Although the two readers that commented on this week’s trivia contest were close, they both missed the last question, “who won big bass and what did he catch it on?”Come back next week for a chance to win a $25 e-coupon from Gary Yamamoto Custom Baits. For the answers, read below.
Texan Zell Rowland earned his first B.A.S.S. victory at the 1986 Super-Invitational, weighing in 27 bass over the course of four days that totaled 39 pounds 6 ounces and thereby beating 225 other pros. Since that time he’s won four more, including two wins at Alabama’s Lake Guntersville. The most recent B.A.S.S. trophy on his mantle came in 2005.
Rowland’s average of just under 10 pounds a day may seem paltry, but it looms large when viewed in the context of others’ catches – stars including Jack Chancellor (1 pound), Ken Cook (1-11) and Roland Martin (2-06) all failed to crack the code of Chattanooga’s Chickamauga and Nickajack Lakes.
Twenty seven years after that first victory, Zell continues to compete. In fact, this year he fished both tours and qualified for the Forrest Wood Cup, his first championship appearance on either tour since he fished five consecutive Bassmaster Classics from 2003 through 2007. Therefore, in honor of his longevity, this week’s trivia contest requires you to think back to 1986 and beyond and answer the following three questions:
- What lure did Rowland use to amass his catch and why was this tournament significant in that lure’s history?
- How old was Rowland when he fished his first B.A.S.S. tournament?
- Who caught the big bass in this tournament, and what lure did he catch it on?
Here are the answers:
In addition to being a big week for Rowland, the first week of June 1986 was a big week for Rebel Lures. He plied the TVA lakes’ milfoil with a 2 ½ inch Rebel Pop-R, a lure that had been discontinued, but remained one of the “secret baits” of several top pros. In fact, tackle shops in East Texas continued to order special runs of them, so it’s no surprise that fellow Texan Randy Dearman finished in 5th place using the same lure.
The lure was introduced in 1976 and then discontinued in 1978. As two-time Classic winner Bobby Murray told Lawrence Taylor of PRADCO: “Some bean-counter decided to drop it from the line.”
“Guys went to the tackle shop, and to them they looked like every other chugger bait on the market,” Rowland later told Bassmaster.com. “In 1986 I won a BASS Super Invitational in Chattanooga with it, then everyone wanted one. When they got them, they said, ‘Hell, this ain’t like anything out there.’ The sound and the action they make is unlike any other chug bait.”
Indeed, in many situations “I used a Pop-R” has become the generic phrase, like Kleenex or Coke, for fishing a popper or chugger-style lure.
Rowland’s first win came 16 years after fished his first B.A.S.S. event in 1970, at the age of 13. The long gap included a five year hiatus in competition because his early appearance led to the development of “the Zell Rowland Rule” imposing a minimum age of 18 to compete.
While Rowland came out on top in ’86, another topwater maestro came close. Missouri’s Charlie Campbell finished 2nd, exactly 3 pounds behind Rowland. While Bassmaster magazine reported that he caught most of his fish by “’ripping’ a minnow-type plug over submerged milfoil,” he caught the big bass of the event on a Heddon Zara Spook. The fish weighed 7 pounds 3 ounces. The Hall of Famer’s prowess with the lure is legendary and has been detailed in many places, including this In-Fisherman article as well as one in the most recent issue of Boat U.S. Angler. As noted previously on the Bass Fishing Archives, Campbell’s first major win with the lure came at the 1974 Bassmaster Chapter Championship, earning him a berth in the 1974 Classic.