Friday, March 1, 2024

Tackling Oklahoma bass

There’s something special about visiting the origins of your sport. If you’re a keen Australian bass fisho like me, tangling with an American largemouth bass would be high on your fishing agenda. After all, this where it started, with tackle, techniques and even our bass’s name coming from the land of stars and stripes.

The Oklahoma lake I fished yesterday is a regular haunt for serious tournament fishos. This is the real deal – a multi million dollar industry with a huge following. Tackle companies take it very seriously too, recognising the value of sponsoring popular bass pros for the influence they have on keen amateur fishos.

The day before I fished Grand Lake, US tackle giant, Zebco, showed me around its US headquarters in Tulsa, Oklahoma. Zebco’s impressive list of brands include: Quantum, Fin Nor, Van Staal, Martin, Cajun, and more.

Zebco president Jeff Pontius was enthusiastic about the Australian potential for these brands after tackle company, Jarvis Walker, recently took on the Australian distributorship. He was also more than happy to chat about tackle quality. Many of the premium products are built in a Zebco owned and operated China-based factory, ensuring very high standards.

Quality assurance is achieved in the Tulsa test lab. During the visit I saw futuristic tackle testing machines specially designed by Zebco putting gear through it paces. Interestingly the lab equipment is constantly upgraded to keep with indestructible new gear.

 _832_ test lab 550.jpgA test lab at Zebco HQ, Tulsa Oklahoma.

Zebco’s test application developer, Joe Davis, looks after this lab and it was his job to take me fishing. A flooded lake, cold rain, and high winds made it tough. Joe’s an experienced bass fisho and tracked down a few fish. Actually, Joe caught most of them. In such conditions the serious tournament fishing mentality wins out. Joe was constantly thinking, experimenting with different techniques, and finally putting a puzzle together. When the pieces were complete I caught my first American bass.

These guys really push the limit with tackle and technique. When money’s on the line – results pay. When there’s always something to learn, it’s no wonder Aussie bass fishos look to this foreign sport for inspiration.

Stay tuned for an upcoming issue of Fishing World for a feature article on my US visit. For more information on the products mentioned go to and check out the series of reel tests in Fisho’s September 2009 issue.



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