Season at a Glance: 1973 Bass Master Trail – Part Two

Photo May/June 1973 issue Bass Master Magazine.

This is Part Two of a three-part series on the 1973 Bass Master Tournament Trail. To read Part One click here.

The second half of the ’73 season saw Roland Martin with a comfortable lead in the AOY points after three events. This was the time, though, where the other anglers had to do all they could to guarantee themselves a spot in the 3rd Annual Bass Master Classic.

Analysis

With the season half over, Roland Martin continued his dominance over the competition. It seemed the last two seasons, anglers were fishing for the second spot in the AOY race and 1973 wasn’t any different. By the end of the Rebel Invitational at Ross Barnett, Martin had extended his six-point lead to 23 points. At this time in his career, he’d fished 21 B.A.S.S. events placing in the top-10 19 times and the top-5 18 times. He’d placed second eight times and won a total of five events – second only to Bill Dance who had won seven.

It seemed at the time the only people keeping Martin honest were Stan Sloan and Tom Mann. Bill Dance would have been another but by this time he was moving further and further away from tournament fishing and dedicating more time to his TV show. Still every time Dance showed up at an event he was a favorite to win. Even after missing the first event of the year, Dance was in eighth place for the AOY. The table below shows the AOY standings at this point in the 1973 season.

1973 Angler of the Year Standings After Three Events
Place
Angler, State
Points
1
Roland Martin, OK
145
2
Tom Mann, AL
122
3
Johnny Morris, MO
122
4
Stan Sloan, TN
122
5
Rayo Breckenridge, AR
99
6
Wallace Lea, MO
82
7
David Lockhart, AL
80
8
Bill Dance, TN
76
9
Emmett Chiles, AR
71
10
Larry Hill, NC
71
11
Billy Westmorland, TN
70
12
Cecil Walters, GA
67
13
Ernest Neil, MS
66
14
Lloyd McEntire, IN
63
15
Jim Rogers, MO
60
16
Russell Cook, MO
58
17
Gerald Blanchard, TN
56
18
Gene Pendley, GA
55
19
Larry Hummel, MO
54
20
Frank Heath, VA
51
21
Don Butler, OK
50
22
Andy Williams, AL
49
23
Bobby Murray, MO
49
24
Don Mead, MO
48

It should be noted that a change in the point system was introduced at the beginning of 1973. Points would be given down to 50th place instead of only 35th place as had been done in the past. This meant a win was worth 50 points, second place worth 49, etc.

Seminole Lunker Tournament – Can Martin be Beat?

The Seminole tournament would be another one for the record books. Roland Martin became the third angler to win back-to-back tournaments in a season. Prior to him were John Powell in 1971 and Bill Dance in 1970. The win pushed him 28 points into the lead for AOY and made it four top-5 finishes in a row. It was also his sixth win – one behind Bill Dance.

Martin not only weighed in 54-10 for first-place honors, he also weighed the biggest fish of the event, a 10-03 beast that netted him a $2,000 Ranger TR-3 boat and trailer.

Larry Blakey held down the second spot with a total of 52-10 and Billy Westmorland placed third with 52-07.

Unfortunately there was no report on how the anglers caught their fish. The table below shows the top-25 for the event.

1973 Lake Seminole Lunker Tournament Final Standings
Place
Angler, State
Weight, lbs-oz
1
Roland Martin, OK
54-14
2
Larry Blakey, AL
52-10
3
Billy Westmorland, TN
52-07
4
Walter Cole, GA
50-08
5
Stan Sloan, TN
49-02
6
Ray Gresham, AL
44-00
7
J. B. Warren, AR
43-04
8
Tom Mann, AL
43-04
9
Charlie Stevens, NC
41-03
10
George Ridings, KY
37-04
11
Hugh Massey, KY
37-02
12
Wallace Lea, MO
36-11
13
Ron Bobrow, KY
35-05
14
Don Norton, MS
34-15
15
Junior Collis, GA
34-08
16
Vance Bradley, TN
34-05
17
Andy Sceurman, OH (tie)
34-00
17
Glin Wells, TN (tie)
34-00
19
Pete Nosser, MS
33-15
20
Lavoid Hughes, GA
32-15
21
Bobby Murray, AR
32-10
22
Julian Danielly, GA
32-07
23
Jerry Pankey, FL
32-02
24
Blackie Shelton, MS
32-02
25
Reece Morrison, TX
31-09

Carolina Invitational – Records Fall at Keowee

Junior Collis, winner of the Carolina Invitational at Keowee. Photo Nov/Dec 1973 issue of Bass Master Magazine.

Touted, “the toughest tournament in B.A.S.S. history,” Lake Keowee didn’t give any angler any favors. And, although a number of records were set at the event, these weren’t the type of records one would want any part of.

First off, the event drew 162 anglers and in three days they boated a dismal 261 bass that weighed 761-03. Although the number of fish caught was a record low, the average weight was actually the highest ever recorded at the time for a B.A.S.S. event – nearly 3-pounds per fish.

Junior Collis of Georgia won the event with a total of six fish over three days that weighed a total of 23-15. He took a commanding lead on the first day when he weighed four fish for over 17 pounds. On the second day he blanked opening the door for Dwight Howell to take the lead with a two-day total of 20 pounds. But in the final round Collis was able to scrounge up two fish for over 6 pounds – enough for the win. Collis became the first angler to win an event after blanking one of the tournament days.

Dwight Howell ended up in second with 22-15 while Stan Sloan weighed in a total of 19-02 for third place. For his fifth event in a row, Roland Martin finished in the top-5 securing fourth place with 16-04. Ernest Neil of Mississippi would round out the top 5 with 15-13.

Bobby Meador had big fish honors with a monster that weighed 10-07 while Junior Collis and Stan Sloan took second and third big fish with bass weighing 9-09 and 8-06 respectively.

The top 25 results are shown in the table below.

1973 Carolina Invitational Lake Keowee Final Standings
Place
Angler, State
Weight, lbs-oz
1
Junior Collis, GA
23-15
2
Dwight Howell, NC
22-15
3
Stan Sloan, TN
19-02
4
Roland Martin, OK
16-04
5
Emmett Neil, MS
15-13
6
Billy Burns, KY
14-15
7
Hubert Green, NC
14-07
8
David Lockhart, AL
13-07
9
Ray Holman, GA
13-05
10
Jack Rogers, NC
13-04
11
Bobby Meador, LA
13-03
12
Bobby Murray, AR
12-15
13
Kenneth Orr, NC
12-08
14
Teddy Harger, LA
11-09
15
John Rogers, NC
11-06
16
Wade Singleton, VA
11-05
17
Charlie Gillispie, SC
10-13
18
Larry Kirk, NC
10-11
19
Ricky Green, AR
10-09
20
Greg Ward, MO
10-05
21
Paul Chamblee, NC
10-04
22
Ken Taylor, TN
10-03
23
Eddie Withrow, GA
10-03
24
James Morgan, SC
9-08
25
Everett English, NC
9-05

Watts Bar – Martin Wins Third Angler of the Year Award

Contestants thought Keowee was tough when it took only 23-15 to win the three-day Carolina Invitational earlier in the year. Well, Watts Bar turned out to be even tougher. Out of the 179 anglers that showed for the event, only 517 bass were weighed in three days. That’s less than one fish per angler per day.

Again, Roland Martin took the win for the third time that year. His ten fish over the course of the event weighed 21-06 and broke the record Junior Collis set only a few months prior for smallest winning weight. With the win, he tied Bill Dance for the angler with the most B.A.S.S. wins and he won his third Bass Master Angler of the Year award – his third in three years.

Martin reported that he caught six of his ten bass on a four-inch watermelon grub and leadhead. He worked the bait in 20 to 30 feet of water off of steep drops along the main river channel. His money fish, a 6-06, was reported to come off a Big-E crankbait, “a version of a hand-carved balsa wood lure originated in eastern Tennessee.” [It didn’t take long even back then for people to knock off a good idea.]

Ricky Green weighed in 21-01 using a 3/8-ounce chartreuse Okiebug spinner bait and a Big-O in the backs of coves and, “where ever he could find brush.”

Andy Sceurman took the third spot with 18-14 and had the events big fish at 7-01. His big fish won him the $2,000 Ranger boat package.

Another interesting fact, one that Harold Sharp talked about a week or so ago in a comment posted in Pete’s Box Score, was Roland Martin and another angler named Robert Smith had to perform a cast-off in order to determine the tie breaker for the daily big bass award. Both weighed 6-06 bass in on the same day. Martin won the cast-off and the $750 associated with the daily big bass award.  Smith took home $250 for his efforts.

The top-25 results for the event are shown in the table below.

1973 All-American Watts Bar Final Results
Place
Angler, State
Weight, lbs-oz
1
Roland Martin, OK
21-06
2
Ricky Green, AR
21-01
3
Andy Sceurman, OH
18-14
4
Larry Hill, NC
18-07
5
Billy Westmorland, TN
15-00
6
Bill Dance, TN
14-14
7
Marion Tipton, TN
14-14
8
Frank Drose, SC
14-07
9
Darrell McConkey, TN
14-03
10
J. A. Hixson, TN
13-13
11
Billy Joe (BJ) Hall, TN
13-01
12
Elmer Pickens, TN
12-11
13
Robert Smith, OH
12-08
14
Bobby Murray, AR
12-05
15
David Carroll, TN
12-04
16
Glynn West, TN
11-15
17
James Poole, TN
11-07
18
Glin Wells, TN
11-02
19
Jerry Williams, AR
11-01
20
Larry McCuiston, TN
10-13
21
Hugh Massey, KY
10-10
22
Robert Bowman, VA
10-05
23
Herbert (Bert) Siniard, TN
10-04
24
Don Norton, MS
10-02
25
Tom Mann, AL
9-10

This event also determined the 24 anglers who would participate in the 1973 Bass Master Classic to be held a month later. Below are the anglers who qualified to fish the Classic.

1973 Bass Master Classic Qualifiers
Place
Angler, State
Points
1
Roland Martin, OK
292
2
Stan Sloan, TN
216
3
Tom Mann, AL
191
4
Billy Westmorland, TN
164
5
Bobby Murray, AR
155
6
David Lockhart, AL
147
7
Bill Dance, TN
140
8
Glin Wells, TN
136
9
Ernest Neil, MS
132
10
Ricky Green, AR
122
11
Wallace Lea, MO
122
12
Johnny Morris, MO
122
13
Larry Hill, NC
118
14
Rayo Breckenridge, AR
113
15
Bobby Meador, LA
97
16
Don Mead, MO
91
17
Don Norton, MS
89
18
Russell Cook, MO
87
19
Junior Collis, GA
86
20
Hugh Massey, KY
86
21
J. B. Warren, AR
85
22
Andy Sceurman, OH
82
23
Jerry Williams, AR
79
24
Andy Williams, AL
78
25
Ray Gresham, AL (Alternate)
76

 

In Part Three of this series, we will cover the 3rd Bass Master Classic. There will also be a special report on the significance of the 1973 season and how Roland Martin was breaking records and setting new ones.

  • cc

    I always thought that winning a really tough event with low catch rates and weights was a better indicator of skill than a wide open event where a (lucky) kicker fish or two determined the winner.
    Of course, it doesn’t make for good pictures and advertising.