Forty-two year old Danny Kirk could only manage 8 pounds 5 ounces of Kissimmee Chain bass during the January 1999 Florida Bassmaster Top 150 event, but it was enough to outlast Florida stalwarts Shaw Grigsby and Terry Segraves for the win. He beat them both by a margin of 7 ounces, which translated into a difference of over $60,000 in cash and merchandise.
He put together four limits that totaled 41-pounds even, a winning catch far below what most fans would’ve expected. It was the directly result of temperatures in the 20s that plagued Florida in early January, along with fronts that continued into the tournament.
The win was the highlight of a career that spanned 82 B.A.S.S. tournaments between 1983 and 2004. He’d started that career auspiciously, with an 8th place finish in the 1983 Super B.A.S.S. II won by Mickey Bruce. Kirk also competed in two Classics, 1998 and 1999, finishing 28th and 19th, respectively. He amassed four other top-10 finishes, but the closest he came to winning a second time came four months after the Florida win, when he tied for 3rd in the 1999 Megabucks tournament on Old Hickory won by Ron Shuffield.
Apparently the win was meant to be, as Kirk’s margin of victory was enabled by what Don Wilson of the Orlando Sentinel referred to as “the Pied Piper of bass.”
“I’d moved a hundred yards and was just casting around when I saw this fish break water,” Kirk subsequently told Wilson. “I cast to it and hooked it and two others followed it to the boat. I caught three fish in 10 minutes and started to cull.”
Grigsby may have been beaten that week, but he couldn’t be kept down long. He won the Florida Bassmaster Eastern Invitational on the St. Johns River a week later.
In order to win this week’s trivia contest, be the first person to correctly answer the following four questions in the comments section below:
- What did Kirk do for a living when he was not fishing?
- Which lake in the Kissimmee Chain produced most of Kirk’s fish that week?
- What two lures (and in what sizes) did Kirk use to earn the win?
- What entity was the longtime title sponsor of runner-up Terry Segraves?
The Answers and winner will be announced Thursday. Good Luck!