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…]

Monday Trivia – Lillegard Wins Again Answer and Winner (Dec 8, 2014)

Rick Lillegard. Photo Bassmaster.com.

Rick Lillegard. Photo Bassmaster.com.

Well, again we have no winner for this week’s trivia contest sponsored by Gary Yamamoto Custom Baits! Are we making it too difficult? Well, maybe next week we’ll make it a little easier. For the answers to this week’s contest, please read below.

The 1997 New York Eastern Invitational on the St. Lawrence River was the second of Rick Lillegard’s two Bassmaster wins. A little less than two years earlier, he’d won the Maryland Eastern Invitational on the Potomac by a massive 11 pound 7 ounce margin over second-place finisher Pete Gluszek. In New York, the gap wasn’t quite that large, but he still managed to beat runner up Clark Wendlandt by more than four pounds.

The tournament was only 17 years ago, but while many of the anglers in the field still fish at the highest levels, the only member of the top 10 who fished in Elite Series competition is South Carolina’s Ray Sedgwick, who last fished the Elites in 2008. [Read more…]

Monday Trivia – Lillegard Wins Again (Dec 8, 2014)

Rick Lillegard. Photo Bassmaster.com.

Rick Lillegard. Photo Bassmaster.com.

The 1997 New York Eastern Invitational on the St. Lawrence River was the second of Rick Lillegard’s two Bassmaster wins. A little less than two years earlier, he’d won the Maryland Eastern Invitational on the Potomac by a massive 11-pound 7-ounce margin over second-place finisher Pete Gluszek. In New York, the gap wasn’t quite that large, but he still managed to beat runner up Clark Wendlandt by more than four pounds.

The tournament was only 17 years ago, but while many of the anglers in the field still fish at the highest levels, the only member of the top 10 who fished in Elite Series competition is South Carolina’s Ray Sedgwick, who last fished the Elites in 2008.

One member of the top 10 continues to attend every Elite Series event, though. It’s fourth place finisher Mark Zona, fishing the fifth of nine B.A.S.S. events in which he competed. His inaugural Bassmaster tournament was on the same waterway in 1995, and he finished a dismal 101st, so the 1997 event marked a substantial improvement in his performance. It wasn’t his best Bassmaster effort, though. In his final event (as far as we know) in 2005, he finished 3rd in a Northern Open on Lake Champlain. If you look down the standings sheet you’ll see that he did not yet call Michigan home – his address was listed as “Homewood, Illinois.” [Read more…]

Breaking Though – OT Fears

Photo Bassmaster.com

“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…]