So far we’ve covered the six Bassmaster Classic qualifying events for the 1978 Bassmaster Tournament Trail along with the mid-season Bass Champs event. Today we’re looking at the 1978 Bassmaster Federation Championship, which was held on Lake Eufaula, AL, in August, 1978.
Up to this time no state team had won back-to-back championships, although the Tennessee team had won twice, the inaugural event in 1973 and again in 1976. Other winners had been Missouri (1974), Louisiana (1975) and Alabama (1977).
The prior year’s event, held on Kentucky Lake, was won by the Alabama team who squeaked out the victory by two ounces over Virginia. This year’s event, though, wouldn’t be close at all.
The 1978 Federation Finals were comprised of 36 six-man teams from states as far west as California, as far north as Minnesota and north east as Massachusetts. But what Alabama would do to the competition had the other teams saying that the home team had “too much of an advantage.”
Alabama didn’t just win the event, they owned it. In fact, the six-man team weighed 81-01 the first day and could have called it quits as no other team would come within 15 pounds of that mark over the course of three days.
In the end Alabama weighed a total of 49 bass that stretched the scales to 144-15, becoming the first team to win back-to-back. The 2nd-place team, Georgia, weighed less than half that amount (both fish and weight) with 20 bass for 62-06. In 3rd place, even further back, was Florida with 14 bass for 48-09. The rest of the 36 teams and their results are presented below.
For their win, Alabama received $500 cash and a rigged Hydra Sports boat.
|1978 B.A.S.S. Federation Team Championship Lake Eufaula Final Results|
More importantly than the team results were the individual results as they would determine who would go to the 1978 Bassmaster Classic from the Federation. The first two days of competition were led by Alabama angler Dave Lockhart. Lockhart, and most of the Alabama team, fished a ledge known as “The Clothesline,” and Lockhart made it pay off for him with a two-day total of 31-03. The problem was, after two days of whooping up on the other states, “The Clothesline” became the tournament’s community hole.
On the final day Lockhart went to his first two spots on the ledge only to find other boats occupying them. He ended up blanking the final day and fellow team member A. B. Battles was able pass him with a 3-day total of 33-03 and a ticket to the Bassmaster Classic. Bubba Belk (AL) placed second with 32-15 and Lockhart finished in third with 31-03.
Lamar Moody (GA) held down the fourth spot with 23-13 and future Bassmaster Trail pro Chet Douthit (MO) rounded out the top 5 with 20-11. Overall the Alabama team took five of the top-10 spots.
The box scope for the event showed just how tough Eufaula was that August. Only 344 bass were weighed for 648 angler-days of fishing. Total weight was a little better with 915-05 – almost a 3-pound average. Only one limit was weighed the entire event – Dave Lockhart’s opening 7-fish limit that went 22-08.
Chet Douthit caught big fish for the tournament, an 8-06 bucketmouth that really played into his 5th-place finish.
The top-40 individual scores are shown below. Pay close attention to the anglers in 21st, 27th and 40th places.
|1978 B.A.S.S. Federation Championship Lake Eufaula Final Results Individual|
|Place||Angler, State||Weight, lbs-ozs|
|1||A. B. Battles, AL||33-03|
|2||Bubba Belk, AL||32-15|
|3||Dave Lockhart, AL||31-03|
|4||Lamar Moody, GA||23-13|
|5||Chet Douthit, MO||20-11|
|6||Hank Gary, AL||20-07|
|7||Billy Phillips, TN||19-07|
|8||Ron Boutwell, AL||18-04|
|9||Clark Gable. GA||17-12|
|10||Tommy Isgett, NC||16-09|
|11||Dick Aldridge, IA||15-08|
|12||Hatcher Perdue, WV||15-03|
|13||Dave Henning, MN||14-07|
|14||Chuck Howard, IA||14-06|
|15||Bernard Johnson, IN||14-03|
|16||Ross Richey, FL||13-05|
|17||Dick Faulkerson, AZ||13-00|
|18||Barry Hunt, FL||12-10|
|19||Mike Shohovitch, OH||11-12|
|20||Frank Chester, GA||11-07|
|21||Bobby Ditto, FL||11-06|
|22||George Brown, IL||11-05|
|23||Ellzy Johnson, MS||10-14|
|24||Ronnie Reynolds, VA||10-09|
|25||Calvin Johnson, KY||10-05|
|26||John Wright, IL||10-01|
|27||Herb Reed, CT||9-11|
|28||Ken Hattaway, GA||9-06|
|29||Roger Howell, IL||9-03|
|30||Ralph Ervin, IN||9-01|
|31||Jim Rook, AL||8-15|
|32||Mike Ney, VA||8-13|
|33||Lyman Gray, DE||8-01|
|34||David McNease, VA||8-01|
|35||Ray Norton, FL||7-12|
|36||Jim Bland, NC||7-11|
|37||Nick Vogel, IN||7-11|
|38||Tony Maglovsky, OH||7-10|
|39||Dennis Price, AR||7-08|
|40||Dennis Brauer, NE||7-7|
Part Five of this series will concentrate on the Bassmaster Classic Qualifiers while Part Six will cover Classic VIII.