June 7, 2012 by Terry 2 Comments Bass Cat’s first full-page ad in Bass Master Magazine.
Going through a 1975 vintage Bass Master Magazine the other day, though, I ran across an add for the boat company I’ve been running the last 7 years – Bass Cat.
The ad shows an old “tub-style” boat common for that era and also a more aggressive pad-style boat. Knowing Bass Cat has been owned by the Pierce family for over 40 years and that they just completed a search and found the first boat they produced in ’71 a few months back, I knew I could call and get some good information on the history of Bass Cat. Boats have come a long way since this time and I was curious about what Pierce’s thoughts were on the subject.
So far we’ve covered Old Boat Ads from 1970 through 1975 and a smattering of older years where information was available. With this, 9 companies new to advertising their product in the major magazines started showing off their wares. Although most companies changed their ads from their 1975 versions, they’d only run one or two different ads in the magazines from issue to issue. Another interesting aspect of the ’76 campaign were companies like DuPont advertising their new Kevlar product and using Hydra Sports pictures.
Missing from this year’s ads were companies like Rebel (at this point they were no longer manufacturing bass boats) and Ouachita. Arrow Glass – It seems that Arrow Glass, although one of the big boat manufacturers there was, just didn’t care about advertising their goods with color ads. This year Arrow Glass featured three models; the 15’-6” Meteor, the 17’-0” Nova LTD MK-1 and the undescribed Nova LTD MK-2, which looks like an even bigger boat than the MK-I.
They state that they are introducing “America’s Top High Performance Boat,” so maybe they were trying to add a little suspense with the reveal. Bass Cat – In 1976 Bass Cat Boats ran ads in every issue of Bassmaster Magazine, up from two issues the year before. Chrysler – Chrysler Marine again was advertising their bass boat and motor lineup in all the bass-centric magazines in 1976. It was a great looking boat for the period but for some reason, Chrysler could never build a boat (or motor) that would last. I’m not sure how long they had been around or lasted but they appear to be pretty neat little boats for the time. DuraCraft – In 1976 DuraCraft came out with their first “Bass Fisherman Models” to add to their large line of aluminum boats. The 17-foot model displayed is advertised as having a casting platform, which leads one to believe the smaller 14-foot models didn’t have.
Ebbtide – In 1975 Ebbtide placed their first advertisement that I could find in the literature.
The Bass Tracker, as it was called, was billed as a performance bass boat with full instrumentation, two livewells and other nice features. The second ad reveals three of their models, the Super Bass Bandit, Super Tracker and Bushwhacker bass boats.
Now, if you compare the first ad with the second, you’ll notice that the first ad states Ebbtides were sold in 140 dealers worldwide. If you look at the features offered on the boat you might think you’re looking at one of today’s boats.
Fisher Marine – In years past Fisher Marine had up to eight different ads in the magazines but in ’76, they whittled that down to just three. Glastron – Prior to 1976, Glastron ads had always been pretty boring – generally showing a couple of older guys fishing in one of their tubs. Fully integrated pad, lifting strakes and slotted strakes, the boat was one of the fastest bass boats on the market at the time.

May 23, 2012 by Terry 2 Comments Rich Zaleski powering down the Charles River in Boston in his 1971 Terry Bass Boat. Well, the 1970 Bass Boat post today received a bit of traffic to say the least.  First person to submit something was Rich Zaleski, yes the writer RichZ who frequently posts on the site, with his 1971 vintage Terry Bass Boat. The second picture was sent in from Preston Rogers who actually worked at the Ouachita plant from 1968 to ’69.
Actually, on further consideration, that pic was from the NBAA (Northern Bass Anglers Assoc) TOC. And to add another semi-interesting tidbit, the original owner of NBAA sold it (the year after that TOC) to a couple of the most supportive anglers in the organization, who ran it for another couple seasons before selling their membership rolls to NABA.
It also shows Tommy Martin, Jerry Crowell and Basil Bacon, anglers that were staffed by Bass Cat at the time and all three 1974 Champions.
For the last article, Old Bass Boats – 1975, there were 16 boat manufacturers who advertised in the various magazines I could locate. These new companies were Baretta, Delta Pro, Fish Master, Holiday, MFG, Raider, Roughneck, Stryker, and X-Calibur. Two companies, Hydra Sports and Ranger, went on major campaigns featuring between six and eight different ads – some of them two and three-pagers. No idea what happened to Ouachita in 1976 but this was about the time the company went out of business from what I understand. This week we’re going to go from A (Arrow Glass) to G (Glastron) and then finish up with H (Holiday) through X (X-Calibur) along with the Classic rig.
In fact, now looking back at six years’ worth of their ads, I don’t recall but maybe one color ad.
This is the first time I’ve seen a Baretta ad in any magazine, this one coming from the International Bass Association – Bass News, and I have to say, I really don’t see much. Still, you’d think that a new company would want to capitalize on their ad dollars by giving the reader all the scoop. This year, though, they were more focused on letting the consumer know about their new lower unit – probably because they had had so many problems in the past.
Even with Corinthian leather and Lee Iacocca, Chrysler Marine was a failure from the start.
Delta Marine, a company I’d never heard of before now, is advertising their new world record for 85 HP Stock Class Bass Boat – I assume on their 15-foot boat. The 17-foot model weighed a bit over 800 pounds while the 15-footer came to the scales at just over 600 pounds. There are specifications on the three models – essentially length, beam, and maximum horse power rating but other than that, you’re left to guess.
There’s no mention of livewells and unless the storage is under the driver’s and passenger’s seats, there appears to be none. In 1976, they continued on by placing two more ads in Bassmaster but the fact that they seemed to be moving forward on this front isn’t what caught my eye. At 15’-8” in length, the ad doesn’t give any horse power rating or other specifications for the hull.
These boats were constructed with a balsa wood core and hand laid fiberglass, with Kevlar as an option. This year they deviated from that stance and instead talked about “who” was fishing their boats. The boat wasn’t only a high-performance hull, it had all the features the serious bass angler would need. The picture shown here is taken from the 1976 NABA (Rich can you fill us in on what NABA stands for?) Tournament of Champions on the Charles River in Boston. NBAA was followed by NABA (North American Bass Anglers) which evolved into NEBA (North Eastern Bass Assoc).

Those two guys were Steve Conely (one of the best worm fishermen I’ve ever met) and Alex Langer. Over the course of time my family or I have owned a number of different boats – Sea Nymph, MonArk, Champion and Skeeter. Of course Tommy won the Bass Master Classic in ’74 and that really elevated him as a professional angler.
Dad was very reluctant to go to the pad-style boat even though we had the 7th Allison hull sitting outside the shop for a long time. Invitational circuit but his love for boat design and building always brought him home to Mountain Home, AR and the Bass Cat factory. In 1976, where my magazine collection really starts to become deep with respect to magazines other than Bassmaster, the number of boat manufacturers advertising jumped to 26, almost a 65 percent increase. They always produced great ads showing what their boats featured, which was important, but looking at the ads from a consumer standpoint, they didn’t sell as well as the full-color motion ads many of the others were going to.
I’m not sure why the company would only show the cap of the boat (maybe they hadn’t designed the hull yet) and it was a bad angle at that. Each ad was essentially the same ad used in 1975, showing Basil Bacon, Jerry Crowell and Tommy Martin, along with their DXL Tournament and XL models.
Still, DuraCraft was known for making solid aluminum boats and I’m sure they would start to take some of the market share from Fisher Marine at this time. The Smackdown, AR company had been in business manufacturing boats a long time and had obviously embraced the bass boat world. In all three ads placed that year, Bill Dance was featured in each of them and John Powell was with Dance in one of those.
All were great rides, fished well and – except for the Sea Nymph – were reasonably fast in their day. Then there was Jerry Crowell who won the Bass Casters of Association (BCA) Tournament of Champions and Basil who won the Project Sports INC (PSI) Tournament of Champions. He’s a wealth of knowledge, not just in the bass boat industry but also the bass fishing industry.
I’m not sure whether or not they advertised in earlier BCA (or other magazines) as I don’t have any earlier issues that feature their ads. All that was said about the boats was they offered a full line of bass boats from 15- to 17 feet in length.
If this is the case they make mention of only three models and the Bass Tracker isn’t one of them.
I guess with Bill and John in your boats, you didn’t really have to say much more than that.
Not only was the ad an action shot, it looked as if the boat was coming out of the paper it was printed on. I do know from talking to Rick Pierce, though, that they did support BCA and PSI during the years prior to 1976. Makes you wonder what happened to companies like Eldocraft and why they aren’t around today. There’s no mention if there’s a pad at the stern but from looking at the pictures, the stance of the boat suggests there might be one.

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