Before the Bassmaster Trail and way before the Bassmaster Classic there was only one fishing event that even came close to determining who the best angler in the world was. That event was Hy Peskin’s World Series of Sport Fishing. We’ve talked about the WSOSF here before (a simple search to the right will bring up a few good stories) but only in an overall manner. Today we’re going to look at one specific event, the 1963 World Series of Sport Fishing, as written in Don Fuelsch’s Southern Angler’s and Hunter’s Guide. But, before we go there, here are some of the particulars of the WSOSF.
In order to qualify for the event, anglers had to win their state championship, or for international anglers, their country championship as this was an international event. The WSOSF wasn’t just a bass event, either. Nearly all fish counted with bass gaining the most points. But you couldn’t win with only black bass. You had to have fish in multiple species categories in order to ensure the win.
The event was held over multiple days, generally between 4 and 5 days, with the first few days being qualifying rounds and the last day being the championship. Not only was the event long and required mastery of multiple species, the event was held on multiple bodies of water on many occasions – so as not to give any one angler an advantage. In fact, the second WSOSF event held in 1960 spanned 8 days on seven different lakes in Michigan. The first event Peskin held, also in 1960, not only tested the anglers in freshwater, but saltwater too.
The 1963 World Series, on the other hand, was held solely on Bull Shoals Lake in Arkansas. It was a five-day event where the first four days consisted of qualifying for the final championship day. Midwest ringer Glen Andrews not only walked away with the qualifying round, he scored a perfect 204-point total over the course of four days – even with a daily 104-minute penalty because he was a guide.
If you’re unfamiliar with Andrews, he was touted as the best guide on Bull Shoals and the surrounding Ozark lakes. He also helped Ray Scott organize the first All-American bass tournament on Beaver Lake in 1967. Andrews, who was close friends with Bill Dance, convinced Dance to stay and fish that first Ray Scott event after he got the jitters the night before and wanted to leave.
Andrews also won the WSOSF two years in a row, 1965 and 1966, the only angler to have ever done so. To say Andrews was a stud would be an understatement. In fact, Andrews was banned from fishing the 1964 event because of his guiding experience.
On the last day of the event, though, all the points were zeroed. Andrews, the obvious favorite, had to wait his 104 minutes before he could head out on the water. In the meantime, Ken White, a writer and photographer from Missouri, capitalized in the early morning with a 5-pound largemouth and ended up winning the event. Glen Andrews came in 2nd place.
Below is the tournament write up by Don Fuelsch. In it you’ll recognize a number of familiar names and personalities. Plus, the added section on “A Few Words of Wisdom,” are pretty funny and still hits home today.
In the coming months, we’ll be posting more on the World Series of Sport Fishing. If you have any information on this event, please let us know in the comment section below.