Congratulations to Al H. for winning this week’s trivia contest sponsored by Gary Yamamoto Custom Baits! For the answer, read below.
As the son of renowned bass biologist and product inventor Loren Hill, Kenyon Hill may have been destined to pursue a career in tournament fishing. He fished his first B.A.S.S. event in December of 1986 at the age of 22, and since then has qualified for four Bassmaster Classics and has won three events. He continues to fish the Elite Series in 2015.
The first of Hill’s three wins took place on the Louisiana Delta out of New Orleans in October of 1998, when he won a Top 150 event. The Delta is now a familiar B.A.S.S. venue, having hosted Classics in 1999, 2001, 2003 and 2011, in addition to multiple regular season events, but at the time it was new to most of the anglers.
Hill fished a section of the Bayou Black area known as Bayou Penchant to win by nearly 8 1/2 pounds over runner up Jay Yelas. There was substantial separation between the leaders and the rest of the field, as the difference between first and 10th was over 23 pounds, and it only took 26-14, less than half of Hill’s weight of 61-05, to finish in the money (40th place).
In a preview of Delta tournaments to come, Hill was running 80 miles each way to his preferred area, and had to refuel before coming back. Anglers running to Venice, Delacroix and other areas – some of them distant, some of them a long boat ride even if they were close as the crow flies – had more burdensome travels. Mark Tucker told Bassmaster that he burned 150 gallons of gas a day running to Morgan City.
As an indication of just how much has changed since Hill’s first victory nearly 17 years ago, it’s surprising to note that despite the fact that most of the contenders were fishing heavy vegetation, none of the top five reported using braided line. Furthermore, while most pros wouldn’t dream of navigating without GPS today, the use of GPS was considered fairly novel at the time and B.A.S.S. Times made a point of the fact that many competitors used “orange survey marking tape” to delineate their paths. That same article mentioned that “[m]any pros utilized local anglers as guides during pre-fishing to show them key areas,” a fact that might not have changed today, but one that few tour-level pros would be likely to admit.
Hill finished 21st with a weight of 25-07 when B.A.S.S. returned to the Delta for a Top 150 in 2000. He also qualified for the 2003 Classic and finished 9th with 28-14.
In order to win this week’s trivia contest and a gift card from Gary Yamamoto Custom Baits, be the first person to correctly answer the following four questions in the comments section below:
2) There were several father/son combinations who both fished the event on the pro side, including Denny and Chad Brauer, Guido and Dion Hibdon and Randy and Slade Dearman. Name a father/son combo where one of them fished the tournament on the pro side and the other fished on the amateur side.
3) Which other member or members of the top 10 later won B.A.S.S. events on the Louisiana Delta?
4) Within the past two years, Hill’s appearance has changed substantially. What medical procedure did he undergo to cause the change?
Here are the answers:
1) Hill’s primary lure was a homemade half-ounce black and blue jig paired with a blue Zoom Super Chunk trailer.
2) Veteran pro Mickey Bruce finished tied for 23rd on the on the pro side at the Delta with 15 bass that totaled 30-04 and his son John finished tied for 17th with 8 bass for 18-01. John also had the amateur big fish of the day on Day One. It weighed 5-00.
3) Third place finisher Chet Douthit won the 2000 Top 150 on the Delta with a weight of 43-09. Fourth place finisher Kevin VanDam won both the 2001 and 2011 Bassmaster Classics on the Delta, with 32-05 in 2001 and a record-setting 69-11 in 2011.
4) In January of 2014, Hill underwent gastric bypass surgery. As he told Bassmaster writer Don Barone last spring: “Before surgery, I hit a high of 310 pounds.”At the time of the interview, he weighed 230. “I want to lose another 60 pounds, down to 170,” he continued. “That’s what my doctor wants me to shoot for.”