Season at a Glance: 1975 Bassmaster Trail – Part Two

Woo Daves wins the 1975 Virginia Invitational at Kerr. Rendering Sept/Oct 1975 Issue of Bassmaster Magazine

Woo Daves wins the 1975 Virginia Invitational at Kerr. Rendering Sept/Oct 1975 Issue of Bassmaster Magazine

This is part two of a three-part series on the 1975 Bassmaster tournament trail. To read part one, click here.

With the season half over anglers were starting to jockey for the 24 spots allocated for the 1975 Bassmaster Classic. Already in the event were Billy Westmorland, Marvin Baker and Dee Thomas for wining the Florida, Louisiana and Arkansas Invitationals respectively.

At this point, Jack Hains had a pretty commanding lead for AOY with 126 points. In second place was Ricky Green with 104 points and Bill Dance brought up the third spot with 99 points.

The difficulty with determining points other than from Bassmaster Magazine is the way the fly-rod only events were counted. It’s difficult to determine from Bassmaster whether or not they gave 15 points to each angler or if the only gave points to 15 anglers – 15 points for 1st, 14 for 2nd and so on. Therefore, points in Part One of this article may be a little scewed. Thankfully Bassmaster lists the top 50 in the AOY points race after the South Carolina Invitational – which will be shown later.

Virginia Invitational – Woo Woo!

The fourth stop on the 1975 Bassmaster Trail found the anglers at Virginia’s Kerr Reservoir – also know to North Carolina residents as Buggs Island. The year before Don Shealy came out of nowhere to capture the win from Roland Martin, Bill Dance and Ricky Green. He not only bested three of Bassmaster’s stars in his first pro event, he did it in an unconventional manner – with a spincast reel and a split-shotted worm.

This year, though, Shealy wouldn’t even make the points list. Instead a gentleman from southern Virginia would finally get his due after a couple of failed Bassmaster attempts.

That angler was Woo Daves.

Here are some of the words that Bob Cobb used to describe the event.

“The $23,000 Virginia Invitational at Kerr Reservoir, May 7-9, had more plots than a CIA Senate hearing.”

“Daves grew up on Kerr where his folks operate a dock at Palmer Point. Last year he almost led the Virginia State BASS Federation team to the national championship, but Lady Luck spoiled it. A busted alarm clock and a missed big bass cost him the ‘amateur’ championship, and a trip to the BASS Masters Classic. Last year he placed tenth at Kerr and fished the final round with eventual winner Don Shealy of Fayetteville, NC.

“Here the plot thickens. Repeated lay offs at his truck dock job in Richmond messed up Daves’ home life. He fished every day he was off the job. At entry fee time for the 1975 Virginia Invitational, there wasn’t an extra $200 in the sugar jar. His mother, a boat company, and a lure company scraped up the coins. Still, Woo couldn’t get his head on straight, and considered asking for his entry fee back. His spirits sunk lower than a bilge pump.”

“The pressure squeezed him. The first day, he hadn’t found the fish by noon. Finally, he recalled a small creek off the Staunton (Roanoke) River where he caught fish in last year’s state tournament. In desperation, he tied on a locally-made ‘Sure-Slayer’ lure given to him by Rufus Eubank. The hard-luck kid’s fortunes changed:”

And change it did. Daves by the end of the day had sacked 34-12 worth of fish. He caught them on the gifted lure, a buzzbait, along with a Norman Magnum Scooper and a Bush Hog spinnerbait. His big fish for the day was a 6-11 on the blade.

At the pairings for the second day, Daves paired with none other than Bill Dance, who sat in 3rd place with 19-12. So, you have the 1st-place and 3rd-place anglers in the same boat (remember this is the days of pro-on-pro draws) and it just so happens that Dance is Daves’ bass fishing hero. That’d be enough to screw with anyone’s mind.

Daves waits patiently as Tournament Director Harold Sharp reads the weight. Photo Sept/Oct 1975 Issue of Bassmaster Magazine.

Daves waits patiently as Tournament Director Harold Sharp reads the weight. Photo Sept/Oct 1975 Issue of Bassmaster Magazine.

The second day Dance weighed in five fish for 17-06 and Daves weighed in four for 12-01. Dance had 37-02 to Daves’ 46-13. Daves still has a 9-11 lead on Dance but Roland Martin was quietly catching up to the leaders.

Martin had a banner second day with a 21-08 limit and moved up to the fourth spot with a total of 30-11.

The final day proved to be another nail biter, though. Daves again had trouble finding fish and still had an empty box at 1:30 p.m.

Dance was the first to weigh in and brought a “bulging plastic bag” of fish to the scales for 21-04. His total was 58-14 with added weight for live fish. Then Daves came to the scales – with only four fish. Thankfully there were all studs.

His four fish dropped the scales to the 16-15 mark and he walked away with not only a total weight of 63-12 but his first Bassmaster win. His 16 fish averaged almost four pounds each.

Dance ended up in 2nd place (21 fish) for the event while Phil Greene of Louisiana finished with 54-09 (21 fish) for 3rd-place honors. Roland Martin had a total 19 fish for 52-02 for 4th place and Don Mann finished in the 5th spot with 46-11 (24 fish).

Ricky Green weighed the biggest fish of the tournament, an 8-11 largemouth.

John Hall wins the second fly-rod only event at Kerr. Photo July/August 1975 Issue of Bassmaster Magazine

John Hall wins the second fly-rod only event at Kerr. Photo July/August 1975 Issue of Bassmaster Magazine

Kerr Fly-Rod Only Tournament

For the second straight event, B.A.S.S. hosted a fly-rod only tournament the day prior to the main event. This time Jon Hall took the winning honors, besting 65 other anglers, with five fish that weighed 11 pounds. He caught his fish on a 4-inch blue Mann’s Jelly Worm. Dick Busby placed second with two fish for 8-02. He too didn’t conform to traditional fly rod baits, catching his fish on 1/4-ounce spinnerbaits in the trees.

Although Don Shealy didn’t finish too well in the main event, he did bring in two fish for 6-07 and 3rd place. He was the only angler to utilize conventional fly gear, catching his fish on popping bugs. Ricky Green (5-03) and Tom Mann (5-00) placed 4th and 5th respectively.

The table below shows the top 35 from the Virginia Invitational.

1975 Virginia Invitational Kerr Reservoir Final Results
Place
Angler, State
Weight, lbs-oz
1
Woo Daves, VA
63-12
2
Bill Dance, TN
56-14
3
Phil Greene, LA
54-09
4
Roland Martin, OK
52-02
5
Don Mann, AL
46-11
6
Jimmy Houston, OK
46-10
7
Rayo Breckenridge, AR
44-00
8
Frank Colyer, VA
42-02
9
Jeff Killian, NC
41-10
10
Perry Durham, GA
41-01
11
Larry Singleton, FL
39-14
12
John Powell, AL
38-00
13
Bill Horne, TN
35-12
14
Jerry Williams, AR
35-02
15
Danny McCain, LA
34-13
16
Al Lindner, MN
34-05
17
A. W. Copely, VA
33-11
18
Stan Sloan, TN
33-11
19
Fred Lester, SC
32-12
20
John Butler, TN
31-05
21
Cecil Lemons, VA
31-04
22
Forrest Wood, AR
31-04
23
Russell Cook, MO
31-01
24
Paul Chamblee, NC
30-14
25
Mike Meaders, GA
30-12
26
Rick Clunn, TX
30-11
27
Dick Busby, VA
30-01
28
Mike Tilley, NC
29-15
29
John Hall, VA
29-11
30
Bill Ward, MO
29-11
31
F. B. McRoy, VA
29-09
32
Bobby Murray, AR
29-02
33
Glin Wells, TN
29-01
34
Jim Blair, WV
25-07
35
Jack Marlow, NC
24-10
Roland Martin captures the Santee-Copper event for his 8th win. Photo Sept/Oct 1975 Issue of Bassmaster Magazine.

Roland Martin captures the Santee-Copper event for his 8th win. Photo Sept/Oct 1975 Issue of Bassmaster Magazine.

South Carolina Invitational – Guess Who Wins

The 1975 South Carolina Invitational was the first time B.A.S.S. had visited the legendary body of water known as Santee-Cooper. Pre-tournament rumblings had the final weight at over 75 pounds but I bet the more listened-to rumor was, “who’s fishing for second place?”

I’m sure it was general consensus that Roland Martin, a long-time guide on Santee-Cooper, would have the best crack at the win. I’m also sure that there were many other anglers that wanted to make sure that didn’t happen.

As it turned out, Martin was the odds-on favorite for a reason. He knew the lake, was comfortable in big water and had a big-water trick up his sleeve.

Although the pre-tournament predictions were for record weights, Mother Nature had something to say about that. The second and third days of the event were tormented by high winds and “6- to 7-foot swells,” which changed the complexion of the tournament.

Martin was the day-1 leader with a 30-04 bag of fish caught on plastic worms deep. But evidently his second day didn’t turn out too well with the wind. It was reported that he had trouble holding in the waves while fishing a drop from 17 to 24 feet of water. His 20-pound anchors wouldn’t hold so he’d move upwind of his spot and drift down on it controlling his position with the trolling motor.

“I couldn’t feel a bass take the worm in the waves and with a big belly in the line,” he told Cobb. He ended up dropping a 1-ounce spoon fished vertically to catch his fish on day 2.

On day 3 Martin decided to hit some shallower water early because his deep pattern didn’t produce until later in the day. His first fish of the day came from the shallows in Tawcaw Creek – a 5-pounder. He also had another ace up his sleeve.

“I saved my best hole for the finals,” he told Cobb. “The spot was located where a lot of boats would have passed me fishing. I didn’t want to tip my deep-water strategy too early.”

His educated gamble paid off.

On the last day Martin weighed in 10 fish for 25-02 (total 64-00) and took his eighth Bassmaster win. In doing so he broke the tie between he and Bill Dance for the most Bassmaster wins of all time. He also extended his all-time winings record to $45,898.80. At this point, Martin held all individual B.A.S.S. records except for the season-high money record (Tommy Martin 1974 – $19,955.50) and the all-time tournament weight record held by Blake Honeycutt for 138-06 but that record would never be broken due to limit changes.

Martin also took over a commanding lead in the AOY race – 31 points ahead of Bill Dance.

So who finished behind Martin?

Hurley Board of North Carolina was the second-day leader but succumbed to Martin’s wrath. He weighed in 19 fish (to Martin’s 30) for a weight of 52-11. Blake Honeycutt (NC) brought 29 fish to the scales for 51-11 and 3rd place. Honeycutt should have weighed in 30 fish but evidently he miscounted and culled a 2 1/2-pounder from his last days catch. Mac Nimmons (SC) weighed 30 fish for 46-10 good enough for 4th place and Herbert Venning (SC) brought 45-01 to the scales (22 fish) to round out the top 5.

For the second event in a row Ricky Green took big fish honors. This time he beat his personal best for the second straight tournament – this time with an 8-12 largemouth.

Don Shealy wins the Santee-Cooper fly rod event. Photo Sept/Oct 1975 Issue of Bassmaster Magazine.

Don Shealy wins the Santee-Cooper fly rod event. Photo Sept/Oct 1975 Issue of Bassmaster Magazine.

Santee-Cooper Fly Rod Only Event

Although Don Shealy stunk it up pretty bad in the main event at Kerr, he came back at the fly rod only event held at Santee-Cooper. Shealy weighed an impressive 10-fish limit that went 17-10 and also created a new fly-rod only tournament record. He caught his fish His fish came on a combination of popping bugs and plastic worms.

Bo Dowden finished in 2nd place with 12-14 and Johnny Morris weighed in 12-03 for 3rd place. Jon Hall, who won the Kerr fly rod event, placed 4th with 9-04 and Bill Dance placed 5th with 8-05.

With only the All-American left in the schedule, the race for the Classic was in full swing. Below are the final results for the South Carolina Invitational along with the AOY standings after five events.

1975 South Carolina Invitational Santee-Copper Final Results
Place
Angler, State
Weight, lbs-oz
1
Roland Martin, OK
64-00
2
Hurley Board, NC
52-11
3
Blake Honeycutt, NC
51-11
4
Mac Nimmons, SC
46-10
5
Herbert Venning, SC
45-01
6
Ricky Green, AR
44-10
7
Roger Moore, MO
44-09
8
Don Mann, AL
43-13
9
Wallace Lea, MO
43-00
10
Paul Chamblee, NC
42-10
11
Woo Daves, VA
42-00
12
Ed Gradey, NC
41-14
13
Bill Ward, MO
40-09
14
Elroy Krueger, TX
40-08
15
Greg Ward, MO
39-04
16
Stan Sloan, TN
39-00
17
Paul Smith, SC
38-13
18
Jimmy Houston, OK
38-08
19
Frank Avent, SC
38-05
20
Ray Lloyd, LA
38-04
21
Johnny Morris, MO
37-14
22
Jack Black, SC
37-05
23
Norman Honeycutt, SC
36-08
24
Joe Pryor, NC
36-08
25
Phil Greene, LA
36-07
26
Tom Mann, AL
35-08
27
George Warren, AL
35-06
28
Jerry Williams, AR
35-06
29
Tom Milliken, SC
35-05
30
Ken Byrd, TN
35-00
31
Bo Dowden, LA
34-11
32
Don Shealy, NC
34-08
33
Al Greene, GA
34-06
34
Ocey Tennison, LA
34-06
35
O'Neal Mintz, SC
33-15
1975 Angler of the Year Points Race After Five Events (Kerr and Santee-Cooper Fly Rod Tournaments Included)
Place
Angler, State
Points
1
Roland Martin, OK
193
2
Bill Dance, TN
162
3
Ricky Green, AR
161
4
Jimmy Houston, OK
157
5
Phil Greene, LA
148
6
Jack Hains, LA
139
7
Rick Clunn, TX
125
8
Roger Moore, MO
123
9
Elroy Krueger, TX
118
10
Tom Mann, AL
115
11
Al Lindner, MN
110
12
John Powell, AL
107
13
Stan Sloan, TN
102
14
Russell Cook, MO
101
15
Rayo Breckenridge, AR
100
16
Bo Dowden, LA
99
17
Emmett Chiles, AR
94
18
Marvin Baker, TX
93
19
Blake Honeycutt, NC
93
20
Wallace Lea, MO
91
21
Woo Daves, VA
90
22
Don Mann, AL
89
23
Paul Chamblee, NC
75
24
Loyd McEntire, IN
72
25
Bill Ward, MO
71
26
John Hall, VA
71
27
Johnny Morris, MO
69
28
Al Greene, GA
67
29
Dave Hilton,. TN
67
30
Gene Miller, AR
65
John Pryor wins the 1975 All-American on Texoma. Photo February 1976 Issue of Bassmaster Magazine.

John Pryor wins the 1975 All-American on Texoma. Photo February 1976 Issue of Bassmaster Magazine.

The All-American – Where’s the Bait?

How many years has it been since we’ve heard of a big event won on a spinnerbait? I’ll give you a few hours to ponder this.

That wasn’t the case in the early days of bass fishing and the ’75 Texoma event wasn’t any different with both 1st- and 2nd-place anglers catching their fish on the safety-pin styled baits.

John Pryor, a rookie on the Bassmaster Trail, but no rookie to bass fishing weighed the heaviest 3-day stringer of fish for the entire tournament season – 66-04. Pryor had recently missed 1st place in another local state event only a month before fishing the same area. His experience on the lake told him to leave the fish alone after the state event.

“I didn’t practice. The fish were on a shallow-water pattern, and as long as the baitfish stayed – the fish would hang around,” he told Bob Cobb.

He caught his fish on a white and yellow, homemade spinnerbait fitted with a #8 blade and a 5-inch white trailer. His tactic was to target wood in five to seven feet of water. He’d cast past the target, wind the bait up to the wood and then kill it. His fish came as he jerked the blade upwards from its fall.

Texas stalwart Elroy Krueger also used blades for 2nd place but used a different tactic. He targeted steep bluffs with a 1/2-ounce Weed-Wader spinnerbaits. Here’s what he had to say about his final day on the water as told to Bob Cobb.

“The last day it was calmer and the bass didn’t want the larger blades. The calmer the water, the less flash you should have with a spinnerbait.”

He switched to a willow-leaf blade on the last day – standard practice among spinnerbait experts nationwide.

Roland Martin accepts the AOY trophy and cash for the fourth time in his career. Photo February 1976 Issue of Bassmaster Magazine.

Roland Martin accepts the AOY trophy and cash for the fourth time in his career. Photo February 1976 Issue of Bassmaster Magazine.

Rounding out the top 5 were Bill Dance (3rd place) with 47-06, Roland Martin (4th place) with 44-03 and Jim Wright of Texas (44-03). Martin got 4th place on live fish.

Bob Kluth (MO) won big fish honors with a 6-00 largemouth.

With the final event over for the 1975 season, the Angler of the Year award went again to Roland Martin. It was the fourth AOY award in his career. Martin outdistanced Bill Dance by 30 points.

The final standings for the All-American and the final AOY points race are shown in the tables below.

1975 All-American Texoma Final Results
Place
Angler, State
Weight, lbs-oz
1
John Pryor, OK
66-04
2
Elroy Krueger, TX
58-13
3
Bill Dance, TN
47-06
4
Roland Martin, OK
44-03
5
Jim Wright, TX
44-03
6
Loyd McEntire, IN
43-15
7
Tom Mann, AL
38-01
8
Marvin Baker, TX
37-02
9
Charles Collier, TX
34-14
10
David O'Keefe, TX
33-02
11
Greg Ward, MO
32-02
12
Jimmy Houston, OK
31-04
13
Rick Clunn, TX
30-06
14
Bob Carver, OK
30-00
15
Lanny Verner, TX
28-13
16
John Jones, TX
28-05
17
Gary Teer, TX
28-00
18
Ricky Green, AR
27-09
19
Jack Hains, LA
27-08
20
Paul Chamblee, NC
27-07
21
Johnny Morris, MO
26-14
22
H. J. Stevens, AR
26-11
23
Bill Ward, MO
25-15
24
Tommy Martin, TX
25-06
25
Ray Lloyd, LA
24-05
26
Bob Asbury, OK
24-04
27
John Hall, VA
23-14
28
Bob Kluth, MO
23-07
29
Al Greene, GA
23-05
30
Jeff Green, TX
22-08
31
Rayo Breckenridge, AR
22-03
32
Raymond Smith, OK
22-03
33
Tom Shockley, OK
22-02
34
Doyle Jordan, TX
21-09
35
Dick Bland, OK
21-08
1975 Bassmaster Angler of the Year Final Results
Place
Angler, State
Points
1
Roland Martin, OK
240
2
Bill Dance, TN
210
3
JImmy Houston, OK
196
4
Ricky Green, AR
194
5
Jack Hains, LA
189
6
Elroy Krueger, TX
187
7
Rick Clunn, TX
163
8
Phil Greene, LA
163
9
Tom Mann, AL
159
10
Marvin Baker, TX
136
11
Roger Moore, MO
123
12
Rayo Breckenridge, AR
120
13
Loyd McEntire, IN
117
14
Al Lindner, MN
110
15
John Powell, AL
107
16
Paul Chamblee, NC
106
17
Stan Sloan, TN
102
18
Russell Cook, MO
101
19
Don Mann, AL
101
20
Greg Ward, MO
100
21
Bo Dowden, LA
99
22
Johnny Morris, MO
99
23
Bill Ward, MO
99
24
Jon Hall, VA
95
25
Emmett Chiles, AR
94

In part three of the 1975 Season at a Glance, we’ll look at the 1975 Bassmaster Classic. Prior to that, though, we’ll take a look at the 1975 B.A.S.S. Chapter Championship (B.A.S.S. Nation or Federation) and also a quick look at the anglers who qualified for the Classic.