Congratulations to Steven Strasser for winning this week’s trivia contest sponsored by Gary Yamamoto Custom Baits! For the answers, please read below.
Some pros just seem to shine a little brighter on the big stage. The best example of this might be Rick Clunn, who has won four Bassmaster Classics. There’s also Larry Nixon, whose 14 B.A.S.S. victories included not just the 1983 Classic, but also four Megabucks titles – in 1988, two in 1990 and again in 1991.
Arkansas pro Doug Garrett also excelled in the Megabucks format, winning the “war of attrition” in both 1997 and 1998. The first of those two wins took place on two Texas waters, Richland-Chambers Reservoir and White Rock Lake. Garrett was no stranger to winning big events , as he’d won the 1993 Red Man All-American on Alabama’s Black Warrior River, a $100,000 payday.
In 1997, tour rookie Stephen Browning, fishing just his 13th Bassmaster tournament, led Megabucks after the qualifying rounds with 18 bass that totaled 73 pounds 1 ounce. Like Garrett, Browning was a past All-American winner, with his victory coming the in 1996 event on the Pine Bluff Pool of the Arkansas River.
While there hadn’t been a huge number of limits caught, fishing had been decent at Richland-Chambers. Veteran Texas pro David Wharton took the first day lead with 26-12. Perhaps more significantly, a fish of at least eight pounds had been weighed in every day of the preliminary round, including the 13-09 monster that Mark Menendez caught on the second day of competition. His big fish set a B.A.S.S. record, eclipsing the 12-13 mark set in the 1973 Florida Invitational. The 13-09 record stood for only two years, though, until Mark Tyler beat it with a 14-09 from the California Delta. Tyler’s record still stands today.
Once the reduced field arrived at White Rock, though, things got tough. While Garrett’s fish over the final two days didn’t even average 3 pounds apiece, he did manage to put together the only limit of the finals on the last day, when it truly mattered. His 14-06 limit, coupled with the two for 4-10 he’d caught the day before, allowed him to beat runner-up Davy Hite by over a pound. Garrett (19-0), Hite (17-10) and Kevin VanDam (16-03) were the three anglers in the ten man final field who managed to catch more than 4 fish and more than 10 pounds over the two days.
Garrett has not fished a B.A.S.S. event since 2008.
In order to win this week’s trivia contest, be the first to answer the following two questions correctly in the comments section:
- Garrett used a variety of lures including a spinnerbait and a Berkley Power Craw in the qualifying rounds, but in the finals he relied on a lure made by a small company in Jonesboro, Arkansas. What style of lure was it and what company later marketed it as his signature product?
- Menendez caught the 13-09 on a 1/2-ounce Oldham spinnerbait, made by well-known Texas angler Terry Oldham. What skirt color did it feature?
Here are the answers:
Garrett’s victory was partially responsible for popularizing the soft plastic tube for flipping and pitching. Anglers had been using Gitzit-style tubes for finesse presentations for several decades, but a cadre of anglers, centered in Arkansas, had been quietly using thicker-walled tubes to flip. The heavily-salted 3 ½ inch model that Garrett preferred was made by MST Manufacturing. At White Rock he used a smoke/red flake version behind a 3/16 ounce sinker and paired with a 3/0 HP hook.
The lure was later sold by Yum as Garrett’s Mega Tube, but the tube bait as a flipping lure really took off in 1998 when Denny Brauer used it to win the Bassmaster Classic on North Carolina’s High Rock Lake. Brauer said he was using a “generic” tube, but his sponsor Strike King quickly got on the bandwagon to manufacture a tube under his name.
As noted above, Menendez used a ½ ounce spinnerbait made by lure designer Terry Oldham, who is perhaps best known for his trailer hitch jigs that are a Texas staple for flipping deep grass. The particular spinnerbait color was known as “cantaloupe.” As Bassmaster’s Steve Price described it: “The spinnerbait featured an unusual skirt of yellow and red strands, a color known locally as ‘cantaloupe.’ It became popular after well-known angler Elroy Krueger of Three Rivers, Texas, used it to catch a five-bass, 51-pound stringer from Choke Canyon two years. Menendez added extra strands of red to make it more attractive.”