Congrats to Chad Keogh for winning this week’s trivia contest sponsored by GYCB! For the answers, please read below.
When Georgia pro Stanley Mitchell won the 1981 Bassmaster Classic, outlasting second place finisher Harold Allen by just under a pound, he became the youngest Classic winner. It was just the 21 year old’s first Classic and his 10th overall B.A.S.S. event, and the first time he’d finished better than 12th. He’d missed qualifying for the Classic the year before by 10 pounds, while his lesser-known older brother Steve had missed the world championship by just 2 pounds. Steve unfortunately missed the big dance again in 1981 by a mere 5 pounds.
The 1981 Classic wasn’t the first to be held in Alabama – Wheeler and Guntersville had hosted in 1974 and 1976, respectively – but it was the first one hosted by Montgomery, home of the tournament organization.
Stanley, the youngest of the Mitchell clan, had done well on other circuits, twice qualifying for the Grand Prix of American Bass and seemingly winning the United Bass Classic on Lake Eufaula at the age of 18, until tournament officials called him shortly thereafter to tell him that they’d made a mathematical error and he’d have to give the trophy back.
Mitchell went on to win two more events in his B.A.S.S. career before calling it quits after the 2001 Megabucks event on Douglas Lake, although he continued fishing in FLW Tour competition through 2004.
In order to win this week’s trivia contest, be the first to answer the following three questions correctly:
- What lures did Mitchell use to earn his Classic victory?
- Second place finisher Harold Allen continues to compete today, primarily in Texas and the surrounding states. He also briefly worked for the Bass Zone website. What nickname did that website’s founder give him?
- The Classic was held in the same location the next year. Who won it and what technique did his victory popularize?
Here are the answers:
Mitchell used a silver 5/8 ounce Luhr Jensen Krocodile Spoon and various Bomber Model A crankbaits. He started with a model 7A (clear with a black back) but it didn’t survive the competition:
“I hung the plug (the first competition day) on a deep root,” Mitchell told Bassmaster magazine’s John Weiss, “and finally had no choice but to break it off. Then, right when we were leaving, my press partner happened to look back just in time to see the plug float to the surface. He quickly made a long cast, luckily snagged the lure, reeled it in , then gave it back to me.” When he lost that lure on Day Two, he switched to a smaller sized version and on Day Three caught a 6 pound 3 ounce largemouth with it. The big fish was barely hooked on 10-pound test Stren, but Mitchell boat-flipped it into his Ranger. Three casts later, the rear treble came out.
He wasn’t the only competitor using a spoon. Third place finisher Jack Chancellor relied on Mann-O-Lures and Hopkins spoons, as well as the Carolina-rigged “Do Nothing” worm that would produce his Classic victory in 1985.
For Allen, later nicknamed “The Legend,” this marked the fourth of his 15 Classics, and the first of his four Top 5 finishes. He used a chartreuse/white single blade Strike King spinnerbait and a 5-inch grape Ditto Gator Tail worm with a 1/8 ounce weight.
Paul Elias, then sporting a truly stupendous beard, won the 1982 Classic with a deep-diving crankbait, utilizing the “kneel and reel” technique. It was his third Classic and like Allen he has now competed in 15. He has finished in the top 5 on three more occasions, coming closest in 1988 on the James River, when he finished 4th. Elias continues to compete in Elite Series competition and last competed in the Classic in 2011.
Click here to watch the video of the 1981 Classic. Turn the speakers up during the opening montage at your own risk.
Here are two pieces about Mitchell from Bassmaster.com:
And here’s one I wrote for Wired2Fish: