Season at a Glance: 1971 Bassmaster Trail – Part Two

John Powell hefts a 40-pound Sam Rayburn string that took him to his second win in a row. Photo Bassmaster Magazine Sept/Oct 1971.

This is part two of a three-part series on the 1971 Bassmaster Tournament Trail. To read part one, click here.

A brief look at the standings from the first two events, as shown in part one of this article, reveals what could possibly be a significant omission – Bill Dance, the 1970 Angler of the Year winner and the guy who’d won more B.A.S.S. events and money than any other angler – is absent from the standings. This is significant because tournament fans all over at the time were looking for another Dance, Mann and Martin showdown. Unfortunately for Dance, and possibly fortunate for Roland Martin, he had just started his famed fishing show, “Bill Dance Outdoors,” and would not make any of the events slated during the ’71 season.

The third event of the season found 134 anglers at Sam Rayburn where again, John Powell would finish in the top spot. Powell, started the event off slowly with only two fish but made an amazing come-from-behind finish with a 10-fish, 40-pound string on the final day. His 3-day total went 61 pounds for 18 fish (10-bass per day limit). Martin finished in second place with a 30-fish limit that weighed just over 58 pounds.

In the race for the AOY standings, Martin (96 points) slipped ahead of Mann (95 points) with one event left before the Bass Masters Classic.

One of the interesting facts about the Rayburn tournament was that Powell and Martin caught their fish deep – 20- to 40-feet deep – to the amazement of everyone, even Powell.

An excerpt from the tournament report: “Why shoot, I’d never caught a bass 25-feet deep in my life,” claimed Powell. “And a lot of times I haven’t had 45 feet of line on my reel.”

Although this was Powell’s second win in a row for the ’71 season, it wasn’t the first time an angler had won back-to-back on the Bassmaster Trail. Bill Dance had already accomplished this feat twice, once in the ’68 season (Rayburn and Smith Lake) and again in 1970 (Rayburn and Table Rock). I’m thinking there were a lot of folks fishing this event that were happy Dance hadn’t shown up for this tournament.

The top 25 for the Sam Rayburn tournament are presented below.

Sam Rayburn Texas National
Place
Angler
State
Points
Award, $
1
John Powell
AL
9,820
$3,000
2
Roland Martin
AL
9,290
$1,000
3
Joe Kennedy
TX
7,920
$500
4
Wallace Lea
MO
7,360
$350
5
Pat McGowan
TX
7,140
$300
6
Tom Mann
AL
7,020
$250
7
Ray Beall
TX
6,010
$200
8
Don Butler
OK
5,910
$165
9
Paul Beauchamp
TX
5,900
$160
10
Gene Miller
AR
5,550
$150
11
Jerry Bishop
GA
5,500
$150
12
Carlos Mayo
AR
5,490
$150
13
Rayborn Waits
TX
5,460
$150
14
Dave Jadwin
MO
5,150
$150
15
J. D. Gray
GA
4,970
$150
16
Fred Brist
TN
4,910
$135
17
Kay Coger
AR
4,830
$135
18
Don Hawkins
TX
4,800
$135
19
Weldon Wilkerson
MO
4,790
$135
20
Grover Davis
TX
4,720
$135
21
Emmett Chiles
AR
4,620
$125
22
Bill Robinson
TX
4,480
$125
23
Charles Redding
GA
4,450
$125
24
Gene Mays
TX
4,410
$125
25
Clarence Steward
TX
4,370
$125

The fourth and final event of the year, the All-American at Ross Barnett, would crown the second Bassmaster AOY (as it later would be called) and also determine who would get to go to the first Bassmaster Classic.

Roland Martin admires his first-place trophy after winning the final Bassmaster Trail event at Ross Barnett. This win cemented his first of nine AOY titles, which is still a record. Photo Bassmaster magazine Nov/Dec 1971.

Over the first two days, George Oates of Tennessee was in the leader’s seat with 49-03 with Roland Martin a little over a pound out of the lead. As it would turn out, Martin would have to change tactics in order to win his second Bassmaster event.

Martin’s fish the first two days came on a spoon with a worm trailer fished in a weedbed 1/4 mile above the marina. He caught 27 fish on that combo the first two days. Here are his remarks from the tournament report.

“I’d been fishing in Florida before the All-American and left a spoon with a plastic worm trailer tied on a rod,” Martin said. “The first practice day on Ross Barnett, I just routinely made a cast with the lure. There was a six-pounder waiting for it and gave me the pattern for my bigger tournament fish.

First thing in the final round he went to the spot, where in the first two days had yielded a quick limit of fish, only to find the area “dried up.” After three hours of casting, he abandoned the spot and went to another area where he saw breaking fish. He quickly filled out his limit casting a Mann’s Little George. Martin was able to bring in a 14-pound bag and overtook the lead for his second Bassmaster win.

When was the last time you heard of anyone winning an event on either of these lures?

Oates came in second  and reported catching all of his fish on a green plastic worm. Tom Mann, made a valiant effort for the AOY award but ended up in third place. The final standing are presented below for the top 25.

Ross Barnett All-American, September 30 through October 2, 1971
Place
Angler
State
Points
Award, $
1
Roland Martin
AL
8,700
$3,000
2
George Oates
TN
7,870
$1,200
3
Tom Mann
AL
7,530
$600
4
Bob Ponds
MS
6,490
$450
5
Al St. Romain
LA
5,870
$400
6
Bobby Meador
LA
5,850
$350
7
Ray Gresham
AL
5,720
$300
8
Shorty Evans
MO
5,350
$265
9
Dennis Pope
KS
5,120
$260
10
Lee Schlimmer
CA
5,080
$250
11
Jack Jobe
MS
5,020
$250
12
Bobby Murray
AR
4,910
$250
13
Will Little
AL
4,840
$250
14
George Blackwell
MS
4,780
$250
15
Ted Reagle
WVA
4,740
$250
16
Wayne King
MS
4,490
$235
17
Troy Anderson
AR
4,470
$235
18
Drew Reese
MO
4,330
$235
19
John Powell
AL
4,310
$235
20
Rayborn Waits
TX
4,250
$235
21
Wallace Lea (tie)
MO
4,160
$175
21
Stan Sloan (tie)
TN
4,160
$175
23
Bill Beasley
MS
4,060
$175
24
Murph Murphree
MS
3,910
$175
25
Gene Woods
MS
3,730
$150
25
Dave Jadwin
MO
3,730
$150

With the win, Martin took home his first AOY award just edging out Mann by three points. The top 24 anglers that would go to the inaugural Bass Masters Classic are shown below.

Photo Bassmaster Magazine Nov/Dec 1971.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Part three will cover the first-ever Bassmasters Classic.

  • paul wallace

    Love your site and the info you have posted. I’ve come back everyday since I found this on bassfan..
    Thanks Paul

  • Thanks Paul for checking out the site! We’re happy you’re liking what we’re doing.

  • andrew litton

    Charles Redding is my grandfather just wondering if there is any archived pictures around?

  • Andrew, if there are, I don’t have any of them. If I come across any, I’ll be sure to let you know.

  • andrew litton

    Thank you, i was just going to make him a little scrap book type deal for his birthday and i know he had a write up in GON and wrote and article in B.A.S.S. for jigging spoons, but thanks i appreciate the fast reply!