Last week we published a piece on the Bass Caster’s Association – a bass fishing organization much like that of B.A.S.S. in the early years. This week we’re going to continue on that front and dive a little deeper into the first issue of The Lunker Hole Number 1.
But first, let’s look at the publication from a historical standpoint. At this time, 1970, B.A.S.S. and Bassmaster Magazine had been out 2 1/2 years. Fishing Facts was newly minted from Bill Binkelman’s Fishing News and In-Fisherman was only a twinkle in the Lindner brother’s hearts.
For bass fishing junkies, there wasn’t much to choose from as American Angler, National Bass, and American Bass Fisherman wouldn’t hit the stands for another four to five years. Of course, there was the Big Three to glean some information from, but pure bass fishing magazines were hard to come by.
The first issue of The Lunker Hole didn’t have much fanfare at 36 pages in length. The cover was a drab greenish blue with the title, issue number and issue date. A picture of editor Art Reid graced the cover – him holding a 10-pound largemouth.
The inside cover hosts an ad for Ranger Boats. There are a couple of curious things about the ad. First off, the picture of the boat clearly shows this boat belongs to Bill Harkins, originator of the Lunker Lure. The second thing I found slightly amusing was it appears the fish being held is a mount.
The next page is another ad, this one for Dot’s Sport Shop of Hurst IL. Owned by Joe and Dot Harrison, Dot’s sold Ranger, Chrysler and Richline bass boats as well pontoon boats. They also provided maintenance and sold a complete line of tackle. I’d love to have gone into this shop back in the day.
The next page is the masthead of the magazine. The staff comprised of:
Editor: Art Reid
Executive Editor: Bill Harkins
Associate Editor: Bob Mason
Associate Editor: Jan Swetz
Art Director: Dick Carter
Production: Barbara Killough.
It’s on this masthead you see the original name of the organization, Bass Caster’s Angling Society, or BCAS. For a first issue, I’m impressed with the contents of the magazine. It was 36 pages long and had some good information in it.
As with most magazines, the next page featured the Editor’s column, written by Reid. Reid lets his readers know what they are to expect with the magazine in the future and discusses environmental issues pertaining to water quality. There’s no doubt he’s taking a line from Ray Scott to promote clean water.
The next page are letters to the Editor. Reading some of the letters, it’s hard to determine when exactly BCAS started and to what extent. One of the letters states that “BCAS emblems were being worn with pride,” and what can they do to help promote BCAS more. A second letter says, “BCAS and The Lunker Hole magazine are a great idea for all of us in the Midwest.” Maybe the concept of BCAS was born in the 1969 timeframe and the organization started in 1970?
The following three pages give a tournament report for the Little Grassy Lake Bass Tournament. The report doesn’t say if this was a BCAS-affiliated event. But it was mentioned that the winner, Patrick Kress, and second-place angler, Larry Switzer, were both BCAS members.
The article continues with mention of another event, the Little Egypt Bass Club Team Tournament, to be held on Devil’s Kitchen Lake. Rules stated, “any boat capable of carrying two men safely and comfortably for long hours of fishing is acceptable.” Entry fee was $40.
Also mentioned in article is that the marina has 40 fishing boats and 10 3-hp motors for rent. That made me chuckle a bit but those were the days.
There was a tournament kick-off meeting scheduled for Friday night. Although it was a two-man team event, teams were split up. Each team consisted of a Team Captain and Team Member. Team Captains would be paired with each other the first day and for the second day, the team captain would be paired with another team member. Read the full article to get a good idea how crazy this event was , especially what happened to the fish after the event.
Page nine has another reminder how early in our bass fishing history we were in 1970. The diminutive ad from Crain Specialties featuring Slip-Sinkers Worm-Weights. The ad plainly states:
“The slip-sinker plastic worm rig has proven unbeatable for snaking out lunker bass from where they live. Buy your slip-sinkers in QUANTITY.”
Obviously, they’re talking about the Texas Rig.
They sold three sizes, 1/2-,1/4- and 1/8-ounce packages 10 per pack. For 60 to 70₵ you could buy a pack, which was expensive a few years later when you could get a 100-box out of Bass Pro Shops for less than $3.
Page 10 through 13 have an article written by Bill Harkins on water temperature and its effect on bass. Harkins, was the Executive Editor of the magazine but more importantly, was the guy behind the Lunker Lure. In the picture accompanying the article, Harkins is holding a 10-1/4-pound bass that had taken his surface lure. I wonder if it was an early version of the buzzbait.
Instead of going through the rest of the magazine, I’ll list the article titles and authors here and you can read them below in the gallery.
The Ranger Bass Boat by Bob Mason, pages 14-15
Kentucky Lake: The Unknown Quantity by The Staff, pages 16-17
The Lowly Worm by The Staff, pages 18-21
How to Form a Local Bass Club by Jan Swetz, pages 22-23
BCAS Members Conquer Seminole by The Staff, pages 24-25
The Rebel Packrat Society no byline, pages 26-28
Editorial, no byline, page 29
Pictures of Lunkers pages 33-34
Back Inside Cover – BCAS ad
Back Cover – Flip Tail ad