Back on January 4, 2022, we posted a piece about The Lunker Hole magazine, Volume 1, Number 1. In that piece we went through the complete magazine to give you an idea of the organization and its magazine. Today we’re going to do another deep dive on the organization and the magazine, this time through The Lunker Hole Number 4.
The cover of The Lunker Hole Number 4 was again a turquoise blue in color and this time Charlie Bumpas graced the cover of the magazine. Upon examining the picture of Charlie, you’ll notice that the letters B.A.S.S. were taped over with Charlie’s name. That brought back memories of the early 2000s FLW Duct Tape debacle.
Turn the page and you’re greeted with an early Ranger Boats ad. This ad features Bill Harkins of Lunker Lure fame, I assume he’s driving the boat, and a gentleman in the front seat holding what appears to be a mounted bass. The ad is basic, just some words describing why you should consider a Ranger and that’s about it. It’s a great early bass boat ad.
Page three had three pictures of leaping bass and is titled, “A Look at Lunkers.” From I take of the captions, this series of images was taken at the BCAS Barkley Lake event which was covered later in the magazine.
On page four you’re greeted by the contents page and masthead. This page lists all those involved with the magazine/organization. It lists Art Reid as the editor, Bob Mason and Jan Swetz as associate editors, Dick Carter as art director, Barbara Killough as production and Doris Gilbert as circulation manager. Gone from the list is Bill Harkins who was listed in The Lunker Hole Number 1 as the Executive Editor.
What I find interesting about the contents of this issue are the topics they covered. Out of the seven Feature and five Department articles, five of these pieces were written about fish conservation. If you go back into the original Bassmaster Magazines of 1968 through 1970, you’ll see Ray Scott started his conservation platform right from the start. It’s obvious from these articles in The Lunker Hole, the topic of conservation was one to be associated with. Even if most anglers thought a lake couldn’t be fished out of bass – not to mention the water pollution problem.
For example, the editor’s column on page 5 talks about fish conservation and the fact that bass tournaments were coming under fire from “many directions.” The criticism about tournaments was getting so bad that Art Reid said in this piece that “BCAS was going to start replacing fish-for-fish caught in each event.” In other words, if the field caught 1000 bass in the event, BCAS would replace them with 1000 12-inch bass from a local hatchery. Remember folks, this was 1970, about two years before the livewell came into service in most boats.
Feature articles that looked at the health of the sport were penned by Jan Swetz, “Am I killing My Own Sport,” and Staff, “Temperature Can Kill Bass.” Read some of these articles and see if there are any parallels to todays thoughts on the sport.
In most magazines, letters to the editor are placed in one section. The Lunker Hole, on the other hand, had two sections. On page six titled, “Controlled Over-Runs,” were several reader comments about the magazine. Most of the letters pertained to folks being happy with the new magazine as well as being happy that someone started a bass organization in the Midwest.
The next round of reader submissions were printed in a section called, “From the Member’s Rigs.” In this issue, page seven through nine, author Don Brehm wrote in about conservation – which was pretty observant for the time. This is an article I suggest everyone read. Mr. Brehm is talking about the same problems we face today with overfishing, the speed of information transfer and electronics. It’s amazing to read his words of 52 years ago.
There was another submission called, “Appreciated ‘Deep South’ Bass.” In this small letter the reader talks about his “admiration for men who devote so much time and effort against such odds.” The reader was talking about the men of the north having to deal with “[bass] seasons, ice-ins and lunkers up to three pounds.” What I found funny about this is I dealt with this “southern talk” for many years while talking to my southern brethren when I lived in Idaho. The other thing I found interesting is this submission was written by none other than early bass pro Bobby Meadors.
Another bit of nostalgia from this issue are the ads. On page six is an ad from Crane Specialty out of Marion, Ill for “Slip Sinkers Worm Weights.” Cranes sold their weights by the 10-pack for 60 to 70 each plus 25-cents postage. Remember, at this time worm weights for Texas rigging were mostly made by carving an egg sinker into the shape of a bullet or by using a bell sinker with the brass wire taken out of it.
On the subject of ads, there’s also the Fo-Mac ad for their rod holders and the ever-famous “Ugh! Button” butt cap. Amazingly the Ugh! Button was popular back throughout the 70s with anglers who were using the old-style pistol grips before Lew Childre came out with a much better mouse trap.
Another ad, on page 9, though, really caught my eye. Bob Hinman Outfitters was advertising a thermal sweatshirt, polaroid sunglasses and, to my surprise, an inflatable life vest that was actuated when the angler fell into the water. In the ad they state that CO -probably more likely CO2 – would inflate the PFD and support a 200-pound person. A search of the internet didn’t provide any clues as to whether or not a patent was ever filed but it sure makes you wonder about S.O.Spenders and the Mustang PFDs we wear today.
Page 10 is titled “New for the Bass Caster” and is a review of new items on the market for bass fisherman. New items in this issue are the Dennis Life Guard Seat, Rebel’s new metal-lipped deep-diving minnow, Lowrance’s Fish-n-Temp, the Seater Heater heated seat, UMCO’s new refrigerated possum belly tackle boxes, and Vexilar’s new straighline paper graph for $698.
On further in the issue is the Lake Barkley Invitational tournament report. This event was sponsored by BCAS and was held September 26-27, 1970. Charlie Bumpas of Clarksville, TN won the event with a two-day total of 44 pounds. Bobby Adams, Hendersonville, TN, placed second with 32-08 and Brack Maupin, Richmond, KY placed third with 31-05. The rest of the top-10 were:
- 4th place: Terry Pryor, TN
- 5th Place: Bernie Keene, KY
- 6th place: Aldreson Clark, KY
- 7th place: E.R. Polly, KY
- 8th place: Hugh Massey, KY
- 9th place: Fred Brist, TN
- 10th place: Bobby King, KY
This was a well written and covered tournament report for such a small organization. I would put it on par with Bassmaster reporting at the time, maybe even a little better as they devoted seven pages to this event alone.
At this point, I think I’ll stop. There’s so much this issue to talk about but I think you’ll get much more out of it if you read it yourself.
Below is the gallery of this issue. Click on the first picture and then page through the magazine with the left and right arrows. I hope you enjoy this look back at The Lunker Hole Number 4.
Growing up in the Midwest(St. Louis), BCA had a large presence and following in this area. Most of their tournaments were regionally based in the Central region of the country. Not sure of the exact timeframe they remained relevant, but seemed to be the 1970’s into the early 80’s. As you have shown, they also published a quality magazine that only got better as time went on. I only wish that I had saved all the issues that I once had accumulated, as they would have provided a great look back in time, much like this post did.
Mike, thanks for the comment. I agree with you on BCA and The Lunker Hole. They provided something missing in the Midwest for the angler who couldn’t fish the national events like Bassmaster. I’m lucky in that I have a few issues that I’ll be sharing on the site. Prior to meeting David Fields I had Issues 4, 7 and 9 from 1970 through 1971 as well as a smattering of issues from 1978 and the full set of 1979 issues. David gave me a number of issues from 1972 through 1975, maybe 76 to help me share them with everyone. As I get them scanned, organized and write articles on them, I will post them. It just takes time.
David has been an unbelievable help with BCA as he fished some of the early events and then worked for them for a while. I look forward to working with him more to answer a lot of the questions I have regarding the organization.
I also have in my library magazines from other organizations, such as Western Bass/U.S. Bass, The National Bassman, American Angler, American Bass Fisherman, Poor Boys Fishing Association, Pro Bass, and others. It’s just a daunting task to scan everything. LOL. It takes two minutes per page to scan at the resolution required for you all to be able to read on the site. Multiply 2 minutes by 40 pages and you see my dilemma. 🙂
Thanks so much for commenting on the site. It’s people like you who make this fun and make us feel like we’re actually doing something people enjoy!
BFA is a unique and valuable source of information regarding the history and colorful past of the great sport of bass fishing. For some of us “old timers” it is a delightful remembrance of days gone by, and for the younger generation a great educational source that documents the pioneers and developments that paved the way for much of what we enjoy today. Your efforts are appreciated and applauded, Terry. Keep up the good work!