Here's a Rebel Classic ad from the 1971/72 era.

Here are a couple of ads that really show how big bass fishing was getting in the early ’70s. Here we have two, not one but two, lure companies vying for their share of the bass boat market. In the first ad we see Glin Wells fishing out of the the Rebel Classic at Classic I held in 1971 at Lake Mead.  Although Ranger Boats was slated to be the Classic boat company, the factory had burned down earlier that year and they couldn’t meet the deadline for the boats.  So, in steps Rebel with 26 boats for the classic, 25 inboard/outboards and one outboard.  Let’s take a look at the boat.

First off, the thought of having an inboard motor on a bass boat today is kind of ludicrous, but all the manufacturers made them back in the day. I personally fished out of one, one time, and vowed that if I ever got drawn with a guy that had one again I’d sit on the bank. Notice the ample deck space this design offers the back-seat angler – not that co-anglers or Ams have any rights?  Second is the front deck space and what appears to be the non-folding chair up front.  I’ve talked to a few of the anglers who fished the ’71 Classic and that was one of the biggest problems with the boat, you couldn’t see around the front seat.

As stated below in the “Past Readers Comments,” Doyle Hodgin has boat 17 from this Classic and has fully restored it to near Classic shape.  He’s taken it to a number of Classic Expos and it’s a sight to see – 100% nostalgia.

Cotton Cordell's venture into the bass boat market, 1972.  The Goin' Jessie.  Oh, and now they have jointed Red Fins too.

The second ad shows that if Rebel is gonna get in the market, well by golly so is Cotton Cordell! From the looks of this picture, Cotton was more of an avid bass angler – he has an outboard hanging off the back – than the folks that designed the Rebel.

Cordell’s boat was called the Goin’ Jessie, and what that means, I had no clue.  So, I googled it.  Here are a couple definitions:

  1. Punishment or scolding. 1839.
  2. Go jesse or going jesse. Energetic or skillful. Going great guns. Around 1950, western Kentucky, northwest Tennessee.
  3. Give it a jesse. Doing a job halfway.
  4. A varmint, critter or disagreeable person.

I hope Cotton was going after “energetic or skillful rather than disagreeable.  There’s not much to see in the ad except that the boat appears to have front and rear casting decks and a console.  It’s also hard to determine how big the motor on the back is.

It’s amazing how far we’ve come in the boat industry from these two pictures. When I first got into the picture, ~1976, people still sat in their seats to fish and the butt seat was just making its way into boats. By the early 80s, the butt seat was beginning to wane and seats were becoming an afterthought.

Still, these two boats were state-of-the-art in 1972 and it’s dang cool to go back and see where we’ve come from.

As an afterthought, though, I wonder if either of these “boat” companies placed treble hooks on their hulls?



Past Reader Comments:

Jeff Coble:  A guy over here in NC, by the name of Doyle Hodgin found one of those 1971 Rebel Classic boats in mint condition last year. He purchased it from the guy that owned it, and has been trying to figure out who fished out of it since it still had the boat number on it. There were no records of who fished out of what boat, so I don’t know if they will ever know for sure. It is a nice piece of history though.

Andy to Jeff Coble:  I would love to talk to the guy who bought that boat.

Terry to Jeff Coble:  Jeff, I have some photos taken by Bill Rice that may have the answer for you. Do you know what number the boat is? I have pics of about 8 boats with anglers in them and the numbers are visible.

Cc:  I wonder what kind of paint schemes they offered – Tennessee shad? Perch?  Too bad Mann’s didn’t get in on it – imagine a strawberry scented bass boat!  This old stuff is great – I loved the old homemade bass boats also – there was something serious about them.

Terry to CC:  Yeah CC, it’s pretty cool. There’s more where that came from, though. By the way, I bet if KVD wanted his boat wrapped in Sexy Shad, they’d ban it. 🙂 By the way CC, you’re no relation to Cotton Cordell are you? 🙂