The 1970 Bassmaster Angler of the Year

Harold Sharp[Editor’s Note: This is Harold Sharp’s recollections of how the first Bassmaster Angler of the Year was awarded in 1970. There are a lot of questions surrounding it due to the fact that there was no actual race and if based on points (or pounds) Roland Martin would have won.]

There are some question as to when and where the B.A.S.S. Angler of the Year started. Here’s how I remember it.

The year was 1970 and B.A.S.S. tournaments were scored on a point system based on X number of points per ounce of bass weighed in. This point system was used by Ray Scott in his first tournament at Beaver Lake and I believe the points were used because the score looked better on the scoreboard. [Read more…]

The Chattanooga Bass Club and Bass Anglers Sportsmans Society

The first officers of the Chattanooga Bass Club. Photo courtesy of Harold Sharp.

The first officers of the Chattanooga Bass Club. Pinned to Harold Sharp’s shirt is the first B.A.S.S. patch ever handed out. It now resides in Ray Scott’s office in Alabama. Photo courtesy of Harold Sharp.

[Editor’s Note: Harold Sharp sent me an email regarding a post we made that had a picture of Stan Sloan holding a limit of fish. I initially said the picture was from the first Ray Scott event at Beaver but Harold told me that caption was wrong. He attached a picture of the first B.A.S.S. patch to the email and gave us this story. Reading stories like this makes me think of a few things. First, it’s nice to know the history of the sport. Next it helps me understand how much work Ray Scott, Harold Sharp, Bob Cobb and all the others had to do to get B.A.S.S. started, and third it makes me mad when greenies say that sportsman only hurt the environment. I hope you enjoy reading about our past.]

In June of 1967, I read a small announcement in the Chattanooga Times morning paper about a bass fishing tournament to be held on Beaver Lake, AR. It listed the name of Bob Treadway from Chattanooga that was fishing the tournament, so I looked Bob up in the phone book and gave him a call. He was operating a small grocery nearby so I drove over to ask him some questions about the bass tournament. [Read more…]

A Look Back at Classic V – Booze, Nets and a Hit and Run

Harold SharpOver the years when I was the Tournament Director for Bassmaster, a number of funny things happened. Here are three stories that are associated with Classic V at the Currituck Sound in North Carolina.

The fifth BASS Classic was another secret location and we selected Currituck Sound in North Carolina. I contacted an old friend, Charlie Shaw, and swore him to secrecy about us holding the event there. Charlie knew who to contact to get things done plus he fished the sound. [Read more…]

A Picture and a Joke on Bo

Some of the Classic I contestants. Photo courtesy of Harold Sharp.

This may qualify as an interesting photo. Ray Scott invited all the first Classic contestants and three outdoor writers who were there to the 1995 Classic for a reunion. It was a great time to see all those faces again.

Looking at this picture, though, reminded me of a good story. As you know, each of the anglers at the early Classics were restricted by the weight of tackle they could bring. We made a huge deal of it by having a weigh-in for their tackle and if an angler was over in weight, Ray and I got to pick out anything we wanted until their tackle box made the weight limit. [Read more…]

Bass Master Classic 1984 – Future Presidents and a Secret Service Dude

[Editor’s Note: Yesterday Brian talked about the ’84 Classic and how ironic and coincidental it was to have two presidents on the weigh-in stage when Rick Clunn won his third Classic. Well today Harold Sharp reflects back on that Classic and how they ended up on the Arkansas River and some interesting things that happened during the weigh-in.]

Setting up a BASS Master Classic isn’t an easy task by any means. It takes time as venues must be found and then agreed upon by BASS and the host city. While I was at BASS, I would start setting up the following year’s Classic at least a year in advance. The 1984 Classic was no different. [Read more…]

The Best Times

I thought you all might like to hear a little bit about how we used to schedule events back when I was the Tournament Director for B.A.S.S. We didn’t just schedule events on weeks that were available, there was a method to my madness.

When I first started fishing I would always see a piece published in the sport magazines and local papers titled, “Best Fishing Times.” I always wondered if it was valid and how someone could determine the best times from the worst or if there was such a thing.

Years after this, after we organized the Chattanooga Bass Club, and started fishing tournaments, I again wondered about the “Best Fishing Times” and set out to prove or disprove them altogether. [Read more…]

Bass Master Classic III – This Ain’t Mutual of Omaha

Just like the prior two Bass Master Classics, the third Classic was also a secret. This time, though, we were heading to Clarks Hill Lake on the Georgia/South Carolina border.

We were going to stay on the South Carolina side of the lake and had set up to use a new resort, Hickory Knob Resort, that was just being completed. Prior to the event, we made a trip to the resort to check it out.

The resort was located a long way from any town and a new road had been cut through the pine forest in order to reach it. Once we got there we noticed that the place had a very large barn and some smaller buildings located behind it that would be perfect for hiding the boats during their assembly. [Read more…]

The St John’s River ’73 – A Pool Full of 10s

The first part of the 1973 B.A.S.S. tournament season was posted last week and it brought back some good memories for me. One I had was all the big fish that were weighed in that event, something we hadn’t experienced yet in a B.A.S.S. tournament. Here’s the story.

We had the weigh-in set up at an old resort on the banks of the St John’s in Palatka, FL. The resort was closing down and they were staying open just long enough for us to finish thee tournament. We were actually set up alongside an old swimming pool.

Like I said, we weren’t used to seeing all these huge bass so when an angler came up with one, we’d weigh it and then release the big fish into the pool and put the smaller ones back in the river. [Read more…]

Bass Master Classic II – Railcars and String Busters

Last time I told you a couple of stories about the first Bass Master Classic held at Lake Mead in Nevada. Now, I’ll let you know about a couple of things that happened during and shortly after the second Classic. I hope you enjoy the story.

The second Bass Master Classic was to be held on Percy Priest Reservoir near Nashville, TN. Before we could commit, though, we had to see if Nashville was interested in holding the event. We called the Chamber of Commerce and they were definitely interested. At this point we had an event location now they had to commit to total secrecy as the second Classic, too, would be a secret until the last minute.

Once Nashville committed to both the location and to secrecy, we arranged a trip for me to head over and meet with our contact to look at the launch, pick out a host hotel and try to find a warehouse in order to rig the boats and store them out of sight.

Ranger Boats was back in business and would be the official Classic boat. But there was a problem – we had two Classic contenders that were from Nashville and we had to make sure they didn’t get wind we were going there. [Read more…]

Bass Master Classic I – A Little Snow and a Broken Rebel

As many know, the Bass Anglers Sportsman Society was founded shortly after the 1967 Beaver Lake Invitational. By 1970, the organization had been around for three years and the newness was quickly wearing off and membership was slowing down. With the need to continue the growth of the “Society,” Ray (Scott) and Bob Cobb came up with the idea to hold what would be the world championship of bass fishing and hopefully get the press talking about B.A.S.S. The idea was to hold a tournament with only the best anglers taken from the year’s standings and have them fish for a winner-takes-all purse.

In order to add a bit of mystery to the event, it was decided that the event locale wouldn’t be divulged until the last minute, when all qualified anglers were held captive. There would also be members of the press invited to the event to not only write about it but to fish with the pros each day. [Read more…]

The First Drive-Through Bass Master Classic Weigh-In

[Editor’s Note: Since starting this site, I have been blessed by numerous people sending me ideas for articles about things that are relevant to the history of bass fishing. One of these people is none other than the first Bass Master Tournament Director, Harold Sharp. Harold, as you may well know, is an encyclopedia when it comes to the history of BASS (with or without periods) and all bass fishing. Harold has been an integral part of this site already, always there for me to bounce ideas off of or to proof an article before it gets published.

Recently after reading the series on the 1971 Bass Master Tournament Trail, Harold sent me an email documenting how the first drive-through weigh-in came about. Here are his words on that historic event.]

The first Bass Master Classics were all secret events where the anglers, media, no one knew the location. The boats were trucked to the event site, in the dead of night, so no one would be tipped off, and then were stored prior to the event. [Read more…]