Monday Trivia – When the “Big G” Wasn’t So Big Answer and Winner (January 20, 2014)

Photo Bassmaster.com

Photo Bassmaster.com

Unfortunately no one won this week’s trivia contest. One really good guess but this serves to show you that because one good answer is on top, doesn’t mean it’s right.  Keep playing!

What does it take to win a three day bass tournament in the spring on Alabama’s Lake Guntersville?

What if you were allowed a seven fish limit?

Given the lake’s big bass reputation, it wouldn’t be unreasonable to believe that it might take a hundred pounds or more to get the job done. With a five fish limit in the upcoming Bassmaster Classic, many pundits and fans predict that nothing less than 70 pounds will get the job done.

Things weren’t always that way, though. Guntersville’s numbers of bass, and the quality thereof, are attributable largely to the lake’s massive grass beds, and under the Tennessee Valley Authority’s weed reduction program in the early 1990s, the fishery suffered substantially. When George Cochran weighed in 21 bass for just over 55 pounds (approximately a 2 ½ pound average) in the April 1992 Alabama Invitational on Guntersville, the overall weights were disappointing, but not necessarily surprising. It was the second win of his B.A.S.S. career, coming a little less than five years after his first Classic win, when he’d tallied a tad over 15 pounds on the Ohio River to outlast second place finisher Rick Clunn by 2 ½ pounds.

Gentleman George won five more times in his B.A.S.S. career, but didn’t surpass the 55-01 total from 1992 until his final victory in 2004. That win was also at Guntersville, but it was a far different event. His 20 bass missed pushing the scales to triple digits by 6 ounces, as he beat second place finisher Stacy King’s 90-01 total by over 9 ½ pounds.

In order to win this week’s trivia contest, answer the following three questions about Cochran’s wins:

  1. What lures did he use to win at Guntersville in 1992?
  2. Which member of the field caught the biggest one-day limit at the 1992 Alabama Invitational?
  3. What lures did he use to win at Guntersville in 2004 and what media controversy surrounded his catch?

Here are the answers:

Photo July/August 1992 issue of Bassmaster Magazine.

Photo July/August 1992 issue of Bassmaster Magazine.

Cochran’s 1992 win was bittersweet. Obviously, any victory on the tour is meaningful and coveted, but he’d been through a lot in the previous 12 months. The prior year he’d missed the Bassmaster Classic for the first time since 1982, and had lost his father after a long illness. He skipped the 1991 Oklahoma Invitational to attend the funeral. Shortly thereafter he learned that his mother had terminal cancer.

Still, he persevered and fished well enough in the 1991-92 season to qualify for the first of a string of nine consecutive Classics, including another win in 1996 and a runner-up finish in 1998.

While it’s expected that this February’s Classic will be won with power fishing lures like lipless crankbaits, jerkbaits and swimbaits, in April of 1992 many of the leaders relied almost exclusively on jigs and plastics. Perhaps not surprisingly, Kevin VanDam was a partial exception. He told Bassmaster that he had as many as a dozen rods on the deck and caught most of his fish on jerkbaits and Rat-L-Traps.

Cochran tube jigCochran generally used two lures in his 1992 win: a pumpkin/chartreuse tube jig on an HP hook and a brown/chartreuse Strike King jig with matching pork. He fished them on 6- and 10-pound line, respectively.

While Cochran weighed in 20 pound bags each of the first two days, Earl Perret of Alabama caught the biggest limit of the tournament on Day One with a 30-05 bag. Alas, he could only add 12-03 combined over the next two days and ended up 10th. It was his best finish in 61 B.A.S.S. tournaments.

Strike King Wild Shiner.

Strike King Wild Shiner.

In 2004, Cochran won again at Guntersville with a 99-10 total – four bags that weighed 20-12, 25-05, 23-10 and 29-15 to close out the deal. He credited friend Larry Nixon with putting him on a jerkbait bite and told BassFan that his main lure was a Strike King Wild Shiner (bone/green back). Some bass fans took apart the subsequent television broadcast of the tournament and claimed that it had not been a Strike King model at all, but rather the relatively-new Lucky Craft Pointer. The message boards were abuzz with chatter about it, but the matter was never definitively resolved.