Original Caption: Pro angler Basil Bacon unceremoniously swings a bass aboard. The Paducah Sun, March 1985, Staff photo by Steve Vantreese.

Today’s Friday Finale historical photo, Vantreese on the Pros, features one of the early and best “long rod” (“flipping”) adoptees, Basil Bacon.  The photo dates to a 1985 article, often tongue-in-cheek, about the life and times of professional anglers.  And while writer Steve Vantreese makes some points and has some fun at the expense of the professional tournament trail participants, he also takes a moment to recognize some of the great talents on tour, such as Basil.

Here is an excerpt from that portion of the lengthy article.  See if you don’t recognize all the names he mentions and their special talents:

“Weekend fishermen come closer to equaling the pros in terms of catching fish.  Having fished with a number of top professionals as well as many skilled non-pros, it appears that several weekenders have the abilities of casting and working lures to compete lead-to-head with the best in the business.  But there are those pros who do appear to have an edge in the mechanics department.

Jack Hains, a Louisiana angler who won the 1975 BASS Masters Classic and has since dropped out of the pro ranks, was the best I’ve seen with the spinnerbait.  His cast placement and manipulation of the lure was artistry.

“Missouri angler Basil Bacon and Californian Gary Klein are two who bring magic to the long-rod, lure-swinging ‘flipping’ technique.

“Kentucky’s own Ron Shearer uses his patented ‘skipping’ tactic of skittering a lure across the surface of the water back to seemingly unreachable bass cover.  It has to be seen to be fully believed.

“Texan Tommy Martin is a machine when it comes to pounding out cast after cast, all on the money. His endurance and consistency in delivery have always made him hard to beat.

“The Florida heavyweight Roland Martin – no relation to Tommy – is clearly adept in all types of tackle manipulation.  He uses a quirky little ‘flip-cast’ with a long rod and jig/pork rind combo that still has me scratching my head.  Martin’s real forte, however, is in his head.  His mind is a computer and it’s programmed for bass.  He thinks like a fish.  This, combined with his solid abilities with tackle, keep him at the head of the class.  I’m not alone in thinking that Roland Martin still is probably the best bass fisherman — pro or otherwise — drawing breath today.”