Season at a Glance: 1970 Bassmaster Trail – Part Two

Bill Dance and Roland Martin awaiting the 1970 Angler of the Year determination. Photo January/February issue of Bassmaster Magazine.

Bill Dance and Roland Martin awaiting the 1970 Angler of the Year determination. Photo January/February issue of Bassmaster Magazine.

[Editor’s Note: This is part two of the 1970 Bassmaster Season at a Glance. To read part one, click here.]

In the first part of the 1970 Season at a Glance we covered the first three events of the season and also talked a bit about the new rookie on the tour, Roland Martin. Bill Dance had been the tour’s reigning champion since the inception of the Bass Anglers Sportsman Society with four Bassmaster wins to his credit between 1968 and ’69 and it was obvious that Martin had placed a target on his head when he came to play in 1970.

The season started at Toledo Bend in Texas where Martin quickly showed his dominance by placing second in his first-ever event. The second event saw the anglers move on to Lake Seminole in Georgia where Martin would come away the winner. The third event at Ross Barnett would be a different story, though. Martin missed the event, which would give Dance some breathing room. Dance ended up the victor of the tournament and by the end of three tournaments, Dance would be in the lead for the new Bassmaster Angler of the Year award by 7500 points.

That’s where things really started to get interesting.

Bill Adair strains over his stringer of bass that helped him win the Henshall Memorial. Photo Fall 1970 issue of Bassmaster Magazine.

Bill Adair strains over his stringer of bass that helped him win the Henshall Memorial. Photo Fall 1970 issue of Bassmaster Magazine.

Henshall Memorial – Adair Wins Martin Second

The fourth event of the 1970 season was the Henshall Memorial tournament was held on Walter F. George Lake (GA) or if you’re from Alabama, Lake Eufaula. It would be the third event held on the lake (not counting the Bassmaster Team event in November, 1969) and since the past year when Blake Honeycutt won with 138-06, anglers were chomping at the bit to fish.

Unfortunately heavy rains and high water prior to the tournament scattered the fish. The 108 anglers who entered would have their work cut out for them.

Bill Adair, though, found the fish in practice that would lead him to victory but things didn’t start out as he would have liked. Adair’s spot was located by a stump and he placed a marker on the spot for reference. Unfortunately when he came back on the first day of the tournament, he didn’t realize that his marker had floated about 100 yards off the spot. It took him two hours before he realized the mishap and when he did, he moved to the right spot and proceeded to boat 14 fish that weighed in at 22-12 – good enough for the 6th spot going into day two. Billy Lewis of Alabama was in the first position with 39-09.

Clark Gable with his big fish from the Henshall Memorial. Photo Fall 1970 issue of Bassmaster Magazine.

Clark Gable with his big fish from the Henshall Memorial. Photo Fall 1970 issue of Bassmaster Magazine.

With his spot confirmed, Adair set out on day two to redeem himself. By the end of the day he’d boated 13 fish that pushed the scales down to 64-14, topped by an 8-01 largemouth, giving him the lead with 87-10. The next day Adair added another 28-12 to win the event with 116-06.

Roland Martin was still giving Bill Dance a run and placed second with 94-07, while Bassmaster veteran John Powell took home the third spot with 93-06. Kentucky angler Ralph Polly took home fourth place with 85-04 and Texas football player Harold Hays rounded out the top 5 with 80-11.

Adair’s fish all came on plastic worms and cemented the soft bait as the number-one lure in Bassmaster competition. Bassmaster Magazine stated that, “In 18 tournaments some 47,000 pounds of bass have been weighed-in with over 41,000 falling victim to plastic worm fishermen.”

In the non-pro division, J. S. (Shy) Powell of Georgia took top honors with 104-06. Had he fished the pro division he’d have placed second. Second place in the non-pro division was Larry Blakey (GA) with 61-04 and third place went to Wyndell Black (GA) with 56-08. The fourth spot went to H. W. Settles (GA) with 47-06 and Jim Hefner (KY) rounded out the top 5 with 37-05.

In all 1,208 bass were weighed in for 2,940-02. Although this was one of the best “big fish action contests” to date, there were only five full limits weighed in. Clark Gable caught the big bass of the event, a 9-07 largemouth, and received $10 per pound plus a Motor Guide trolling motor.

For the top 20 see the table below.

1970 Bassmaster Henshall Memorial Walter F. George Lake (Eufaula) Final Rersults
Place
Angler, State
Points (10 Pts/oz)
Weight, lbs-oz
1
Bill Adair, TN
18620
116-06
2
Roland Martin, SC
15110
94-07
3
John Powell, AL
14940
93-06
4
Ralph Polly, KY
13640
85-04
5
Harold Hays, TX
12910
80-11
6
Billy Lewis, AL
11330
70-13
7
Bobby Murray, AR
11320
70-12
8
Rhodney Honeycutt, NC
10480
65-08
9
Charles Ray, AR
9610
60-01
10
Blake Honeycutt, NC
9540
59-10
11
Butch Deneke, AL
8020
50-02
12
Earl Williamson, OH
7730
48-05
13
Emmett Chiles, AR
7630
47-11
14
Ed French, GA
7600
47-08
15
Curt Van Velkinburgh, KY
7490
46-13
16
J. D. Gray, GA
7430
46-07
17
Conley Todd, TX
7380
46-02
18
Pete Henson, GA
7370
46-01
19
R. J. Bishop, GA
6820
42-10
20
Lawrence Williams, OK
6780
42-06
John Hadad III received his 1st-place trophy from Oklahoma Lieutenant Governor George Nigh. Photo Fall 1970 issue of Bassmaster Magazine.

John Hadad III received his 1st-place trophy from Oklahoma Lieutenant Governor George Nigh. Photo Fall 1970 issue of Bassmaster Magazine.

Oklahoma National – Hadad Tricks Them

The fifth event of the 1970 season was held for the first time at Oklahoma’s Lake Eufaula. Temperatures reached well past the 100-degree lark at the event and nearly all of the 110 contestants swore the winning fish would be caught in deep water. John Hadad III’s opinion would differ, though.

Hadad won the event by nearly 13 pounds (29 fish for 82-15) fishing a plastic worm in 5 to 7 feet of water. He concentrated on stick ups and brush he’d located on a ridge along the North Canadian River channel. His technique was to make fast casts to the stick ups, peel line off his reel so the bait would sink vertically and then wait for the line to move or jump. It was reported he made 3 to 5 casts a minute.

Another interesting thing about Hadad’s victory was his practice technique. He reportedly practiced for five days and during that time used a plastic worm without a hook.

“I’d just let the bass chew on the worm, jerk it away, and mark the spot to come back when the tournament gun fired.”

Sports Afield editor Homer Circle takes a picture of Tommy Payne's big fish from the Oklahoma National. Photo Fall issue of Bassmaster Magazine.

Sports Afield editor Homer Circle takes a picture of Tommy Payne’s big fish from the Oklahoma National. Photo Fall issue of Bassmaster Magazine.

That was pretty advanced thinking for back then and that technique is widely used in today’s competitive fishing.

The 2nd-place angler was Oklahoma resident Don Siebert with 20 bass that weighed 68-00. He also caught his fish on plastic worms. Third-place went to another Oklahoman, Ron Hagler with 67-04 and the fourth spot went to John Dixon (OK) with 62.-01. Al St. Romain (LA) filled out the top 5 with 51-09.

The heat really made the conditions difficult and the total tally proved that. Overall, the 110 pro and non-pro anglers weighed in 834 bass for 1,788-07. Big fish of the event went to Tommy Payne and Wes Woosley who both weighed in a 5-15 largemouth.

In the non-pro division, Butch Stevenson (OK) took top honors with 20 bass that weighed 43-01. Gerald Maxwell (OK) weighed in 30-06, good enough for 2nd place and 14-year-old Chip Morris (GA) took 3rd place with 23-07. In the fourth spot was possibly the youngest angler to ever compete in a Bassmaster event, 13-year-old Greg Dorris (OK), who weighed in 22-15. David Lockhart (AL) rounded out the top 5 with 21-06.
The top 20 of the pro division are shown in the table below.

1970 Bassmaster Oklahoma National Lake Eufaula Final Results
Place
Angler, State
Points (10 Pts/oz)
Weight, lbs-oz
1
John Hadad III, MS
13270
82-15
2
Don Siebert, OK
10880
68-00
3
Ron Hagler, OK
10760
67-04
4
John Dixon, OK
9930
62-01
5
Al St. Romain, LA
8250
51-09
6
Brad Luckett, OK
7560
47-13
7
Ed Todtenbier, MO
6890
43-01
8
Bill Dance, TN
6840
42-12
9
Jerry Johnston, MS
6080
38-00
10
Jerry Wiedenmann, LA
5890
36-13
11
Weldon Wilkerson, MO
5690
35-09
12
Phil Wiedenmann, OK
5640
35-04
13
Jimmy Houston, OK
5230
32-11
14
Tommy Salisbury, SC
4950
30-15
15
Roy Self, OK
4930
30-13
16
Roland Martin, OK
4420
27-10
17
Joe Wells, OK
4190
26-03
18
Ricky Green, AR
4090
25-09
19
Ron Bobrow, KY
4080
25-08
20
Lou Matlock, TX
4030
25-03
Bill Dance poses with his 1st-place trophy and fish from the Sam Rayburn event. Photo January/February issue of Bassmaster Magazine.

Bill Dance poses with his 1st-place trophy and fish from the Sam Rayburn event. Photo January/February issue of Bassmaster Magazine.

Sam Rayburn – Dance Again

By the 1970 tournament season there was only one angler in the history of B.A.S.S. that had won more than one tournament in a season and that angler was Bill Dance. In 1968 Dance won three events – Ross Barnett, Sam Rayburn and Smith Lake (AL). In 1970 Dance had already won the Ross Barnett tournament, would he be able to win again on old Sam Rayburn?

As had happened throughout the 1970 season, bad weather hurt Sam Rayburn’s famed fishing. Wind and rain kept the fish count down to 1,379 bass and only five limits were weighed for the entire event.

Still over the course of three days Dance was able to haul in 22 fish that tipped the scales 62-06, giving him his 6th career win with B.A.S.S. It also gave him two wins on Rayburn out of three contests. Dance caught over half of his fish (12) and nearly half of his weight (30-06) on the last day of the event and jumped from 5th place in the standings to winner. He reported catching his fish on purple plastic worms fished along a drop located on the Angelina River channel. His fish came from 27 to 45 feet of water.

Blake Honeycutt finished in 2nd place by jigging Hopkins spoons over deep water. Photo January/February issue of Bassmaster Magazine.

Blake Honeycutt finished in 2nd place by jigging Hopkins spoons over deep water. Photo January/February issue of Bassmaster Magazine.

Veteran B.A.S.S. angler Blake Honeycutt (NC) weighed in 38 fish for 57-02, while Jimmy Harris (MS) took 3rd-place honors with 55-01. Charles LeFevor (TN) weighed in 54-02 for 4th-place and Roland Martin (SC) rounded out the top 5 with 52-12. Honeycutt reported that he caught his fish on drop offs by vertically jigging Hopkins spoons.

Elroy Krueger (TX) weighed in the big bass of the event, a 7-05 largemouth, which netted him $80 and a new Motor Guide trolling motor. There was no report on the non-pro division so I am not sure if it was dropped after the Oklahoma National or what.

The top 20 are presented below.

1970 Bassmaster Texas Invitational Sam Rayburn Final Results
Place
Angler, State
Points (10 Pts/oz)
Weight, lbs-oz
1
Bill Dance, TN
9980
62-06
2
Blake Honeycutt, NC
9140
57-02
3
Jimmy Harris, MS
8810
55-01
4
Charles LeFevor, TN
8660
54-02
5
Roland Martin, SC
8440
52-12
6
J. D. Gray, GA
8430
52-11
7
Clark Taylor, LA
6670
41-11
8
Ray Murski, TX
6650
41-09
9
Pete Henson, GA
6170
38-09
10
Crosby Simmons, MS
6120
38-04
11
Fred Miles, MS
6100
38-02
12
Billy Primos, MS
6070
37-15
13
Lanny Verner, TX
5980
37-06
14
G. G. Gale, TX
5940
37-02
15
Jack Price, TX
5900
36-14
16
Joe Kennedy, TX
5810
36-05
17
Dave Jadwin, MO
5680
35-08
18
Rayburn Waits, TX
5660
35-06
19
Bill Garland, TX
5510
34-07
20
Elroy Krueger, TX
5410
33-13
Anglers try to retrieve a sunken bass boat at the 1970 All-American event held on Table Rock Reservoir. Photo January/February issue of Bassmaster Magazine.

Anglers try to retrieve a sunken bass boat at the 1970 All-American event held on Table Rock Reservoir. Photo January/February issue of Bassmaster Magazine.

All-American – 3-Peat

For the final event of the year B.A.S.S. ventured to a lake never before fished by the Bassmasters – Table Rock Reservoir out of Kimberling City, Missouri. The last event on the Trail would greet anglers with more than adverse weather. High winds swamped at least one boat and the cold November weather was less than ideal.

In the end, it was a two-horse race between Roland Martin and Bill Dance – not just for the tournament win but for the first Angler of the Year award. It came down to the last day.

Going into the final round Martin had a 6-06 advantage over Dance. It looked like Martin would become only the second angler in B.A.S.S. history to win more than one event in a season. Martin was first to weigh in with six fish that topped the scales to 11-05, giving him 51-15 total. Then Dance came to the scales with nine fish that weighed 18-02 totaling 52-06. Dance won by a mere 7 ounces.

For those of you who actually check my math, you might have noticed that over the course of seven events, Martin had more weight (points) than did Dance. Still Dance was crowned the first Angler of the Year. It’s a bit confusing from reading the 1970 and ‘71 Bassmaster Magazines as in the Jan/Feb issue the author (assumed to be Bob Cobb) specifically states, “A victory would give either the point championship.” It’s obvious from the math that Martin should have been the AOY but in another part of the article it states Dance won based on money earned ($6,635 to Martin’s $5,689) that year. In any event we have Harold Sharp working on this to straighten it up.

The 3rd-place angler was local Jimmy Winchester (AR) who weighed in 39-06 and another local, Dave Livingston (MO) captured the 4th spot with 36-13. Veteran angler Tom Mann of Alabama rounded out the top 5 with 36-03.

Alabama angler Dennis Townsend weighed in big fish for the event, a 7-13 largemouth. In all 97 anglers caught 661 bass – a testament to how tough the event was.

An interesting fact of this tournament was Dance and Martin practiced together prior to the start gun. Each also reported that they caught their fish on yellow singlespins – a lure that Martin had showed Dance in practice – around brush in 2 to 5 feet of water. Dance said that everyone expected the fish to be deeper but the cloudy conditions kept the fish shallow in the flooded brush.

The top 20 for the tournament are listed in the table below.

1970 Bassmaster All-American Table Rock Reservoir Final Results
Place
Angler, State
Points (10 Pts/oz)
Weight, lbs-oz
1
Bill Dance, TN
8380
52-06
2
Roland Martin, SC
8310
51-15
3
Jimmy Winchester, AR
6300
39-06
4
Dave Livingston, MO
5890
36-13
5
Tom Mann, AL
5790
36-03
6
Paul Wagaman, MO
4950
30-15
7
Weldon Wilkerson, MO
4950
30-15
8
Butch Stevenson, OK
4350
27-03
9
Dennis Townsend, AL
4210
26-05
10
Shorty Evans, MO
3780
23-10
11
John Reed, OK
3450
21-09
12
Marvin Miller, IA
3410
21-05
13
Benny Meadows, AL
3350
20-15
14
Drew Reese, MO
3330
20-13
15
Kim Whitaker, AR
3310
20-11
16
Al Lindner, MN
3220
20-02
17
John Beardon, MO
3110
19-07
18
Mike Miller, MO
3050
19-01
19
Ed Todtenbier, MO
3040
19-00
20
Ike Dunlap, FL
2960
18-08

Editor’s Note: If there is anyone out there who owns the 1968 and 1969 issues of Bassmaster Magazine please contact us. We would like to continue the Season at a Glance pieces by doing those years and currently we don’t have complete sets of those volumes.