Season at a Glance: 1978 Bassmaster Trail – Part Two

Larry Nixon, in his second season of Bassmaster competition was proving he was th real deal. Photo Bassmaster Magazine.

Larry Nixon, in his second season of Bassmaster competition was proving he was th real deal. Photo Bassmaster Magazine.

[Editor’s note: This is Part Two of a six-part series on the 1978 Bassmaster Trail. Over the course of the next two weeks we’ll cover the 1978 season, the Classic qualifiers and the 1978 Bassmaster Classic. To read Part One, click here.]

The first Bass Champs event was held in 1977 and pitted the top 10 from the previous Bassmaster Classic against 10 of the top anglers (2nd through 11th) from the B.A.S.S. Federation Championship – the 1st-place angler would go to the Bassmaster Classic. It was an event that didn’t count for much – there were no points towards AOY or Classic qualification – other than a decent pay day for the winner through 10th place and the thrill provided the amateurs of fishing against the toughest pros in competitive bass fishing. [Read more…]

Season at a Glance: 1977 Bassmaster Trail – Part Five

Not a "natural lake specialist," Rick Clunn would fight his demons and end up winning the 1977 Bassmaster Classic on Florida's Lake Toho despite the fact he had never weighed more than 13 pounds in any event held in the sunshine state. Photo from a Bagley's ad in the Feruary 1978 issue of Bassmaster Magazine.

Not a “natural lake specialist,” Rick Clunn would fight his demons and end up winning the 1977 Bassmaster Classic on Florida’s Lake Toho despite the fact he had never weighed more than 13 pounds in any event held in the sunshine state. Photo from a Bagley’s ad in the Feruary 1978 issue of Bassmaster Magazine.

[Editor’s Note: This is the final part of the five-part series on the 1977 Bassmaster tournament trail. To read the other parts, click on the appropriate link – part one (the first half of the season), part two (the second half of the season), part three (the Federation Championship), part four (the Classic Contenders).]

Since 1971 Bassmaster Trail anglers fished not only to win, but to qualify for what had become fishing’s biggest event of the year, the Bassmaster Classic. Through six events anglers would accumulate points in hopes of making the year-end event that, even at that time, was being billed as the Super Bowl of bass fishing.

In 1977 the rules stated that the top 24 anglers from the AOY race would be selected plus an additional angler from the Federation Championship. There was also another rule, one that actually brought the Classic contender list up to 26, that stated if an angler fished every event in the year and won one, he’d also qualify for the Classic. Dave Gliebe did such and was the 26th man invited. [Read more…]

Season at a Glance: 1977 Bassmaster Trail – Part Four

For the third time in his career, Bill Dance was the Bassmaster Angler of the Year in 1977.

For the third time in his career, Bill Dance was the Bassmaster Angler of the Year in 1977.

In the previous three parts of this series we covered the first half of the 1977 Bassmaster Trail, the second half of the trail and the Federation Championship. In Part Four we’re going to look at the Bassmaster Classic contenders, the 25 top anglers from the AOY race plus the Federation qualifier – Bill Stephens of Alabama.

Also of note, a misunderstanding was discovered in the 1977 February issue of Bassmaster Magazine – the Angler of the Year data we used for the last installment of this series. The Classic entry rules for 1977 stated they would be taking the top-24 anglers in the AOY race. Bassmaster printed the top-25 AOY standings and we took those to be the Classic contenders to include #25 Woo Daves. When looking at the Classic standings, though, we noticed that Dave Gliebe fished the event and not Woo Daves. [Read more…]

Season at a Glance: 1977 Bassmaster Trail – Part Two

Bill Dance wins his second Bassmaster AOY title in 1977. Photo 1978 February issue of Bassmaster Magazine.

Bill Dance wins his second Bassmaster AOY title in 1977. Photo 1978 February issue of Bassmaster Magazine.

[Editor’s Note: This is Part Two of a five-part series on the 1977 Bassmaster Tournament Trail. Part One covered the first half of the regular season, Part Three will cover the BASS Chapter Federation Nationals, Part Four the Classic Qualifiers and Part Five the Bassmaster Classic. This part will cover the second half of the regular season.]

With the first half of the 1977 season in the books, Bill Dance had a commanding lead in the Angler of the Year points race, 59 points ahead of second-place angler Steve Goodwin. Also among the top 10 were Bassmaster stalwarts Roger Moore (3rd), Jimmy Houston (4th), Al Lindner (5th), Paul Chamblee (7th), Jack Hains (8th), Bill Ward (9th) and Larry Nixon (10th).

Relative newcomer and all-around top money winner for 1977 Dave Gliebe sat in the 11th position while veteram Ricky Green took up the 17th spot. On the bubble were two anglers you would expect more out of, Rick Clunn (22nd) and Roland Martin (23rd). Would they be able to make a charge in the second half of the season and qualify for the Bassmaster Classic? We’d have to wait and see. [Read more…]

Season at a Glance: 1977 Bassmaster Trail – Part One

Bill Dance was the leader in the 1977 Bassmaster Angler of the Year Race and the midway point of the season. Photo May/June 1977 issue of Bassmaster Magazine.

Bill Dance was the leader in the 1977 Bassmaster Angler of the Year Race and the midway point of the season. Photo May/June 1977 issue of Bassmaster Magazine.

[Editor’s Note: This is Part One of a Five-Part series on the 1977 Bassmaster Tournament Trail. Part one cover the first half of the regular season, Part Two will cover the second half, Part Three will cover the BASS Chapter Federation Nationals, Part Four the Classic Qualifiers and part Five the Bassmaster Classic.]

It’s been a few months since we looked back on the early Bassmaster Tournament Trail so it’s about time we picked back up where we left off – 1977. The 1976 season ended with Jimmy Houston winning the coveted Angler of the Year award and Rick Clunn won the first of his four Bassmaster Classics. What would 1977 bring? [Read more…]