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…]

Monday Trivia – Victorious Velvick Answer and Winner (April 20, 2015)

Byron Velvick broke the 3-day, 5-fish limit weight record in 2000 on Clear Lake. Photo May/June 2000 issue of Bass West Magazine.

Byron Velvick broke the 3-day, 5-fish limit weight record in 2000 on Clear Lake. Photo May/June 2000 issue of Bass West Magazine.

Congratulations to Adam Hinkle for winning this week’s trivia contest!!!  For the answrs read below.

Fifteen years ago this month, Byron Velvick won the 2000 Bassmaster California Western Invitational on Clear Lake by a margin of more than 11 pounds. It wasn’t like he was beating up on the Little Sisters of the Poor, either, as the three anglers directly behind him were Skeet Reese, Aaron Martens and Brett Hite. Other western/national powers like Dean Rojas (6th) and Ish Monroe (9th), as well as legends like Gary Dobyns (13th) and Mike Folkestad (16th) also made the top 20, but all fell well short of Velvick’s 83-05 total.

Velvick certainly wasn’t a newcomer to the sport, having previously won the 1990 and 1996 U.S. Open Championships, but the Clear Lake victory marked the first of his three B.A.S.S. wins to date. In winning, he also set the B.A.S.S. record for total weight in a three-day, five-fish-limit event. [Read more…]

Classic XLV Videos: How They Started – Paul Elias

1982 Classic winner Paul Elias. Photo/Video Brenda Serrano.

1982 Classic winner Paul Elias. Photo/Video Brenda Serrano.

The Bassmaster Classic Media Day offers media folks a great opportunity to find out from the anglers themselves how they think the Classic will pan out. It’s always great to hear what they think and who they feel will do well in the biggest event of the fishing year. [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…]

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…]

For Mann’s, Plenty of Hits But a Few (More) Misses, Too

Mann's Bait Company ad circa 1983.

Mann’s Bait Company ad circa 1983.

A major league baseball player who gets a hit in three out of every ten at bats has a reasonable chance of going to the Hall of Fame. In that regard, maybe we’re too hard on lure designers. Here on Bass Fishing Archives, we might be a little too tough on those who’ve produced short-lived products. In just a few years of existence we’ve cataloged a litany of products that didn’t catch on, generally because they were ill-conceived or didn’t meet a specific need. Frankly, it’s a sport that never grows old, and for which we’ll likely never run out of material. [Read more…]

Monday Trivia – Mann Up Answer and Winner (August 25, 2014)

Tom Mann Jr. Photo FLWOutdoors.com.

Tom Mann Jr. Photo FLWOutdoors.com.

Unfortunately no one won this week’s trivia contest sponsored by Gary Yamamoto Custom Baits. Come back Monday for another shot. In the meantime you can read this week’s answers below.

By 1987, Tom Mann Jr. must’ve felt like he’d never get ahead of the pack. He’d been fishing a few B.A.S.S. events since 1983, including the 1984 Bassmaster Classic, but everywhere he went he’d been preceded by another angler of the same name – lure maker Tom Mann, to whom he was not related. The elder Tom had won two Bassmaster tournaments in Florida in 1971 and 1972, edging out Roland Martin both times.

He wasn’t even the second angler named “Mann” to fish the Classic, as the elder Tom’s brother Don had fished the 1975 and 1976 championships. [Read more…]

Monday Trivia – Stanley Steams ‘Em Answer and Winner (June 23, 2014)

Photo Bassmaster.com.

Photo Bassmaster.com.

Congrats to Chad Keogh for winning this week’s trivia contest sponsored by GYCB! For the answers, please read below.

When Georgia pro Stanley Mitchell won the 1981 Bassmaster Classic, outlasting second place finisher Harold Allen by just under a pound, he became the youngest Classic winner. It was just the 21 year old’s first Classic and his 10th overall B.A.S.S. event, and the first time he’d finished better than 12th. He’d missed qualifying for the Classic the year before by 10 pounds, while his lesser-known older brother Steve had missed the world championship by just 2 pounds. Steve unfortunately missed the big dance again in 1981 by a mere 5 pounds.

The 1981 Classic wasn’t the first to be held in Alabama – Wheeler and Guntersville had hosted in 1974 and 1976, respectively – but it was the first one hosted by Montgomery, home of the tournament organization. [Read more…]

Monday Trivia – The Buck Stops at Truman Answer and Winner (June 16, 2014)

Truman parkerThis week’s winner is Patrick Staley, even though he didn’t come up with all three of the answers I anticipated. For the answers read below. Come back next week for another round of Bass Fishing Archives Monday Trivia sponsored by GYCB.

Just 11 months after winning the 1988 Missouri Invitational, Hank Parker won the 1989 Bassmaster Classic on the James River and effectively retired from life as a touring pro, competing in just seven subsequent B.A.S.S. events. Those seven events included the subsequent Classic and three “SuperStars” events, in which he twice finished as the runner-up.

Accordingly, the 1988 tournament on Truman Reservoir was the last of Parker’s regular season victories. Fittingly given his superstar profile, he won it by more than 12 pounds over his nearest competitor, home-state angler Stacey King. In fact, Parker could have won without getting out of bed on Day Three, which was lucky because he only boxed two fish on the final day. His limit weighing 19-15 on Day One would’ve carried him to a top 25 finish even if he’d skipped the second and third days. [Read more…]

The Most Disturbing Picture in the History of Bass Fishing

Paul Elias lets his hair down at the 1988Bassmaster Classic. Screen grab from the 1988 Bassmaster Classic video.

Paul Elias lets his hair down at the 1988Bassmaster Classic. Screen grab from the 1988 Bassmaster Classic video.

The early Bassmaster Classics were certainly serious fishing tournaments, but there was also a substantial carnival and party atmosphere throughout the festivities. In the earliest days Ray Scott would announce the tournament lake onboard the airplane to the event. Even after that became logistically infeasible, the week was filled with all sorts of oddball activities that today’s ultra-serious competitors might not tolerate. [Read more…]

Monday Trivia – Hibdon’s Classic Victory Answers and Winner (February 3, 2014)

Photo Bassmaster Magazine.

Photo Bassmaster Magazine.

Unfortunately no one won this week’s trivia contest sponsored by Gary Yamamoto Custom Baits. Steve Quinn made a great effort and came up one question shy of the win. Read below for the answers.

When B.A.S.S. traveled to Richmond, Va. 25 years ago for the first of three consecutive Bassmaster Classics on the James River, the pros didn’t know much of what to expect from the tidal fishery. Classic XVIII was expected to favor the local tidal water river rats like Woo Daves of nearby Chester, who ended up missing the Classic crown by a mere 6 ounces. He came close again the next two years but didn’t win his Classic trophy until B.A.S.S. visited Chicago (Lake Michigan) in 2000. [Read more…]