Before the Bassmaster Trail and way before the Bassmaster Classic there was only one fishing event that even came close to determining who the best angler in the world was. That event was Hy Peskin’s World Series of Sportfishing. We’ve talked about the WSOSF here before (a simple search to the right will bring up a few good stories) but only in an overall manner. Today we’re going to look at one specific event, the 1963 WSOSF, as written in Don Fuelsch’s Southern Angler’s and Hunter’s Guide. But, before we go there, here are some of the particulars of the WSOSF.
In order to qualify for the event, anglers had to win their state championship – or country championship as this was an international event. The WSOSF wasn’t just a bass event, either. Nearly all fish counted with bass gaining the most points. But, you couldn’t win with only black bass. You had to have fish in multiple species categories in order to ensure the win.
The event was held over multiple days, generally between 4 and 5 days, with the first few days being qualifying rounds and the last day being the championship. Not only was the event long and required mastery of multiple species, they fished multiple bodies of water on many occasions – so as not to give any one angler an advantage. In fact, the 1960 event was held over 8 days on seven different lakes in Michigan.
The 1963 event was held solely on Bull Shoals Lake in Arkansas. It was a five-day event where the first four days consisted of qualifying for the final championship day. Midwest ringer Glen Andrews not only walked away with the qualifying round, he scored a perfect 204-point total over the course of four days – even with a daily 104-minute penalty because he was a guide.
If you’re unfamiliar with Andrews he was touted at the time as one of, if not the, best guides on Bull Shoals and the surrounding lakes. He’s the gentleman that helped Ray Scott organize the first All-American bass tournament on Beaver Lake in 1967 and he convinced Bill Dance to stay and fish that event after he got the jitters the night before and wanted to leave. He also won the WSOSF two years in a row, 1965 and 1966, the only angler to have ever done so. To say Andrews was a stud would be an understatement. In fact, Andrews was banned from fishing the 1964 event because of his guiding experience.
On the last day of the event, though, all the points were zeroed. Andrews, the obvious favorite, had to wait his 104 minutes before he could head out on the water. In the meantime, Ken White, a writer and photographer from Missouri, capitalized in the early morning with a 5-pound largemouth and ended up winning the event. Glen Andrews came in 2nd place.
Below is the tournament write up by Don Fuelsch. In it you’ll recognize a number of familiar names and personalities.