Congratulations to Rod Yoder for winning the Bass Fishing Archives Trivia Contest! He nailed the first part about Hurricane Hugo, and while he didn’t quite get the second portion, he did identify an notable fact about the co-angler field. In the spirit of good sportsmanship (and recognizing that Pete’s mind is occasionally difficult to read) we will award him the prize for a stout effort. Read below for the answer.
Our Bass Fishing Archives readers have demonstrated that they are remarkably adept at figuring out my little puzzles. Accordingly, this week we’re going to try something a little bit different – instead of asking you to answer one question, you’ll have to describe two different notable aspects of the subject tournament. Herewith, our first two-parter:
By the time the 1989 season rolled around, Guido Hibdon had won three B.A.S.S. events. The first two, in 1980 and 1981, were on his home waters of Lake of the Ozarks. The third was the 1988 Bassmaster Classic on Virginia’s James River. Apparently that triggered a tidal river awakening for Hibdon, because he went on to win the Maryland Top 100 in 1989 on the Potomac River.
Hibdon’s win on the Potomac is significant in my mind for two reasons. The first is the tournament strategy and weather conditions that enabled him to win. For the second, you’ll have to look at the co-angler standings.
Hibdon banked his tournament hopes that year on tiny Kanes Creek, a small ditch off of Belmont Bay which itself is a portion of the Occoquan River tributary. Kanes might have room for a couple of boats to fish, but given its size the idea that it could produce a winning stringer over four days of competition seems laughable.
Fortunately for Hibdon, he didn’t have to make it last four days – just three. After Day Two, Hurricane Hugo rumbled up the east coast in the direction of the Potomac. The forecasts, according to Bassmaster, predicted 70mph winds and 5 to 10 inches of rain. As a result, Tournament Director Dewey Kendrick canceled the third day of competition. At the time, Hibdon trailed leader John Hale of Texas, as well as Gary Klein and Paul Elias.
Surprisingly, the weather was relatively tame on the canceled day. Competition resumed on Saturday, and this time the Mother Nature took her toll. In the early afternoon temperatures dropped 30 degrees and high winds, combined with the tidal influence, made for nasty fishing and driving conditions. Hale struggled with lost fish in the morning, then stopped getting bites altogether when the cold front hit. Klein’s main river drop stopped producing and he scrambled to catch a small limit. Elias broke his trolling motor and failed to catch a fish. Meanwhile, the cagey Hibdon, tucked away in a protected creek, landed over 14 pounds of largemouths to claim the win by nearly 5 pounds. The leaderboard shuffled substantially, with Hale, Klein and Elias falling to 20th, 7th and 28th place, respectively. Meanwhile, Jack Hains and Tommy Biffle snuck into 2nd and 3rd.
On the amateur side, Alabama’s Loyd Tallent was the only non-boater to weigh-in limits on all three days of competition. That’s not what makes him memorable to me, though.
Remember, this was a long time before either Ish Monroe or Dean Rojas graced the B.A.S.S. stage and well before the introduction of the Phat Frog or the SPRO Bronzeye that have earned them a lot of cash. Throughout the 70s and 80s there were a few anglers who doted on a hollow-bodied frog (Alfred Williams comes to mind) but Tallent was one of the driving forces behind the technique’s acceleration. He invented the Guntersville “Rat,” which he subsequently sold to Mann’s Bait Company, a baby step in the frog revolution, and his win in the grass at the Potomac was another step in the march.