The most notable tournament of Jim Bitter’s career, at least to the general public, might be the one that got away – the 1989 Bassmaster Classic in which the winning fish, already in the boat, slipped out of his hands and back into Virginia’s James River. He never finished out his limit that final day and Hank Parker beat him by two ounces to take the crown. It was the first of Bitter’s seven Classic appearances and only once more did he crack the top ten.
Despite that apparent black cloud hanging over his legacy, Bitter had a more-than-solid career with B.A.S.S., notching five victories, including three over an eight month stretch in 1995. Those last three victories came on a diverse set of waterways – Sam Rayburn (February), Minnetonka (August) and the Hudson River (September).
His first victory had come in 1989, in a Megabucks event on the Harris Chain, near his Florida home, but his second came three years later on the Potomac River. He won the Potomac event by over 7 pounds. He was so confident in his fortunes that even though he didn’t lead after Day One, he told the weigh-in crowd that day that he’d win the tournament.
As stated above, it wasn’t his first victory, nor was it his last. Do you remember why this tournament in particular put him on the map?