Congrats to Rich Johnson for winning this week’s Trivia Contest sponsored by Gary Yamamoto Custom Baits. For details on this pair of 1973 contestants, as well as some other interesting facts, keep reading.
Back in the early days of the Bassmaster Classic, members of the press got personal invites to attend as writer-observers. In 1973 there were 50 members invited to the event held on Clark Hill Res. in South Carolina. One of those invited was Fishing Facts editor Spence Petros. Spence was to meet in New Orleans on October 22, and the following day he boarded a chartered jet where they flew off to the secret Classic location. After being up in the air for a while, Ray Scott opened a white envelope and announced the location from 30,000 feet.
Upon arriving, the writers got randomly paired with the contestants over both practice and tourney days. While you would quickly recognize someone like Rayo Breckenridge, the winner of the event, or Bill Dance, the runner up, you might not immediately recognize all the contestants. In order to win this week’s trivia contest, sponsored by Gary Yamamoto Custom Baits, simply name the two contestants featured below that Spence shared a boat with and photographed, and give me their final standing in the event.
Winner and answers, plus some other interesting notes from that event, will be announced Thursday.
The top photo is of Andy Sceurman who finished 25th with 5 fish weighing 6-09. Andy was 33 years old and from Newark, OH. Spence was paired with him in practice and wrote:
“[Andy] had only been fishing for bass seriously for about two years. Andy told me he was a subscriber to Fishing Facts and that our book “Lunkers Love Nightcrawlers” helped him to get to the Classic. He scouted some excellent looking spots from the topo maps he was given and we checked them out. We fished the areas from the shallows to the deep with different lures and at different speeds. We just couldn’t interest anything in taking our lures.”
The second photo was of Don Mead of Hollister, MO. Don finished 13th with 16 fish for 22-15. Don was a member of Blakemore’s famed “Canary Corps,” so named because of their Canary Yellow jumpsuits. Spence was paired with him on the final day of the event and wrote:
“[Don was] a 29 year old construction worker who was a new face to the pro circuit in 1973. Don had a total of 16 lbs., 10 ozs. of bass during the first two days of the tournament, putting him about middle of the pack. We fished some shallow coves for about the first 3 or 4 hours of the day, picking up a few small bass on spinnerbaits reeled in fast just under the surface.”
A few other notes of interest from Spence’s write-up of the event:
- Contestants were all given 1 extra ounce for every live bass weighed in over the 3 days. That bonus was reflected in their listed weights. With a 10 fish per day limit, you could potentially have a maximum of 30 ounces added to your actual weight. This is opposite of the current method of deducting weight for each dead bass brought to the scales.
- Bill Dance use a Carolina Rig to capture second place, but they didn’t call it a Carolina Rig at the time. Instead, it was referred to as the “floating worm rig” in Spence’s write-up. It was an egg sinker, a barrel swivel, then 30″ of leader back to a Texas-rigged straight tail worm.
- One of the “hottest” baits in the event was a Heddon diving lure called a Tadpolly. Spence wrote, “In the writer’s division, Bob Melvin used this plug to capture his two money winning bass. On the last day of the tourney he lent me one of them and I caught my big one (5 lb. 15 oz.) on it too. They are one of my Lake Michigan favorites and I had a whole bunch of them at home. Several pros also used this lure to take a number of fish.”
- The largest bass of the event, 6 lbs. 15 ozs., caught by Wallace Lea fell for a Bomber crankbait.
- Bill Dance caught most of his bass off the side of a hump in anywhere from 28 to 34 foot of water the first two days, and 40 foot of water on the final day.
- Aerated livewells were in place and Spence estimated about 80% of all bass were released alive to do battle again. He also mentioned that the following year (1974) was going to be the first with a new rule requiring kill switches on all competition boats.