The Bassmaster Classic – 1991 through 2000

Ken Cook hoists the 1991 Classic trophy for winning at the Chesapeake Bay, MD. Photo Bassmaster Magazine.

Ken Cook hoists the 1991 Classic trophy for winning at the Chesapeake Bay, MD. Photo Bassmaster Magazine.

By 1991 the Bassmaster Classic had become the event anglers aspired to win – weekend warriors through tour-level pros. The event had grown from a small gathering of anglers and media huddled together at the ramp in 1971 at Lake Mead, NV to sold-out stadiums in 1990. Although the event was centered around the anglers who qualified and the eventual winner, it grew into what we now know as Classic week filled with fan days, media events and one of if not the biggest public tackle shows in the world. [Read more…]

The Bassmaster Classic – 1981 through 1990

In 1981 Stanley Mitchell became the youngest angler to win a Bassmaster Classic. Photo Bassmaster Magazine.

In 1981 Stanley Mitchell became the youngest angler to win a Bassmaster Classic. Photo Bassmaster Magazine.

Yesterday we posted the first piece of this look back in Bassmaster Classic history – starting with the very first Classic held on Lake Mead, NV and ending with Classic X on the St. Lawrence River, NY. Today we continue with Classic XI and will move through Classic XX held in 1990.

1981: Bassmaster Classic XI – Lake Montgomery, AL

The second decade of the Bassmaster Classic started off in the hometown of B.A.S.S., Montgomery, AL. Forty-two anglers, including five from the Federation, would vie for the championship, including 21-year-old Stanley Mitchell of Fitzgerald, GA. Mitchell, the youngest angler to compete in Classic XI would not only claim that fact, he’d also become the youngest angler to ever win a Bassmaster Classic. [Read more…]

The Bassmaster Classics – 1971 through 1980

Bobby Murray would be the first angler to win a Bassmaster Classic. The event, held on Lake Mead, NV would start the fire that continues to this day.

Bobby Murray would be the first angler to win a Bassmaster Classic. The event, held on Lake Mead, NV would start the fire that continues to this day. Photo Bassmaster Magazine.

[Editor’s note: To read Part Two, Classics XI-XX click here]

Of all the weeks in the bass fishing world this week is probably the most followed by fans of the sport. It’s Bassmaster Classic week, the time when the world championship of bass fishing takes place. Over the years the Classic has been held in the autumn, summer and now the later winter. But the season doesn’t matter – it’s the biggest event in our sport and one that has made household names out of nobodies for decades.

In the spirit of Classic week, we’re going to finish out the week looking back at the first 30 years of Classic history. We’ll look at the winners, the near misses, and the techniques/patterns that cemented the winners in Bassmaster Classic history.

So let’s move on to the first 10 years [Read more…]

Monday Trivia – The Last Class from the West Answer and Winner (February 9, 2015)

The July-August 2002 cover of Bass West magazine showing the four anglers who made the Bassmaster Classic from the Western Opens. Back row from left to right are Mike O'Shea and Aaron Martens. Kneeling in front are Luke Clausen and Jack Gadlage.

The July-August 2002 cover of Bass West magazine showing the four anglers who made the Bassmaster Classic from the Western Opens. Back row from left to right are Mike O’Shea and Aaron Martens. Kneeling in front are Luke Clausen and Jack Gadlage.

Congrats to Andy Williamson for winning this week’s trivia contest sponsored by Gary Yamamoto Custom Baits! JKarbow also had the right answers but came in a little late on time. For the answers, please read below. 

As we prepare for the 2015 Bassmaster Classic this month, it’s easy to overlook how the landscape for professional anglers from the western United States has changed over the past few decades. The full-time pros in this year’s Classic field include Brett Hite (Arizona), Jared Lintner (California), Justin Lucas (Alabama, but originally from California), Aaron Martens (same as Lucas), James Niggemeyer (Texas, but originally from California), Brandon Palaniuk (Idaho), Clifford Pirch (Arizona), Dean Rojas (California) and Skeet Reese (California). While Brian Snowden is typically associated with the Ozarks region, he too cut his bass-fishing teeth in California. [Read more…]

Monday Trivia – The Last Class from the West (February 9, 2015)

Bass West cover from the July-August 2002 issue.

Bass West cover from the July-August 2002 issue.

As we prepare for the 2015 Bassmaster Classic this month, it’s easy to overlook how the landscape for professional anglers from the western United States has changed over the past few decades. The full-time pros in this year’s Classic field include Brett Hite (Arizona), Jared Lintner (California), Justin Lucas (Alabama, but originally from California), Aaron Martens (same as Lucas), James Niggemeyer (Texas, but originally from California), Brandon Palaniuk (Idaho), Clifford Pirch (Arizona), Dean Rojas (California) and Skeet Reese (California). While Brian Snowden is typically associated with the Ozarks region, he too cut his bass-fishing teeth in California.

In the past, most western pros who wanted to make a run at the mostly-southeastern Bassmaster Tour moved to the east, like Gary Klein and Jay Yelas. There were a few holdouts, like Rich Tauber, Dave Gliebe, and Mike Folkestad, but they never approached the numbers that compete on the tours today. [Read more…]

Monday Trivia – Carving up the St. Johns Answer and Winner (January 12, 2015)

Kim Carver. Photo FLWOutdoors.com.

Kim Carver. Photo FLWOutdoors.com.

[Editor’s note: Remember, the rules have changed for the Monday trivia contest. You are now allowed to win three times per calendar year rather than three times only.]

We had two people answer the trivia contest this week and by virtue of answering first, congratulations to Steve Quinn for winning!  For the answers please read below.

Kim Carver may not be a household name to many of the more recent vintage of bass fishing fans, but the Georgia pro has had a solid career on the water. Among those who follow the sport closely, he’s probably best known for his $100,000 victory in the 1998 Red Man All-American on the Mississippi River out of Lacrosse, Wisconsin, where the leaderboard included a who’s-who list not only of Red Man superstars, but also current Elite Series pros Skeet Reese (6th), Jeff Kriet (13th), David Walker (17th), Steve Kennedy (23rd), Stephen Browning (24th) and John Murray (39th). He’d been the runner up in the prior year’s All-American in Pine Bluff, Arkansas. Along the way, he’s notched six other Red-Man/BFL wins, including three Regionals, with the most recent victory coming on his home lake, Sinclair, in May of 2014. [Read more…]

Monday Trivia – Carving up the St. Johns (January 12, 2015)

Kim Carver. Photo FLWOutdoors.com.

Kim Carver. Photo FLWOutdoors.com.

[Editor’s note: Remember, the rules have changed for the Monday trivia contest. You are now allowed to win three times per calendar year rather than three times only.]

Kim Carver may not be a household name to many of the more recent vintage of bass fishing fans, but the Georgia pro has had a solid career on the water. Among those who follow the sport closely, he’s probably best known for his $100,000 victory in the 1998 Red Man All-American on the Mississippi River out of Lacrosse, Wisconsin, where the leaderboard included a who’s-who list not only of Red Man superstars, but also current Elite Series pros Skeet Reese (6th), Jeff Kriet (13th), David Walker (17th), Steve Kennedy (23rd), Stephen Browning (24th) and John Murray (39th). He’d been the runner up in the prior year’s All-American in Pine Bluff, Arkansas. Along the way, he’s notched six other Red-Man/BFL wins, including three Regionals, with the most recent victory coming on his home lake, Sinclair, in May of 2014. [Read more…]

Monday Trivia – Ranger Boats Answer and WInner (December 15,2014)

Guess who has a new owner?

Guess who has a new owner?

Congrats to Rob Melendez for winning this week’s trivia contest sponsored by Gary Yamamoto Custom Baits! For the answers to this week’s contest, please read below.

Seems like all the talk in the bass fishing world for the past several days has been about the new owner of Ranger Boats. Keeping this week’s trivia question timely, and perhaps a bit easier than the past couple, you’ll need to answer these 4 questions related to Ranger Boats in order to claim this week’s trivia prize, sponsored by Gary Yamamto Custom Baits. Good luck.

  1. The new owners now become the 5th entity to have owned Ranger boats since their start. Name all 5 company owners to date.
  2. May 1971 was a significant date in Ranger history. Why?
  3. Shortly after orders in the new Ranger Boat Co. took off, expanded operations were moved into a former dance hall in town. What was the  name of that old hall?
  4. Now a long time member of Triton Boats Pro Staff, what Elite Series pro traveled with Basil Bacon while he was on Ranger’s pro-staff back in the 80s?

The answers follow: [Read more…]

Champion Bass Magazine

The premier issue fo Champion Bass, put out by the same publisher of Bass West magazine.

The premier issue fo Champion Bass, put out by the same publisher of Bass West magazine.

Champion BASS magazine is another one of the short-lived bass magazines that many of us hoped would serve as a long-term supplement to the efforts of stalwarts like Bassmaster and In-Fisherman.

Within this issue’s advertisements, founder Ray Crosby made it apparent that he intended this one for mature audiences only: “Due to the advanced information contained in Champion BASS, it is NOT recommended for beginning or amateur bass fishermen,” he wrote. He further stated that he would not cover tournament results or politics, just hard core tournament tactics. Toward that end, he assembled a team including Jay Yelas, Kevin VanDam, Gary Klein, Ken Cook, Shaw Grigsy, Guido Hibdon and David Fritts to serve as regular columnists on the topics of their expertise. Berkley’s Dr. Keith Jones also penned an article under the heading “Bass Biology.” [Read more…]

Monday Trivia – Quit While You’re Ahead? Answer and Winner (Sept 29, 2014)

Robert Byrd weighs a stout fish in his only Bassmaster win in 1989. Photo July/August 1989 issue of Bassmaster Magazine. Gerald Crawford.

Robert Byrd weighs a stout fish in his only Bassmaster win in 1989. Photo July/August 1989 issue of Bassmaster Magazine. Gerald Crawford.

Unfortunately no one won this week’s trivia contest sponsored by Gary Yamamoto Custom Baits. Duke Jenkle made a good effort and got 2 of 3 answers right. For the answer, please read below.

Twenty five years ago, professional bass fishing was well-enough established that there were full-time pros and those who aspired to be like them. But for one week in May of 1989 Robert Byrd made it look easy to come from nowhere and beat the best of the best. Well, it wasn’t quite out of nowhere. The 52 year-old Texas guide had a substantial knowledge base, but it was nevertheless impressive that he won the first B.A.S.S. event he entered, the Alabama Invitational on Lake Guntersville. Byrd caught 60 pounds 7 ounces of Guntersville bass over three days to beat runner-up Charlie Reed by over 6 pounds. The money line (50th place out of 325 contestants) was 37-07. [Read more…]

Yelas and Nixon Talk Sponsorships

Jay Yelas and Larry Nixon talk about attaining sponsors. Photo Brenda Serrano.

Jay Yelas and Larry Nixon talk about attaining sponsors. Photo Brenda Serrano.

Every angler wishing to become a pro dreams of the day they can fish off of someone else’s dime. But what’s it take to get there? In the old days, anglers fished hard and let their scores do the talking for them. Today, though, it seems the new crop of anglers are doing it backwards. Is there a correct way to go about it?

Over the years the fishing industry has grown into a multi-billion dollar industry. Surely there’s room for Joe Weekend angler to be a part of it. But, when it comes down to it, the industry is quite small. Making a name for yourself is the name of the game and the bigger your name, the bigger your paycheck. [Read more…]

James Niggemeyer – The Move to Fork

James Niggemeyer talks about his move to Texas and a successful, yet, financially taxing 2005 season. Photo Brenda Serrano.

James Niggemeyer talks about his move to Texas and a successful, yet, financially taxing 2005 season. Photo Brenda Serrano.

A couple weeks ago we posted a video about James Niggemeyer and the first pivotal tournament of his career, the one that actually kept him in competitive fishing. Today we have another video on James’ career – how he packed up and left southern California to move to Lake Fork Texas and started a new path towards being a professional angler. [Read more…]