Scorecard Snapshot – Roland’s Dominance Answer and Winner

Photo Bass Master Magazine February 1980 Issue.

Congratulations to Paul Wallace for winning the Bass Fishing Archives Trivia Contest with his correct answer! He phrased it as a question, “Jeopardy-style.” Going forward, the winner has to answer in the form of a declarative sentence or sentences and give a little bit of context to show that he knows what he’s talking about. Read below for our explanation of why Roland’s win was so meaningful.

Roland Martin’s victory in the November 1980 Florida Invitational on Lake Okeechobee was hardly a surprise to fishing fans at the time. Not only had he already won 11 B.A.S.S. events, but Okeechobee was his personal playground. He’d not previously had the chance to fish a B.A.S.S. event there, but when that opportunity arose, he made the most of it, beating runner-up Guy Eaker by nearly six pounds to claim $11,700 in total winnings.

Martin’s 48-02 over three days was more than double the amount of weight it took to earn a check in the event – 22-03 was enough for Tommy Martin to slip into the 40th place slot out of 275 anglers.

In addition to this win, Martin’s B.A.S.S. record at Okeechobee has been sterling. Excluding a 126th place bomb in one of the two Invitationals held there in 1986, here are his results:

  • 1982 Florida Invitational 22nd
  • 1984 Florida Invitational 4th
  • 1986 Florida Invitational 31st
  • 1987 Top 100 12th
  • 1988 Top 100 17th
  • 1990 Florida Invitational 39th
  • 1991 Florida Invitational 1st
  • 1998 Eastern Invitational 6th
  • 2001 Eastern Invitational 20th
  • 2003 Bassmaster Tour 10th

Certainly each of the two wins on Florida’s big bowl was special, but the 1980 victory has particular significance in B.A.S.S. history.

Roland went on a tear in late 1980 and early 1981, winning three B.A.S.S. events in a five month stretch. Indeed, if you add in the March 1980 Mississippi Invitational on Sardis Lake, he won four times in 12 months. But it’s the second, third and fourth wins in the streak that made it special.

In addition to winning at Okeechobee in November of 1980, he won at Toledo Bend in February of 1981 and at Alabama’s Lake Eufaula the following month. So what? Well, the Okeechobee tournament was the first tournament in the 1980-81 Bassmaster tournament trail, so not only did he win three tournaments in one season, but he actually won three in a row.

No one had previously managed to win three B.A.S.S. events in a row. Three in a calendar year had been done before prior to Martin’s 1980-81 surge, Bill Dance had won three in 1968 and 1970, and Roland himself had done it in 1973. Subsequently, Charlie Ingram accomplished the feat in 1984.

Finally, over two decades later, KVD won two E50s and the Classic back-to-back-to-back in 2005 to match Roland’s accomplishment. VanDam won three tournaments in calendar year 2010 as well – the Classic and then two summertime Elite Series tournaments.

  • As a big Rick Clunn fan, if you are familiar with past history, he and Roland weren’t necessarily what you’d call “buddies” (sounds like a future post). Yet to this day, Clunn credits Roland’s “3 in a row” as one of the greatest accomplishments in the sport. Here’s just one example of several you can find out there with some searching:

    RICK CLUNN: “Even in the very beginning, if I was going to quit my real job and become a professional angler, one of the things I really had to determine was how much luck would control my fate,” Clunn recalls. “Even though I believed in my heart that the science and art of fishing could diminish luck down to where it wasn’t a factor, I still wasn’t convinced until Roland Martin won three times in a row. Although most of the competitors were moaning and groaning because of professional jealousy or whatever, I was tickled to death. When he won three in a row I knew the man had the science down to where he wasn’t allowing luck to play a very big role.”

    -Bass Edge, Steve Brigman excerpt