Perched on a shelf above the computer where I compose my fishing and hunting tales are several souvenirs of my earlier years as an outdoor writer. Among my favorites is a book, sitting on an easel, titled “Bill Dance The Bass Champ…Techniques of Bass Fishing.”
Dance gave me that book when we met back in the late 1970’s when I was paired up with him to fish the Rivers’ Ford Bass Tournament right here on Lake D’Arbonne. I submit the picture of us together back in the day at the end of this writeup as evidence, but I’m not sure it would hold up in court. ‘Who is that young fisherman with hair?”
The book gave detailed instructions on how to fish some of the hot new artificial lures that were hitting the market because of the bass fishing craze. Take a look. Do you recognize any of them? Today most of them are now collector’s items.
There’s the Red Fin, the Crazy Shad, the Gay Blade, and the prototype for modern spinnerbaits, the Vibra-King.
Dance was good with them all, but it was his mastery of the plastic worm that set him apart from early anglers.
“I hope this book helps you catch more and bigger fish and have more fun doing it than ever before,” he wrote on the inside cover. Since I hadn’t caught that many at that time, it was almost a sure bet. Dance did that through the book, his TV show and his personal appearances and BASS Seminars over the years. The new fishing megastore that opens in Memphis this week a fitting monument to the accomplishments he left for fishermen who follow him.
In the livewell of life, he’s a keeper!