Mike Terry dominated the 1993 Top 100 on Alabama’s Lake Martin, beating runner-up David Fritts by nearly 14 pounds.
It was Terry’s only BASS victory, and certainly the highlight of his 58 tournaments on the senior circuit. That’s not to say that his career was otherwise uneventful – indeed, he finished in the top ten on seven occasions (12%) and qualified for two Bassmaster Classics. Still, Terry is probably not best remembered for his exploits on the BASS side of things.
His career at BASS was relatively short, his last entry coming in February of 2000, but he was one of an army of stellar young pros in the 1990s who hailed from the Kentucky Lake region. In addition to Terry, their ranks included young guns like Mike Auten, Terry Bolton, Dan Morehead and Shawn Penn. Whereas Okeechobee and Toledo Bend had once been places where young bass pros went to guide and hone their skills, it seems that Kentucky Lake usurped that role for a period of time before sending it back to Texas (Lake Fork, Falcon, Amistad) over the past decade. The talents of that crew can be seen in these results – in addition to Terry, Auten finished 4th. In fact, Terry reported that they fished the same cover, catching over 50 pounds of bass between them off one tree.
But despite this moment of BASS glory, Terry’s real claim to fame came with another organization. He won the 1996 Forrest Wood Open on Kerr Reservoir in the first year of the FLW Tour. That earned him $100,000, but while it may have been the most lucrative tournament of his career, it might not have been his most significant triumph. The Tennessee pro made a bigger splash earlier in his career, back when FLW Outdoors was known as Operation BASS.
In 1992, Terry won a Red Man tournament (the predecessor of today’s BFLs) on Kentucky Lake with a whopping 38-14 catch of largemouths.
That catch remained the organization’s single-day record for well over a decade. James Stricklin made a run at it in a 2007 TTT event on Lake Amistad, but ultimately fell over a pound short. Greg Hackney finally broke it in 2008 at the East-West Fish-Off on Falcon with a 39-11 sack. Keith Combs subsequently broke Hackney’s record with 41-01 in 2010, again at Falcon. While those records shouldn’t be diminished in any way, suffice it is to say that while Kentucky Lake is a good fishery it’s no Amistad or Falcon. That doesn’t necessarily make Terry’s catch more impressive, just different.
While Terry last fished BASS in 2000 and ceased fishing the FLW Tour after 1999, he continues to dabble in BFL and AAA-level events close to home. Apparently he can still catch ‘em, too – he won a 2010 BFL with a one-day catch of 27-02. That’s more than 10 pounds behind his 1992 catch, but still nothing to scoff at.