Let’s return to this great concept that Brian started up. Another month, another quick look at the anniversaries of major events:
5 YEARS AGO: Western legend Gary Dobyns won the US Open for the first time at age 50, beating 2014 winner (and now three-time champion) Clifford Pirch by over 3 pounds to take the title after numerous near misses. According to the BassFan report of the event, Dobyns battled nausea and dehydration to take the brass ring with a total catch of 32.91 pounds over three days. His primary tools were a Gary Yamamoto Hula Grub, a Lucky Craft DBS4 and a Lucky Craft Gunfish 95. The boat included as part of the prize package was the 40th that he’d won in competition.
10 YEARS AGO: Jon Storm, previously with Bass West USA and North American Fisherman, joined BassFan.com as Editor. The site, unlike anything the bass world had previously seen, had been launched three years earlier by visionaries including Terry Brown and Jay Kumar – with headlines like “Is Rufus Johnson The Next VanDam?” – but the addition of Storm brought editorial rigor to the product. The site was sold to InterMedia Outdoors three years later and continues to thrive as the leading source of independent bass fishing news. Storm subsequently left for FishHound.com and is now working outside of the fishing industry.
15 YEARS AGO: Mike Iaconelli earns the first of his six Bassmaster tour-level wins (to date) in the 1999 Vermont Bassmaster Top 150 on Lake Champlain, beating runner-up Rick Clunn by a little less than two pounds. Clunn’s “brother” Randy Fite finishes third. Iaconelli had won the Federation Championship earlier that year, but was still working full-time at Dick’s Sporting Goods in New Jersey and had to ask his boss for the time off.
20 YEARS AGO: Roland Martin earns the 18th of his 19 B.A.S.S. victories with 49 pounds 11 ounces of Connecticut River bass, beating runner-up Denny Brauer in the first national tournament on the urban northeastern river. As we’ve discussed previously on the Bass Fishing Archives, Martin used a jet boat to access the upper reaches of the river, where he tempted smallmouths with a Yamamoto Hula Grub. This led many other competitors to acquire jet boats, with some dragging two vessels to events for years to come. Prior to the 2012 Elite Series season, however, B.A.S.S. added a rule which forced pros to commit to a single boat for an entire season, though they would still have their choice of boats in the 2012 Classic and in the Opens. FLW prohibited jet boats in their events in 2005.
30 YEARS AGO: Roland Martin dominated the Bassmaster 1984 Hudson River Invitational with 50 pounds 2 ounces of bass over three days, running the tide to beat runner-up Larry Williams of Ohio by 12 ½ pounds. It was the 16th win of his B.A.S.S. career, and second in 1984. He’d also earned two in 1981 and two in 1980. He used a Blue Fox spinnerbait with a Number 5 willowleaf blade and a Number 2 Colorado blade to claim the victory. Included in his catch was a 5-14 largemouth that earned him a Ranger boat, in addition to the one that was issued as part of the winner’s prize package.
40 YEARS AGO: John Farr wins the Bassmaster All-American on Clarks Hill Reservoir in South Carolina with a three-day weight of 41-10 to beat Danny Whaley by a little over a pound. 1980 Bassmaster Classic winner Villis “Bo” Dowden is third. Bass fishing legends Bill Dance, Tom Mann and Al Lindner finish 5th through 7th, respectively. It was the first B.A.S.S. event of Farr’s career, with the second being the 1974 Classic won by Tommy Martin a month later. After that, he went on hiatus for 34 years until he participated in two 2008 Elite Series tournaments as a co-angler. While he earned a check in all four Bassmaster events he fished, the last three combined didn’t add up to the $3,546 he earned at Clarks Hill. As Terry previously noted on the Bass Fishing Archives: “Farr caught nearly all of his fish in the Long Cane Creek area of the lake fishing a black 7 1/4-inch Crème Shimmy Gal worm in 6- to 8-feet of water on outside channel bends.”