The Lunker Hole Volume 1 Number 2 July-August 1970 Cover

It’s been a while since we talked about the Bass Casters Association and their publication, The Lunker Hole.  So far we’ve written about the first issue, fourth issue, and did a spread on several of their volumes covering the years 1970 through 1979.  Today in The Lunker Hole Number 2, we’re looking at the second issue, which was published July/August 1970.

The first two years of the magazine were referred to only as numbers, not the volume and number you’d normally associate with a magazine.  Another signature of those first two years was the turquoise cover that adorned each issue.

And, on the cover of this issue is Jan Swetz, associate editor of The Lunker Hole, with a nice string of bass.  This string of fish helped his team win the 3rd-annual Southern Illinois Bass Fishing Team Championship.  Which brings up a question.  If this was the 3rd-annual event, that means this event was started in 1968, just a year after Ray Scott’s first two events.  The boys in Illinois didn’t mess around.

Opening the cover of the magazine you’re greeted with a nice Ranger Bass Boat ad from the day.  The cool thing about this ad is it features Bill Harkins, inventor of the Lunker Lure.  But there’s also a bit of comedy with the image.  It appears the guy in the front seat of the boat is holding a mounted fish.

The Lunker Hole Volume 1 Number 2 July-August 1970 Cover
The Lunker Hole Volume 1 Number 2 July-August 1970 Page 3

The next page is a display of photos sent in by Bass Casters Angling Society (BCAS) members and their catches.  If all these fish came out of Illinois, I’m impressed.  There is proof that there were some really nice fish in the state.

Page 4 features the masthead of the magazine.  Staff listed in this second issue are:

  • Editor:  Art Reid
  • Executive Editor:  Bill Harkins
  • Associate Editor:  Bob Mason
  • Associate Editor:  Jan Swetz
  • Art Director:  Dick Carter
  • Production:  Barbara Killough

Pages five and six provide the Editorial from Art Reid as well as some Letters to the Editor.  In the Editorial, Reid talks about two smallmouth articles that were penned by “distinguished outdoor writers.”  This is contrary to the tack that Ray Scott was taking at the time, which was to publish only articles that were written by the anglers themselves.  Reid continues, giving some updates on the organization as well as a salute to four BCAS members and staff that had just won the recent 4-man team event.

Tournament reports for the Devils Kitchen Lake Open, Lake Monroe Open, and the B.A.S.S. Rebel Invitational were published on pages 7-9.  The Devils Kitchen event, which was staged May 16-17, 1970 by the Little Egypt Bass Club, saw forty-four two-man teams put up the $40 entry fee to compete on the 800-acre lake.

The Monroe event, on the other hand, drew 1, 130 anglers.  Thank God Monroe is a little bigger than Devils Kitchen, at 10,000 acres.  Still, that’s an amazing turnout for a bass tournament so early in the era of competitive bass fishing.

Next BCAS members could be proud as one of their own won the Bassmaster Rebel Invitation on Ross Barnett.  Jesse Farmer, of Johnston City, Illinois, took all the awards for the event winning first place and biggest bass.  This is impressive since he was competing against the top pros the nation had to offer, including Bill Dance and Roland Martin.

Also on Pages 9 and 10, was a warm up for the first BCAS-sponsored event to be held at Barkley Lake, September 26-27 of that same year.  This would mark the start of BCAS’ venture into competitive bass fishing from an organizational standpoint.

The Lunker Hole Volume 1 Number 2 July-August 1970 Page 7

The following page is a good example of how other fledgling organizations at the time were copying Ray Scott’s script with what he was doing with B.A.S.S.  On page 11, BCAS is hailing all bass clubs to join in their newly minted divisional competitions pitting club against club.  At the end of the year BCAS would sponsor a club fish-off.  It’s not exactly what Scott was doing with the Chapters, but it was darn close.

Turning to page 13 you’ll find a bass boat review for the Rich Line bass boats.  It starts off with the RL-1400 bass boat.  It’s a good review to check out as it will give you an idea of what made a bass boat back in 1970.  Right off the bat, the review should scream tiny boat, as the RL-1400 was only 14-feet, 4-inches in length.

But what caught my eye was the list of standard features that came on the boat.  Comfortable seats, storage compartments, and livewells.  Wait, did they say livewells?  Yes they did.

Over the course of years I’ve been studying this game, I have run into a few boat reviews that mentioned boats with bait wells.  Never livewells, though.  You don’t hear about livewells in boats until the 1972 period when Ray Scott made them mandatory to fish the Bassmaster events.  This makes me wonder if the use of the word livewell meant bait well or a well to keep fish alive.

The rest of the article continues to talk about the other boats Rich Line manufactured.  All of these boats were 16-feet or less, lightweight, and had a maximum horsepower rating of 60 hp.  These boats remind me not only of days gone by but the current trend into tiny boats.  The boats in this article/review couldn’t hold a candle to the tiny boats of today, though.

The Lunker Hole Volume 1 Number 2 July-August 1970 Page 13

The Southern Illinois Bass Team Championship, held on Crab Orchard Lake, was presented on pages 14 through 18.  As mentioned at the beginning of this piece, Jan Swetz and his team, which consisted of John Swetz, Bob Mason, and Harry Huelett, took the top honors amongst the 85 four-man teams entered.  Think about that, 340 anglers fishing an event in 1970, and they were all from Illinois.

The Lunker Hole Volume 1 Number 2 July-August 1970 Page 14
The Lunker Hole Volume 1 Number 2 July-August 1970 Page 15

The rest of the magazine is filled with more articles on techniques of the day, how to fish certain lakes, and other worthy information that will shed light on how our sport morphed into the era of competitive bass fishing.  I highly recommend clicking through the entire magazine front to back, even if it’s just to look at the vintage pictures of big Illinois bass.

The entire magazine can be seen below in the gallery.  Click on the first image and use the arrows to scroll page by page.


Gallery – The Lunker Hole Number 2