Today in Old bass Boats – 1979 Part 3 we conclude with our look at the bass boats of the year, this time the championship boats offered by the bass organizations. This year’s championship boats dropped by one organization due to American Bass Fisherman going under. This left us with Bassmaster, National Bass, American Angler, and Bass Casters Association.
The boats that were run in the championships changed a little from the prior years. Of course, the BASS Masters Classic boat would remain a Ranger, and American Angler continued with Eldocraft for their Grand American. But Bass Casters Association moved from Bass Cat to Terry and National Bass went from Hurst to Astroglass.
Let’s get on with the boats.
There was no change with American Angler in 1979. In fact, not only did they keep the same model, the Eldocraft Cliff Harris All-Pro Grand American Special, they used the same six-page ad from the previous year.
The boat was built off an 18-foot Eldocraft rigged with a 150-horsepower Mercury Black Max. It was said in the ad that the boat was made to pro footballer Cliff Harris specifications. Why a boat company would build a boat with a football player in mind is beyond me. It makes more sense to me to have a top angler put his name behind the design.
Standard equipment on the boat was a full instrument panel, bilge pump, deluxe fishing chairs, locked storage compartments, two livewells, rack and pinion dual steering, Ram Guide trolling motor, Lowrance depth finder, three batteries, upright floatation, kill switch, and a custom trailer. There is no price associated with any of the ads.
More redundancy was found in the next boat American Angler was touting, the Mini-Grand American Bassaholic. Again, the same ads and boats were used, featuring an Eldocraft aluminum ride fitted with a 50-horse Suzuki outboard. The boat was built using a 15-foot platform and was fully rigged with a flasher, 12-volt trolling motor, dual livewells, fishing seats, and two batteries.
Being that American Angler was pushing the same boats as the prior year brings up an interesting thought. Were they not able to sell the prior year’s boats, or did they order the same boats for a second year in a row? Being that American Angler would go out of business in late 1979, I have a feeling it was the former.
Bass Casters Association
The Bass Casters Association moved from Bass Cat to Terry for their Grand National Championship boat in 1979. The Terry 5.2 mp/hp was a 17-foot 1-inch hull with dual consoles. It was rigged with a 1980 115-horsepower Mercury outboard, Motor-Guide Brute F1 trolling motor, Fish Hawk depthfinder, and a custom trailer.
Other features were three batteries, battery charger, bilge pump, dual cable steering, running lights, 18-gallon gas tank, lockable storage, and more.
For the eighth year in a row, Bassmaster went with a Ranger boat for the 1979 BASS Masters Classic. This year’s boat isn’t called out with respect to the model number but it being a 17-foot boat my guess is it was a 178V. Of all the championship boats, the Classic boat was always the standard by which other organization strived for, but they never attained its level.
The Classic boat came with a 115-horsepower Johnson outboard with trim and tilt, a Motor-Guide Brute trolling motor, Lowrance 300D depthfinder on the console and an LFG 200 on the front deck, a driver’s console with speedometer, tachometer, surface temp gauge, trim gauge, and side mount throttle control.
Other features included were pedestal seats, kill switch, dual livewell system, lockable storage, stainless steel prop, and custom SilverTrail trailer.
B.A.S.S. didn’t host a BASS Champs event for the 1979 tournament year, but they still had some of the 1978 BASS Champs boats for sale in some of the early issues of the 1979 magazines. If you’re interested in seeing what those rides were like, head over to Old Bass Boats – 1978 and check them out.
National Bass seemed like the only organization out there that was solvent in their finances in 1979. In the January/February issue of National Bassman, National Bass put forth a Classic-worthy boat built off an Astroglass platform. Coupled with a Mercury Black Max 1500, this boat was fully loaded, like you’d expect from B.A.S.S.
Two Lowrance LFG 360 locators were placed on the console and bow, dual livewells, 7-foot rod lockers, insulated dry storage and cooler, removable pedestal seats, running lights, trolling motor panel, 18-gallon gas tank, full instrumentation, and a Ram 12/24-volt trolling motor with battery charger.
Other standard features included Weedmaster weed guard, Weedmaster Snatch Box lure holder, anchor reins cleats, Garcia Oxygen meter, life vests, and Q-Beam light. This rig offered more than the Classic boat. All it was missing was fish.
Unfortunately for National Bass, this would be the last championship boat they would offer. After buying out American Bass Fisherman in 1978 and American Angler in 1979, they went under in late 1979, leaving B.A.S.S. as the sole national tournament organization.
That’s about it for the 1979 model year for bass boats. I am sure there are some manufacturers missing that didn’t advertise in the magazines I have on hand. If any of you out there know of other companies and or have vintage boat catalogs, we’re interested in talking with you. Please either comment below or send an email to email@example.com.