1977 DuPont Stren Ad featuring 16 of the 1976 BASS Masters Classic Qualifiers who used Stren.

A few days ago, we posted a piece on some 1979 Stren and Trilene ads.  Today, in What’s My Line, we have what might be a better example of the line industry at the time.  In this piece we’re going to look at both companies and two particular ads that ran in the 1977 magazines, after the BASS Masters Classic, of course.

Between these two ads they offer 21 of the 25 anglers who made it to the 1976 Bassmaster Classic.  I wasn’t able to find any other line ads for other brands, which may be the reason why the other four anglers don’t show up in the magazines of the day.  In any event, the ads to me speak a lot, especially due to the industry today when it comes to line choices.

What I find interesting about the ads is that Stren (Du Pont) has a vast majority, 16, of America’s top professional anglers fishing their line in the Classic, while Berkley has only five out of the 25.  That’s what I’d call a lopsided number – 64% to 20% – in any comparison, even with only two major line companies in business.

Stren chose to build their ad around the fact that they had 16 of the Classic qualifiers fishing their line during the event.  Their headline was pretty impressive saying:

The pros were fishing for $50,000 at the 1976 BASS Masters Classic.

They landed $41,000 with Stren.

Of course, Rick Clunn won that event and pocketed $25,000, and Bo Dowden got second place and $10,000.  In all, 82% of the money handed out went to Stren anglers.

1977 Berkley Trilene ad featuring five of the 1976 Classic Qualifiers and their accomplishments to date.

Berkley, on the other hand, decided to showcase their Classic qualifiers by their accomplishments up to that time.  They list Jimmy Houston as the 1976 B.A.S.S. Angler of the Year, Ricky Green as the #3 All-Time Money Winner, Tommy Martin as the 1974 BASS Masters Classic Winner, Jack Hains as the 1975 BASS Masters Classic Winner, and Roger Moore as #3 on the 1976 BASS Tournament Trail.  All great accomplishments.

But what were the other four anglers fishing with at the time?  Billy Westmorland, Basil Bacon, Willard Moore, and Johnny Morris are missing from these ads, possibly suggesting that they didn’t fish either line.  Were they fishing Maxima, Royal Bonnyl, or some other line?  We they fishing Stren or Trilene, just not being paid to do so or they didn’t want their name and face in the ads?  It’s hard to say.

Another thing that strikes me about these ads compared to today’s market is even with Pure Fishing’s massive market share and ad campaigns, I don’t think we’d ever see an ad like the Stren ad shown here.  There are just too many top-shelf line companies to allow this kind of monopoly to happen again.  Pick five of the top pros and you’re likely to get five different line companies being used.

To end this piece, I constructed a short table of the Final 1976 BASS Masters Classic standings along with the line each angler used and their winnings.  It’s a quick way to see where the anglers placed in that event and what line they used.

Stren, Trilene and the Anglers That Used Them in the 1976 BASS Masters Classic
PlaceAnglerLineAward $
1Rick ClunnStren$25,000.00
2Villis "Bo" DowdenStren$10,000.00
3Ricky GreenTrilene$5,000.00
4Billy PhillipsStren$3,000.00
5Thomas MartinTrilene$2,000.00
6Paul ChambleeStren$1,000.00
7Bill DanceStren$1,000.00
8Jimmy HoustonTrilene$1,000.00
9Billy Westmorland$1,000.00
10Gary WadeStren$1,000.00
11Doug OdomStren
12Charles CampbellStren
13Basil Bacon
14Rayo BreckenridgeStren
15Wade ReedStren
16Jerry RhyneStren
17Willard Moore
18Don MannStren
19Jack ChancellorStren
20Lloyd McentireStren
21Roger MooreTrilene
22Bill WardStren
23Johnny Morris
24Jack HainsTrilene
25Greg WardStren