bow.  There’s even a version with two swivel seats in it.

Again, it is a sign of the times, high gas prices, high inflation and little money to go for unneeded expenditures.  Gheen was offering those who couldn’t afford a bass boat an option to still get on the water.  I guess you would call this the beginnings of the kayak phenomena.

1979 Gheen Canoe Ad National Bassman March-April 1979


Glassline Products INC, Deephaven, MN We’ve posted a few ads from bass boat kit companies over time, but this is the first I recall of seeing Glassline Products Inc.  This company placed two different ads in Bassmaster Magazine and I have to say these boats don’t look bad at all for the day.  There are no specification on either boat, let alone cost, so I wonder what the savings would be.

The other question, and maybe the most important, is how are the parts shipped and what kind of equipment is needed to put these boats together?  Is the cap separated from the hull?  Are the lids installed?  There are just a ton of unanswered questions that I feel would be appropriate in this ad.  If they were still around, I’d have to give them a call just to ease my curiosity.  I’m fairly decent with tools and putting things together but I’m not sure I’d want to put a boat like this together in my garage.  It’d probably end up like the 40 or so projects I have going on right now.  Unfinished.

1979 Glassline Kit Boat Ad February Bassmaster Magazine
1979 Glassline Kit Boat Ad November-December 1979 Bassmaster Magazine


Hydra-Sports, Nashville, TN This next set of ads brings us to Hyrda-Sports, the last set for today’s piece.  Hydra-Sports started around 1973 and had now been in business six years running.  They introduced Kevlar to the boat building industry in 1976, and were fast becoming one of the best boats on the market.

In 1979 they placed only two ads one featuring 168-Vee, a sleek looking boat even today.  The second ad, though, would be completely foreign to today’s bass boat owner.  Who tows a bass boat with anything but a truck?  Well, back in the day, a lot of people towed with cars, even Lincoln Continentals.  What this ad is showing is you could tow your Hydra-Sports with either a V-8 Lincoln or a mid-size compact car.

Read the ad and you’ll see that Hydra-Sports is addressing the fact that OPEC had us by the short hairs and gas prices weren’t coming down anytime soon.  But, if you still wanted to enjoy a day on the water, it didn’t have to break the bank.  They had an option for every bank account.

1979 Hydra-Sports Boat Ad February Bassmaster Magazine
1979 Hydra-Sports Boat Ad November-December 1979 Bassmaster Magazine Pages 1 and 2


Well, that about does it for Old Bass Boats – 1979 Part 1.  Later this week we’ll be back with Part 2, covering Maiden Craft/ProCraft through VIP.  I hope you enjoyed this look back and we hope to see you soon.