From the start of his Bassmaster career in 1977 through his victory in the 1992 Bassmaster 25th Anniversary tournament on Beaver Lake, Larry Nixon won 13 tournaments, an average of nearly one a year. Included among that group of victories was his 1983 Classic win on the Ohio River and of course four Megabucks trophies. After that, however, he hit a dry spell.
Given Nixon’s incredibly high level of consistency over his career, there were of course some near misses:
- He finished 2nd to Tommy Biffle at the 1993 Megabucks event on Lake Murray;
- He finished 2nd to Davy Hite by 13 ounces at the 1996 Top 100 on Neely Henry; and
- He finished 3rd at the 1999 Classic on the Louisiana Delta, trailing only Hite and the prior year’s champion, Denny Brauer.
A month after that Delta Classic, he finally broke out of the “slump,” winning a Top 100 on Michigan’s Lake St. Clair, where he beat living legend Roland Martin by 12 ounces to claim his fourteenth B.A.S.S. victory.
Martin’s last B.A.S.S. win had come in 1997 on Lake Champlain. Neither he nor Nixon won another B.A.S.S. event after Nixon’s win in 1999.
Immediately behind Martin in the standings were a pair of Nixon’s fellow Arkansans, Rob Kilby and Stephen Browning. Local angler Kim Stricker, who had won on St. Clair in 1994, finished fifth.
Nixon told Bassmaster writer Tim Tucker that a number of factors had played into his long victory drought. Some of them were physical, including vertigo and tendinitis in his elbow, while others were just the result of the busy schedule of obligations required of any Classic champion with his own television program. Nevertheless, at St. Clair he averaged nearly 18-1/2 pounds a day to finish with 73-09, enough for the win.
Martin held the lead for two days, with limits that weighed 22-14 and 17-14, but Nixon surpassed him on Day Three when Martin could “only” put together a 14 pound 15 ounce limit. He openly admitted that he was sharing information with Art Ferguson, who guided out of his Okeechobee facility in the winter but called Michigan home. Ferguson finished 8th. He used a tube to catch most of his fish, but also employed a ½ ounce Blue Fox spinnerbait on which he downsized the blades.
In order to claim the win, Nixon focused on a spot in St. Clair near the mouth of the Detroit River that he said was approximately 20 yards wide. Unlike Martin, he never had an “off” day that week. While his limits got smaller every day, going from 20-03 to 18-03 to 17-12 to 16-12, it was enough to hold off the competition during a week when 12 pounds a day was good enough for 15th place.
In order to win this week’s trivia contest, be the first to correctly answer the following three questions in the comments section below:
1) Unlike the rest of the top four finishers, Nixon did not use a tube as part of his catch that week. He used a Berkley Twin Tail spider grub and a Yamamoto Hula Grub on 1/2- and 3/4-ounce jigheads. He also employed a third lure that none of the top five mentioned? What brand/style was it and how did he fish it?
2) One of the top twenty finishers on the amateur side of the event had a signature Terminator spinnerbait. Who was it?
3) While Nixon has not won a Bassmaster event since 1999, he’s won at the tour level elsewhere. When was his next win after the Bassmaster win on St. Clair?
The answers and winner will be announced on Thursday. Good Luck!