Monday Trivia – World’s Most Famous Bass Answer and Winner (Sept. 25, 2014)

"Leroy Brown" by Mann's Lures

“Leroy Brown” by Mann’s Lures

Congrats to Chad Keogh, who won this week’s trivia contest by what might be the closest margin of victory ever – just 1:00 minute ahead of his challenger, who also had the correct answers. Read below for the rest of the story, and get ready to play again next Monday.

We’re going with a little change of pace this week for our trivia challenge. The lure in the picture at left was created by Tom Mann and called “Leroy Brown.” It was a sinking vibrating bait, similar to a Rat-L-Trap style bait, and at one point was part of their “Hackleback” line of lures. However, this bait has one of the most interesting histories behind it.

If you’ve never heard the story, then it will be worth researching the answers to this week’s contest to find out some of the details. We’ll give the full scoop on Thursday when we announce a winner to the trivia contest. In the mean time though, to win all the Yamamotos this week, you’ll need to log on to your favorite search engine and answer the following 4 questions correctly.

  1. Name the year AND the bait that the real largemouth bass called Leroy Brown was caught on.
  2. Where did the name “Leroy Brown” come from?
  3. When the bass died 8 years later, Tom Mann bought a $4,000 tombstone/statue to sit at the fishes gravesite. Which country did the statue come from?
  4. To make an already interesting story even more so, what strange occurrence happened shortly after the fishes funeral?

Leroy Brown was a smallish bass of just about a pound when Tom Mann first captured him in 1973 on a strawberry Jellyworm. Something about the look of the fish immediately struck him as different from any other bass he had caught before, and so Tom took the fish home and put him in his super sized aquarium at “Fish World.”

The fish defended his territory inside the aquarium, and was said to have never struck another lure placed into the tank over his many years of captivity. It was even said he would at times discourage other bass in the tank from striking some of the lures tested. Hence, the fish got the name “Leroy Brown” from the popular Jim Croce song of the time, “Bad, Bad Leroy Brown,” also released in 1973.

Leroy Brown makes the news; March 28, 1981 Florence Times Tri-Cities Daily

Leroy Brown makes the news; March 28, 1981 Florence Times Tri-Cities Daily

Leroy Brown was a big tourist attraction, so when he passed away about 8 years later, then somewhere north of being 6 pounds, he was held for about a month in a freezer until the arrival of a large B.A.S.S. event on Lake Eufaula. There, the fish was placed into a customized possum-belly Plano tacklebox as a coffin, and a funeral was held, attended by over 700 persons, and with the final words given by Ray Scott himself. The tombstone.statue, custom made in Germany and shipped over for the funeral, was said to have cost Tom $4,000. The fish was buried alongside the marker back on the Fish World property.

However, in what can only be classified as stranger than fiction, the Plano box and body of Leroy Brown was dug up and stolen overnight. Newspaper reports stated that there was a ransom note left, and Tom at one point put up a reward of $10,000 leading to the return of the fish, no questions asked. Contact was actually made with someone in an Oklahoma airport, where the fish was said to be, but nobody was ever caught, and no one ever claimed to have been the perpetrator of the crime. The fish was found by airline officials as abandoned luggage, but by that time, the deterioration of the fish was supposedly so bad, that the “body” couldn’t be returned. Other reports state there was a reburial. Either way, the whole episode made major headlines when it was picked up by AP News.

The statue/marker stayed in place at Fish World for the rest of Tom’s days, and also became a popular tourist attraction, with many write-ups over the years in local magazines and state tourist sites.