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.
|J. D. Gray|
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.
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.
|Al St. Romain|
|Wallace Lea (tie)|
|Stan Sloan (tie)|
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.
Part three will cover the first-ever Bassmasters Classic.