The May 1994 North Carolina Bassmaster Top 100 on Lake Norman marked the lone win in Mike Bingham’s B.A.S.S. career. It didn’t come easily to the Jackson, Mississippi pro, either. He’d been financing his fishing career by working as a mussel diver on Kentucky Lake, and had sold his boat earlier in the year when he’d determined that professional angling was a dead end. With a sudden change of heart, he got a boat at the last minute for Norman. According to Bassmaster, he’d planned to camp for the tournament but ended up rooming with a charitable Shaw Grigsby.
The tournament proved to be tough for the entire field. Even Bingham, the winner, only had 17 bass weighing 37-04 when the fourth day of competition ended. That tied him with his roommate Grigsby, who’d caught 20 bass to tally the same amount. In what Tim Tucker described as “the first championship overtime in the 27-year history of the Bass Anglers Sportsman Society,” the pair were given one more hour to fish to try to break the deadlock. At the end of that hour, Bingham came in with a single 2-pound, 1-ounce bass, while Grigsby had an empty livewell. As a result, the Mississippian took home $46,000 in cash and merchandise.
Unfortunately for Bingham, the success was fleeting. He fished 23 professional level B.A.S.S. tournaments after his victory (as well as some more recent Weekend Series events), the last one coming in May of 1999. Over that course of time, he only cracked the top ten once more. Perhaps not coincidentally, it was at Norman five months later, when he finished 4th.
While Bingham’s quest for stardom might not have been jump started by his victory, another modern superstar got a critical boost at the tournament Bingham won.
Do you remember who it was?