The 1970 B.A.S.S. All-American was remarkable for a number of reasons, some obvious, some not. Check out the final results and see what you think.
What jumps out for me at first is the fact that two of the greatest anglers of all time finished one-two. You can argue that Dance and Martin may no longer be the greatest tournament anglers of all time, that Clunn and VanDam have surpassed them – and you’d have a valid case – but combined with their TV presence and promotional/educational efforts, there can be no doubt that they’re in the pantheon.
Look down a few places to 5th and there’s another legendary angler. The Tom Mann seen here is the Jelly Worm innovator, not the spotted bass expert from Georgia. While the late Mann had some good tournaments in his BASS career, qualifying for seven Classics, he’s almost certainly better known as a tackle manufacturer and magnate.
Those three caught my attention, but there’s a fourth legend in the small field: Al Lindner (15th).
Lindner is best-known as a multi-species genius and one of the founders of the In-Fisherman empire, but he also had a pretty stout career at BASS. The 1970 All-American was Lindner’s first BASS event. His last was the 1978 Virginia Invitational on Lake Gaston.
He only fished 26 BASS events, but qualified for three Classics. Along the way he won two tournaments, the 1974 Tennessee Invitational at Watts Bar Reservoir and the 1977 Virginia Invitational on Lake Gaston. That puts him above Clunn and Martin’s career winning percentages, 3.7% and 6.7%, respectively, and just below KVD’s 8.3% clip, although it has to be noted that the other three all fished in a minimum of 242 BASS events.
Both of Lindner’s wins took place below the Mason-Dixon line. You might suspect that he cherry-picked a few northern derbies but an examination of his BASS record shows that the only time he competed in the North was the 1977 New York Invitational on the St. Lawrence River. Lindner finished 27th in that event, nearly 20 pounds off the lead over three days, but he still made the money, winning a whopping $230.01. Indeed, he made the check line 14 times in 26 events. Unfortunately, the paydays were meager back then and his total earnings amounted to just over $26,000. The majority of that was comprised of the $17,775 he won at Gaston. Fortunately, he had that little In-Fisherman deal to fall back on.