Bass Master Classic I – A Little Snow and a Broken Rebel

As many know, the Bass Anglers Sportsman Society was founded shortly after the 1967 Beaver Lake Invitational. By 1970, the organization had been around for three years and the newness was quickly wearing off and membership was slowing down. With the need to continue the growth of the “Society,” Ray (Scott) and Bob Cobb came up with the idea to hold what would be the world championship of bass fishing and hopefully get the press talking about B.A.S.S. The idea was to hold a tournament with only the best anglers taken from the year’s standings and have them fish for a winner-takes-all purse.

In order to add a bit of mystery to the event, it was decided that the event locale wouldn’t be divulged until the last minute, when all qualified anglers were held captive. There would also be members of the press invited to the event to not only write about it but to fish with the pros each day. [Read more…]

Scorecard Snapshot – Lure of the Rising Sun

A bevy of BASS winners past and future fished the 1998 Bassmaster New Mexico Western Invitational on Elephant Butte Reservoir. Included among their ranks were Ish Monroe (4th), Skeet Reese (11th), Mike Reynolds (21st), Aaron Martens (25th), Mike Folkestad (T31st ), John Murray (42nd), Byron Velvick (53rd), James Niggemeyer (90th) and Robert Lee (T135th). The field was also full of western studs like Larry Hopper, Gary Yamamoto, Bill Siementel, Greg Hines, Rich Tauber and Don Iovino.

Despite the fact that it was a stacked field, this was one of the rare Bassmaster tournaments where a local won. On a stingy lake that produced only five cumulative catches over 20 pounds in the course of three days, Elephant Butte, NM resident Dennis Hoy claimed the crown, beating runner-up Rich Iannolo by over four pounds.

It was Hoy’s only Top 20 finish with BASS, but it was significant to the history of tournament fishing for another reason. Do you know what it was? [Read more…]

The Tackle of the 1971 Bass Master Classic

Bobby Murray hoists a stringer from the 1971 Bass Master Classic. Photo Bass Master Magazine Jan/Feb 1972 Issue.

Being somewhat of a tackle buff, I found it very intriguing when I read about the tackle that Bobby Murray used and swore by at the time of the 1971 Bass Master Classic. While doing my research for the 1971 Season at a Glance series, I was reading about that year’s Classic and Bob Cobb had actually pinned down Bobby Murray to ask him his tackle preferences. For those of you who started bass fishing post 1990 the tackle may seem odd and crazy. But for those of you who actually fished in this era, this review will bring back some memories – some good and others that’ll make you scratch your head in bewilderment, how did we get away with that gear?

So, without further adieu, here’s what Murray considered his top gear of the time (1). [Read more…]

Season at a Glance: 1971 Bassmaster Trail – Part Three

Bobby Murray with his final-day string and Ray Scott presenting him with the $10,000 check for winning the first Bass Master Classic. Photo Bass Master Magazine Jan/Feb 1972.

This is part three of a three-part series on the 1971 Bassmaster Tournament Trail. To read Part One, click here and to read Part Two, click here.

The conclusion of the 1971 tournament season brought on a new twist in bass fishing – the first Bass Masters Classic – which would determine the first bass fishing World Champion. All year anglers fished to qualify for this event and at the end of the regular season, the top 24 anglers were secretly placed on an airplane in Atlanta, GA and whisked through the sky westward to their final destination.

Once the plane hit the 10,000-foot level, Ray Scott stood up and announced the final destination for the event, Lake Mead in the stark Nevada desert. Here are a few of Ray’s words taken from the Jan/Feb issue of Bass Master Magazine regarding the disclosure of the event site.

“We’ve got the best bass fishermen in the world on this plane. You wouldn’t expect the World Series to be played on a Little League ball yard. Neither would you expect the World Championship of Bass Fishing to be held in a fish hatchery. We’re headed for Lake Mead on the Nevada-Arizona border. It will be the toughest fishing test of your angling careers. But, it’ll be worth it. To the victor goes $10,000 cash.” [Read more…]