Congratulations to Steve M for winning this week’s Monday Trivia Contest sponsored by Gary Yamamoto Custom Baits. For the answers, read below, and come back for next week’s edition.
All pros have to get their start somewhere, and this veteran apparently was whacking on the panfish from an early age. He’s still active at the highest levels of professional competition, despite having started his career as a national pro in the mid-80s. Beyond that, we won’t tell you much until Thursday.
In order to win this week’s contest, be the first to correctly answer the following four questions:
- Who is the angler?
- Where did he fish his first B.A.S.S. event?
- Where and when did he win his first national tournament?
- Where did he fish the final round of his most recent B.A.S.S. victory?
Here are the answers:
The youthful fisherman is veteran Arizona pro John Murray, who is still going strong after nearly 200 B.A.S.S. events, a set that started back in 1986 when he fished a Megabucks event on Florida’s Harris Chain of Lakes won by Roger Farmer. Terry described the beginning of his career in this comprehensive earlier piece on BFA.
The 1986 Megabucks tournament produced an inauspicious 124th place finish for Murray and he wouldn’t crack the top 50 with B.A.S.S. until a 10th place showing at Lake Powell in April of 1990. Indeed, he didn’t pierce the top 50 outside of the west until October of 1992, when he finished 17th at another Megabucks tournament, this one on Guntersville.
While he struggled in those early years with B.A.S.S., failing to qualify for the Classic until 2002, he continued to be an absolute terror on western circuits. According to his website, he “is the only professional angler to win a fully rigged bass boat on every major western waterway from New Mexico to Washington totaling 31.” Along the way, he won the WON Bass U.S. Open on Lake Mead in both 1997 and 1999.
Murray has won two B.A.S.S. tournaments, the 2003 Open Championship on Toledo Bend, and the 2004 Busch Shootout. The Shootout invited the 13 anglers who’d worn the Busch patch while catching the heaviest catch in certain tournaments (each of that season’s tour events, the Open Championship, the Federation Championship and the Bassmaster Classic) to fish a “mystery lake” – which initially turned out to be Virginia’s James River. The tournament was supposed to be held in September, but was delayed a month as a result of Hurricane Ivan.
After whittling the field to six anglers on the James, the remaining crew moved to a “hole-style” course reminiscent of the Megabucks format on a private 35 acre lake at the exclusive Kingsmill Resort and Spa. Murray’s 9 pound 9 ounce catch was enough to win the $100,000 top prize.