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…]

Red Man – 1985 Championship

Shaw Grigsby holds the 1984 Red Man All-American trophy.

Shaw Grigsby Jr. holds the 1984 Red Man All-American trophy.

I was scanning through  a 1985 Today’s Fisherman magazine, a western publication that reported on tournament results and saltwater angling, among other things, and came across this short tournament report. It was the results of the 1985 Red Man All-American Championship held on Lake Havasu, AZ.

Interestingly enough this was the event that Pete  wrote about in this week’s trivia contest that Rick Clunn won and Orlando Wilson complained about. Clunn beat out fellow competitor Danny Walden of Mississippi by 9 ounces to take the championship and its $100,000 top prize. Also in the mix was B.A.S.S. pro Carl Maxfield, although Maxfield didn’t make his splash on the Bassmaster Tour until the early ’90s. [Read more…]

Breaking Though – OT Fears


“Breaking Through” is an occasional series on BFA in which long-time professional bass anglers recount the details of their first major win – how they accomplished the victory and how it impacted their careers. This entry chronicles the 25th anniversary of the first major victory for Oklahoma pro OT Fears III, with present-day input from Fears.


While the Red Man All-American tournament (known today as the BFL All-American) is now an established national level tournament, in 1987 it was still a relatively new enterprise. One thing about it, though – despite having first been held in 1983, it was a potential kingmaker, as the $100,000 top prize was double what was awarded to that year’s Bassmaster Classic champion. [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…]