Congratulations to K Brown for winning this week’s Monday trivia contest! For the answers, please read below.
By the time he finished his B.A.S.S. career in 2005, Robert Lee, AKA “The General,” had won three Invitationals and a tour event with the senior circuit – all of them on the California Delta. The first of the three, in 1997, produced the lowest winning weight (51 pounds even). Nevertheless, a win is a win, and the competition was fierce in the 277-angler field. Not only did he beat a huge number of talented western pros, but the top 12 featured once-and-future national stars including Mark Tyler, Dee Thomas, Bobby Barrack, Greg Hines and Dean Rojas.
Not only was it Lee’s first B.A.S.S. win, but it was the first B.A.S.S. win for anyone in the state of California.
Over the course of 66 B.A.S.S. tournaments, Lee qualified for consecutive Classics in 2001 and 2002. The first was held on what was likely a comfortable environment, the Louisiana Delta, where he finished 7th. The second was on Alabama’s Lay Lake and he ended up a still-respectable 17th. Other than the Delta events, however, he struggled outside of the west. His only other top 10s were in the 1999 Arizona Invitational on Lake Powell (9th) and the 2003 Western Open on the Columbia River (8th). In fact, of his 16 top-20 finishes, only three other than the Louisiana Delta Classic were outside of the west – oddly enough, all three of those were in Alabama (Alabama River, Lake Guntersville and Lay Lake).
In order to win this week’s trivia contest, answer the following four questions about Lee’s 1997 victory and the competitors in that event:
- Which two Delta sloughs did Lee fish that week?
- What western-produced soft plastic lure became nationally-known shortly thereafter, partially as a result of this tournament?
- What was second place finisher Steve Sapp’s job when not on the water?
- Third place finisher Mark Tyler never won a B.A.S.S. event, but he set another meaningful record. What was it and where did it occur?
Here are the answers:
Lee focused his efforts in 1997 on two northern Delta sloughs – White’s Slough and Disappointment Slough – where he fished a Mann’s Swimmin’ Frog among the various types of vegetation and then switched to flipping once the tide got lower. His primary flipping bait was a Roboworm Zipper worm. While ringworms had been popular across the country for several decades, at that point few anglers outside of the west had fished the “flattened” versions in tournament competition. Over the last part of the 1990s, the lures gained popularity nationwide as multiple manufacturers copied them. While the style seems to have faded in popularity somewhat over the subsequent 17 years, it clearly played a role in the development of other still-popular styles of soft plastics like the Sweet Beaver. Lee’s primary worm color was cinnamon/oxblood, another pattern that likely wasn’t known to many eastern and southern anglers.
Sapp was a 3rd grade teacher in Manteca, California.
Like Lee, 3rd-place finisher Mark Tyler pursued a career on the national tour, continuing in the Elite Series through 2010 and fishing occasional Opens through 2013. Along the way, he won the 2003 Western Open on Clear Lake and competed in six more B.A.S.S. events on the California Delta. Included among those six events were 4th, 6th, 13th and 15th place finishes. While his career had multiple high points, the event he’s best remembered for is the 1999 Western Invitational on the Cal Delta where he landed a 14-09 brute that inhaled his jig. That fish still stands as the record for big fish in B.A.S.S. competition. Tyler currently lives in Oklahoma.