By 1987, Tom Mann Jr. must’ve felt like he’d never get ahead of the pack. He’d been fishing a few B.A.S.S. events since 1983, including the 1984 Bassmaster Classic, but everywhere he went he’d been preceded by another angler of the same name – lure maker Tom Mann, to whom he was not related. The elder Tom had won two Bassmaster tournaments in Florida in 1971 and 1972, edging out Roland Martin both times.
He wasn’t even the second angler named “Mann” to fish the Classic, as the elder Tom’s brother Don had fished the 1975 and 1976 championships.
The younger Tom finished 2nd on his home waters of Lake Lanier in 1984, but only finished in the top ten twice more over the next three years, including a 5th place finish in the 1987 Team Championship on the St. Lawrence River.
The closest sports analogue I can think of is former University of New Orleans star and NBA player Ervin Johnson, who played as a pro from 1993 through 2006. Despite the lengthy career, he had the misfortune of having his achievements dwarfed by some other guy with a similar name – Earvin “Magic” Johnson.
In October of 1987, Tom Mann Jr. broke out of Tom Mann’s shadow a bit by winning the Georgia Invitational on West Point Lake, beating runner-up Rick Clunn by nearly 5 pounds. The Lake Lanier fishing guide overcame West Point’s tough 16-inch minimum size to land 11 bass over three days to claim the title.
While the win on West Point was impressive, perhaps even more outstanding is Mann’s resume of B.A.S.S. finishes on his home lake of Lanier. He finished 4th, 2nd, 4th and 9th before finally winning in 1985. Subsequently he finished 8th and 5th in 1994 and 1995, respectively, before his only finish outside of the top 9 (20th) in 2006. After a long career of guiding on Lanier, today Mann guides on Okeechobee.
In order to win this week’s trivia contest, answer the following three questions about Mann (Jr., that is), and his win at West Point.
- With 14 bass in his creel, Clunn was the only competitor to land more than the winner. Clunn also had the only seven-bass limit of the tournament. Who was the third and final angler in the event to land a double-digit number of bass?
- While most of the top finishers deep cranked throughout the tournament, Mann relied on a different lure for most of his catch. What was it? [Hint: it wasn’t a finesse presentation]
- Clunn, Manuel Spencer and John Dean, who finished in 2nd, 3rd and 4th place, respectively, all used various models of the same crankbait during the tournament (although they may have supplemented it with others). What brand/model of lure did they use?
The answers and winner will be announced Thursday Good Luck!