Monday Trivia – BASSfest Answers and Winner (June 1, 2015)

Jacob Wheeler, the inaugural winner of BASSfest.

Jacob Wheeler, the inaugural winner of BASSfest.

We had a pair of very good guesses, but unfortunately, no winner for this week’s trivia contest sponsored by Gary Yamamoto Custom Baits. For detailed answers to this week’s question, read below.

This week marks the return of BASSfest. The inaugural event featuring both Elite Series as well as Open anglers was held on Lake Chickamauga in 2014. The winner of that event was Jacob Wheeler, one of the anglers from the Open side of entrants. He edged out Kevin Vandam in a final day shootout that featured both anglers topping the 20 pound mark. This year, the event moves to Kentucky Lake, with just a few minor changes. While there were again invites sent to Open anglers, that offer went out to just the top 10 in each division, and only 11 anglers accepted. Additionally, the Elite Series anglers will be accumulating AOY points based upon their finish in this year’s event. Unfortunately, there was no invitation extended to last year’s winner, meaning their won’t be any chance of a repeat winner, nor of a possible “rivalry” storyline to develop. [Read more…]

Not so Bitter Anymore: The 1990 Golden Blend Championship

The cover of the January/February edition of Bass Fishing magazine, the publication of Operation Bass, had Jim Bitter front and center for his Golden Blend Championship win.

The cover of the January/February edition of Bass Fishing magazine, the publication of Operation Bass, had Jim Bitter front and center for his Golden Blend Championship win.

Back in November, we solicited information from readers about the history of the Operation Bass Golden Blend tournament series. We’d put together a basic outline of the circuit’s history, but we had little meat to put on those bones. Thanks to one of our great readers and supporters, Andy Williamson, we have a bit more to add.

In that original article, we mentioned Jim Bitter’s 1990 win on Lake Chickamauga. Specificially, we explained that “[t]he win marked a strong period in Bitter’s career, as he’d won MegaBucks IV on the Harris Chain two years earlier.” Left unsaid was the fact that it came on the heels of what is for many – fairly or unfairly – the defining moment of Bitter’s long career, his failure to win the 1989 Bassmaster Classic. As you may recall, Bitter had the winning fish in his hand, but when he went to re-measure it under the gaze of Tim Tucker’s camera, it slipped from his hand and back into the James River. Hank Parker ended up beating him by two ounces. Gone were not only the lasting glory of a Classic win, but also the $50,000 top prize. [Read more…]

Revisiting Lake Havasu – 1985

Rick in the Champions jacket, awaiting the signing of the check. photo by Rodney Boyd/FLW Outdoors.

Rick in the Champions jacket, awaiting the signing of the check. photo by Rodney Boyd/Operation Bass.

When the Bassmaster Elite Series anglers take off Thursday morning on Day 1 of the second arm of their Western series swing, this time on Lake Havasu, there will likely be some strong memories for several of the anglers. One of those will certainly be Rick Clunn. It was 30 years ago when Rick won the RedMan All-American, and the resulting $100,000 prize, his first such six-figure check. Back then, even the Bassmaster Classic only paid $50,000.

The magazine of Operation Bass at the time was called CAST Magazine, and they covered this event in their January/February 1986 issue at great length. Anglers took off each day from under the London Bridge – THE London Bridge from childhood song. The story of the bridge itself is rather fascinating. According to a Lake Havasu tourism website; [Read more…]

The First Season of the Red Man Trail

Red Man Tournament Trail Patch.

Red Man Tournament Trail Patch.

Many of us who immersed ourselves into the world of competitive bass fishing in the 1990s or after the turn of the century tend to assume that there were always stable nationwide organized circuits for the weekend angler. We may have known that what are now the BFLs were previously the Red Man circuit, but we don’t have a sense of when and where the Red Mans were born.

As Terry has detailed previously, old issues of CAST Magazine are a treasure trove of information about that era, and provide an incredible look back at the origins of the BFLs. [Read more…]

A Look Through Bassmaster Magazine: 10 Years Ago

Bassmaster Magazine, March 2004

Bassmaster Magazine, March 2004

The fishing industry is always changing – new products, new companies, new anglers. I randomly grabbed a Bassmaster magazine sitting on my shelf from 10 years ago (March 2004) and was looking through the ads mostly, when it struck me how much has changed…and how much has stayed the same. Here’s what I found.

Starting off with the cover photo for this issue, a widely grinning Timmy Horton wearing a BOOYAH Baits visor. As best I can tell, it seems Timmy is no longer on their pro staff, a fairly recent event from what I can gather. Next is a big, two page ad for Lucky Craft, where I noticed all the crankbait lines available then are still available now. However, it appears their spinner line has changed, with the current website not showing the BMH and MH-1s from the ad. Looks like they’re sticking mostly with what made them famous, their hi-tech line of hard baits, now expanded and larger than ever. However, a quick look at the national pro staff pics from that ad did reveal a few personnel changes. Still around are Kelly Jordon, Tak, Skeet and Joe Thomas. However, it appears Gerald Swindle, Marty Stone and Mike Auten are no longer part of that team. [Read more…]

Ultimate Match Fishing – In the 80s?

1982 Challenge Match Fishing schedule. Taken from the Nov/Dec 1981 issue of Western Bass Magazine.

In 2005, FLW Tour pro Joe Thomas started what has easily become one of the most-watched television shows in the history of competitive fishing – Ultimate Match Fishing. The show, pits 12 professional anglers from each of the major tours, the BASS Elite Series and the FLW Tour, against each other in a single-elimination format. Once the first elimination round is completed, the six remaining anglers are sent to the quarter finals where three pros advance on their merits and one wildcard is announced. These four anglers then participate in the semi-finals and the two winning anglers are then paired to the championship match.

UMF is seen by all, the viewers and the competitors, as some of the purest fishing there is. There are four 90-minute quarters and each angler gets control of the boat for two quarters. Prior to the match, a coin toss determines who will get boat control in what quarters. There are also penalties associated with casting in the other angler’s territory. Anglers are made to think both offensively and defensively.

Anyway, we’ve all seen the show so there’s no need to belabor it anymore.

So, what if I told you this concept wasn’t new? What if I told you it was originally conceived in the late 70s and actually ran on TV in the early 80s? Well, that’s what I’m telling you. [Read more…]