Original Caption: Top Bass Haul - Stan Sloan (left) and Red Pounds, both of Nashville caught these 12 largemouth bass fishing the Tennessee River near Seven-Mile Island. The fish were taken on Bill's Bumble Bee. Photo Decatur Daily, November 23, 1969.

In order to mark Labor Day 2023, we’re going to post a short piece today, to decrease our labor.  So, today in Stan Sloan Bumble Bee, we’re taking a short look at an image we scoured from the annals of bass fishing news coverage.

The photo at the head of the post is of non-other than Stan Sloan (left) and his fishing partner Red Pounds (in the tie).  The duo had just finished fishing the Tennessee River near Seven-Mile Island and are holding a string of 12 hefty bass.  By the looks of it, there isn’t a fish under 4 pounds on the stick and some look to be pushing at least seven pounds.

When any serious bass angler over the age of 50 hears the name Stan Sloan, two things should come to mind.  First, it was Sloan who won the first Ray Scott event, held on Beaver Lake Arkansas in June 1967.  The second thing that should ring in your head is Sloan’s Zorro bait Company, maker of the Aggravator spinnerbait, which won the first BASS Masters Classic in 1971.

But read the caption of the photo presented and it appears that in 1969, Sloan wasn’t making the Aggravator and was using someone else’s bait.  In this case, Bill’s Bumble Bee.  For all of you past the half-century mark, we know that the Bumble Bee was a spinnerbait made by the Bumble Bee Bait Company of Athens, GA.  But who was Bill?

Bill happened to be one of the best anglers on the Tennessee River back in the 1960s through the 1980s.  He once told Ray Scott that Bassmaster Magazine and B.A.S.S. wouldn’t succeed.  Although Bill wasn’t right on that one, he made a good bait and is credited for being the first person to outfit a spinnerbait with a ball-bearing swivel.

Bill would continue making baits but in the 1970s, when all the rules were changing in Ray Scott’s events regarding live release, kill switches, and other boat requirements, he and a couple others started a company called TH Marine.  The Bill of Bill’s Bumble Bee was Bill Huntley.

This brings me back to Stan Sloan and the Bumble Bee.  If you look at Sloan’s bait, it is markedly different than Bill’s.  The head design is different, the swivel he used wasn’t a ball bearing swivel, and the skirt was also a different material.

What was similar was the long arm, which provided some extra assurance the bait would come through obstructions more easily.  Sloan’s bait would go on to become one of the most sought-after spinnerbaits of the 1970s and even through the 1980s.

The article that accompanied the image also mentioned the 1969 BASS Master Team event held on Lake Eufaula, AL that week, where Bill Dance and the team that consisted of Bobby Murray, Forrest Wood and Bob Ponds.  They beat the second-place team by more than 40 pounds.

We hope you all have a great Labor day and we’ll see you back here tomorrow.