For the third time the Tennessee Team won the BASS Chapter Federation Championship. Photo the November/December 1980 issue of BASSMaster Magazine.

So far in the 1980 Season at a Glance, we’ve looked into the first year in which the BASS Master Trail was split into divisions, the tournament reports for the year, and the results of the BASS Champs event and who qualified for the BASS Masters Classic from the Trail.  In this installment of the Season at a Glance: 1980 BASS Chapter Championship, we’re looking into the year-end Federation championship, who won the team finals, as well as who gained an entry into the 1980 BASS Masters Classic.

There was only one change made in 1980 to the Chapter Finals from previous years.  That being this year would mark the first time the Chapter Championship would be considered a world club championship with the entries from Spain and Zimbabwe, Africa.  Each state/country put forth its best 6-man team for the championship in hopes of being crowned the best team in the world.

This year saw 40 teams, 240 anglers, entered into the championship with multi-championship winners Tennessee and Alabama looking to add to their reign of wins.  Here are the winners of the team championships from previous years along with the venue.

  • 1973 – Tennessee, Lake Pickwick, Tennessee/Alabama
  • 1974 – Missouri, Table Rock Lake, Missouri
  • 1975 – Louisiana, Clark Hill Reservoir, South Carolina/Georgia
  • 1976 – Tennessee, Lake Texoma, Oklahoma/Texas
  • 1977 – Alabama, Kentucky Lake, Kentucky
  • 1978 – Alabama, Lake Eufaula, Alabama
  • 1979 – New York, Lake of the Woods, Ontario, Canada

The 1980 Chapter Championship would take the anglers back to Oklahoma, the venue this time, Grand Lake O the Cherokees.  Grand Lake, as its best known, was a known producer of big weights even though it was devoid of grass and most wood.  But this year’s Chapter Championship would become the lowest weight event in the history of the state team fish-off.

For months preceding the event, Oklahoma had been in a drought with rain only twice in 66 days.  Couple that with 44 days of temperatures over 100 degrees and this made for slim pickings with respect to bass.

The first day of the event saw the Michigan team in the lead with 29-12 and Tennessee close behind in second place with 29-04.  By the end of the second day, the home team had moved up to the top spot with 55-02, two pounds ahead of Tennessee and four pounds ahead of New York.

In the individual standings, Oklahoman Ken Cook was in the lead after the second day, attributed to his 15-08 bag of six fish.  Added to his 6-01 from the day prior, this gave him a total of 21-09 going into the final round.  If his Oklahoma team could hold off the Tennessee team, Cook would make his first of 14 BASS Master Classics as an amateur.

Cook was pretty much the only angler who had figured something out with respect to a pattern.  He was fishing windy rock points.  With his black back Norman Baby Reflect-N, Cook would use a stop-and-go retrieve, hitting the rocks.  This tactic worked the first two days of the event, where only he and team partner Allen Brewer were the only two boats fishing the Sailboat Bridge area.

On the final day, though, Cook’s pattern had been discovered as well as his spot.  In Cook’s words, “on the last day, we had a lot of company. There was still a fish for every rock, but there was also a boat for every rock, too.”

Cook stayed close to his best spot but was only able to add two more fish to his total.  Cook ended up weighing 26-03 for three days, enough to win the overall individual event and a $5,000 Ranger Bass Boat.

But his team let him down on the last day, leaving room for the two-time Volunteer State team to take over the lead.  This meant that Cook, the individual leader by 1-pound, 8-ounces, wouldn’t be going to his first Classic.

Ken Cook won the overall individual championship at the 1980 Chapter Federation Championship. Photo from the November/December 1980 issue of BASSMaster Magazine.

Instead, Billy Phillips, who ranked sixth in the individual standings, would become the Classic qualifier, for a second time in his amateur career.  Phillips, the maker of Little Jewel spinnerbaits, weighed in a total of 20-01.

The Tennessee team reported catching their fish on Phillips’ Go-Go Girl spinnerbaits off of the limited wood available as well as rocks in the Elk Creek area of the lake.  Between Phillips and fellow Tennessee team member Larry Coffman, they weighed in more than half of the entire team’s weight.  This due mainly to Coffman’s last-day efforts with six bass weighing 14-00.

Tennessee broke three records by the end of the event.  First off they were the first team to win three Chapter Championships.  The second record was Phillips’ second Classic qualification.  The third record, and one not to be too proud of, was the lowest winning weight for a Chapter Championship with 77-01.  Tennessee had the old record for lowest winning weight of 91-11 at the 1976 Lake Texoma Championship.

Other teams in the top five were second-place Georgia (74-09), third-place Oklahoma (71-05), fourth-place Michigan (69-06) and fifth-place Arkansas (67-15).

In the individual standings, Cook won the event with 26-03 (11 fish), followed by Aaron Otting with 24-11 (nine fish), Ray Gresham with 21-14 (nine fish), Jack Kayati with 21-01 (eight fish), and fifth place angler Denny Brauer with 20-07 (nine fish).

For the entire standings of both the team and individual portions of the event, please look at the tables below.

In the next edition of the 1980 Season at a Glance, we’ll be looking at the entire 1980 BASS Masters Classic field.  We hope you’ll join us for that.

Click on the links to see the first three parts of this story.  Part One, Part Two, and Part Three.

1980 BASS Chapter Championship Team Final Standings
PlaceTeamWeight, lbs-ozAward
6New York63-12$900
9New Hampshire55-03$600
12New Jersey50-10
13North Carolina50-03
17New Mexico44-05
22South Carolina39-07
24West Virginia37-06
40Zimbabwe, Africa15-10
Box Score
Day 1
Day 2
Day 3
Total Bass Caught
Total Bass Released
Total Weight, lbs-ozs
Number of 7-bass Limits
Daily Big Bass Award
Angler, StateWeight, lbs-ozsAward
Jeff TePastte, MI**7-01$3,700
George Paulson, IA6-01
Steve Croll, NY5-10
Notes: * The top team prize, a $4,000 Hydra-Sports Boat, as all team awards must be used for conservation and youth education in home states.

** Largest bass award $3,700 Fisher Marine bass boat.
1980 BASS Chapter Championship Individual Final Standings
Angler, State
Weight, lbs-ozs
1Ken Cook, OK**11/1026-03
2Aaron Otting, GA9/924-11
3Ray Gresham, AL9/921-14
4Jack kayati, NJ8/621-01
5Denny Brauer, NE9/920-07
6Billy Phillips, TN8/820-01
7David Brind, NY9/620-00
8Larry Coffman, TN8/819-11
9Mike Hayes, IN6/619-08
10Raymond Wingfield, VA6/619-02
11Allen Brewer, OK7/618-15
12Max Atkinson, AR7/717-11
13Arthur Lavoiem NH6/617-09
14Larry Kuhlman, KS7/717-08
15Charles Best, PA7/716-13
16Clifford Winters, SC4/416-10
17Charles Redding, GA7/716-04
18Russ Hall, CT6/616-03
19Geoffrey Donahue, MA6/416-03
20Randall Gay, KY6/615-13
21Gary Flowler, GA6/415-11
22George Paulson, IA4/415-08
23Steven Croll, NY4/315-07
24Leon Horton, AR7/615-05
25Ed Thwaites, MI6/515-03
26T. D. Spain, VA6/615-03
27Garry Bees, NM6/614-15
28Bill Dawson, MI5/414-14
29Wayne Marquis, MA6/614-12
30Frank Stallings, OH6/614-11
31Don Johnson, FL5/514-10
32Bob Koranda, WI5/514-06
33Randall Seward, NE6/614-00
34Jones Horne, NH6/613-14
35Mike White, KS4/413-10
36Jerry Perkins, NC6/613-09
37Hugh Wilbur, NH4/413-07
38Butch Rowse, NM5/413-05
39Jeffrey Cloutier, NY4/413-03
40John Jahnke, WI6/613-03
41Hank Millard, CT6/613-03
Notes: * two ounces added for every live fish weighed.

** High individual angler awarded a $5,000 Ranger bass boat. Other top anglers won various merchandise.