Today, a look back at was was happening in bass fishing history for the month of April.
10 YEARS AGO: April 10, 2003, and “Fish Chris” Wolfgram, host of the then “Trophy Bass Only” website catches his personal best largemouth weighing 18.4lb from Rancho Seco, California. The bass becomes the new Rancho Seco lake record, but this fish is only the start of a string of giant California big bass catches that is about to go down over the next couple months.
15 YEARS AGO: It’s April, 1998, and it’s going to be Denny Brauer’s year on the Bassmaster tournament trail. He starts by winning the Georgia Bassmaster Top 100 on Richard B. Russell Lake (April 9-11), then follows it up with another win in the 1998 North Carolina Bassmaster Top 100 on the Neuse And Trent Rivers (Apr 16 – Apr 18 1998). Denny would go on to win his only Bassmaster Classic title on High Rock lake later that year.
20 YEARS AGO: The weather is horrible down on Kentucky Lake, and B.A.S.S. will shorten the event by one day. Still, Norio Tanabe will win the 1993 Kentucky Invitational and become the first “foreigner” to win a B.A.S.S. event. According to tourney reports, Tanabe “located bass along the points of pea-gravel bars after noticing bass chasing shad in the area. The fish were suspended, and Tanabe and first-round partner Ron Veith used weighted Smithwick Magnum Rogues (clown color) to catch their mixed bag of smallmouths and largemouths. Tanabe, who wound up with 43 pounds, 6 ounces, credited Veith with showing him the slow retrieve necessary to keep the lure in the strike zone longer.”
26 YEARS AGO: For those who are fans and followers of Rick Clunn, “Rick Clunn’s Seasonal Patterns for Bass”, arguably one of the best magazine pieces ever written and detailing Rick’s approach to finding bass on “new” waters across the country is just being published in Book #72, the April/May, 1987 issue of In-Fisherman. The story is penned by Paul Prorok, who will later go on to produce and edit one of the best bass books of all-time, Bill Murphy’s “In Pursuit of Giant Bass.”
30 YEARS AGO: April, 1983 and according to this Field & Stream ad, bass anglers can buy a Mercury powered Ranger bass rig for just $9,000. It’s a spring promotional effort that will begin April 8.
40 YEARS AGO: April, 1973 – The Ross Barnett Rebel Invitational would be a turning point for the season and also a turning point for lure development – especially hand-crafted wood crankbaits. Roland Martin will use a ‘home-made plug’ carved from balsa (the Cotton Cordell Big-O) to win this event. The Big-O is also considered the first alphabet lure, which later became one of the most popular styles of crankbaits. According to written reports, beside Roland’s win, “On one cast, Dave Hilton earned over $2,000 at the Rebel Invitational (he caught big fish for the event and won the Ranger boat package)…and runner-up Bobby Murray got hung up, lost his, and had a special shipment rushed in by bus to fish the finals.”