A couple of changes happened at the 1975 Bass Master Federation Championship. First off, the rules changed for the angler going to the Bass Master Classic. Second, the name of the event, and the affiliated clubs, seem to have been morphing into something new. Lastly, it was the first time since the inception of the event that the “home team” didn’t win.
Let’s get to the meat.
The past two years the overall individual winner of the event was granted a pass to the Bass Masters Classic. The first “Chapter Championship,” held on Pickwick Reservoir, was won by the Tennessee team, but it was Wendell Mann of North Carolina who had the heaviest individual 3-day total and the Classic berth. Then in 1974, Missouri won the “Chapter Championship” on Table Rock. Charlie Campbell was part of that team and also had the highest individual weight for the event. He got a berth into Classic IV.
In 1975, though, B.A.S.S. changed up the rules and instead of inviting the top overall angler to the Classic, the top angler on the winning team would get to go. Scouring the magazines for the year I am not able to pinpoint where the rule change came from.
The second change that took place was the naming of the event as well as the affiliated states. From reading the November/December issue of Bassmaster, it’s quite confusing exactly what the correct name for the event was. It is the first time that I have seen where the States are called Federations instead of Chapters and they call the tournament the National Bassmaster Team Championship – instead of the Chapter Championship.
On to the event itself.
This year’s tournament would be held on the Georgia/South Carolina border at Clark Hill Reservoir, site of the 1973 Bassmaster Classic.
Again, 6-man state teams were competing for the best bass fishing state along with prizes that included a Ranger bass boat for the top individual winner, a Skeeter, Glastron and Hydra-Sports bass boats for 1st- through 3rd-place teams and a Fisher Marine bass boat for overall big fish. The prizes were an all-time high for Federation competition – but would the fish be cooperative?
Clark Hill would prove to be a tough go for the 32 teams with only 895 bass recorded over three days of competition. That’s less than five fish per person over three days.
The top team, led by Nash Roberts III, was Louisiana with a total of 92-02. It was the first time that the home team didn’t win the event. Roberts guided his team to victory by bringing in 26-02 to the scales (16 fish) over three days and solidified his spot in the 1975 Bass Masters Classic.
Second place went to Arkansas with a total of 85-03 and Ohio took the third-place honors with a total of 79-10. Fourth place was held down by hometown favorite South Carolina with 74-08. South Carolina made a late comeback in the last round with 29-11 to jump from the 10th spot. Fifth place went to the Tennessee team with a total of 72-14. Tennessee angler Sonny Lee also won the overall individual angler award with 30-08 for three days – but no Classic berth.
Reading through the tournament report an interesting topic came up. The oxygen meter.
Roberts, who was a fisheries biologist and meteorologist said the Louisiana team didn’t even fish areas where the oxygen level was below 8 parts-per-million (ppm). Tennessee reported that they concentrated on areas of the lake that had good oxygen and water temperatures between 66 and 75 degrees. Back then the oxygen meter was being pushed hard and it looks as if at least the top two teams used it to their advantage.
Most all the fish caught in the event came on 6-inch plastic worms.
Dave Bostic (PA) and Benny Robinson (AL) shared big fish honors by each catching a 9-pound largemouth. Big fish honors were to be a brand new Fisher Marine bass boat but since the boat couldn’t be split in two, Alabama’s Federation director offered each $400 cash and the Alabama Federation used the boat to raise money for their Federation.
Unfortunately, there wasn’t much more to report for this event. Below are the state standings and individual standings.
|Sonny Lee, TN|
|Dave Bostic, PA|
|Andy Sceurman, OH|
|Nash Roberts III, LA|
|Tony D'Ambrose, AR|
|Dave Whitehead, NJ|
|Ed Hallman, SC|
|Gary Dees, OH|
|Deryl Janzen, OK|
|Russell Cook, MO|
|Stan Robert Jr., LA|
|Ken Hattaway, GA|
|Rick Garlough, AR|
|Ed Belken, SC|
|Reece Deaton, NC|
|L. E. Martin, MS|
|Benny Robinson, AL|
|J. C. Wood, AR|
|Danny LeBlanc, LA|
|Russ Hall, CT|