1980 BASS Master Tournaments and Rules

In the first part of the 1980 BASS Master Season at a Glance, we looked at the vast format change within the organization.  Today in the 1980 BASS Master Trail – Part Two, we’ll continue to look at those changes and give the tournament reports for the remaining four events held.

The biggest of the changes was the split up of the trail into two separate Divisions, East and West.  Each division had three Classic qualifying events with the final qualifier being the BASS Champs event where the top 90 from each division would fish against each other to determine the final 20 Classic contestants from each division.  This change automatically increased the Classic field from the historic 24 entrants (plus one angler from the Federation) to 40.

Another notable change that took place that we didn’t mention in Part One was the increase in entry fees from $250 per event to $300 per event.  That may not seem like much of an increase but this was during the days of double digit inflation and high gas prices.  One would hope this would increase the payout but in actuality, the payout dropped.  The drop in payout was reflected in the 1st-place prize money, which had been $9,000 cash and a $5,500 Ranger Boat.  In 1980, this dropped to $5,000 cash and a $5,500 Ranger Boat.  That’s a significant drop in prize money.

The rule we should go over is in Rule #8 – Horsepower Restrictions.  I’m not sure if this was a new rule or the rule had been changed but the rule for 1980, as stated in the September/October 1979 BASSMaster Magazine, would be:

“All outboard motor boats used in tournament competition must have a U.S. Coast Guard horsepower capacity rating plate attached to the boat by the manufacturer.  Your outboard motor horsepower must not exceed the rating stated on this plate or the maximum 150 HP limit set by B.A.S.S.  This rating must comply with the U.S. Coast Guard Rating effective November 1, 1972.”

This rule would come back to bite one angler in particular.

There was also some confusion in the tournament schedule between a number of different B.A.S.S. publications, namely the venue of the first Western Division tournament.  In the insert placed in all the late 1979 magazines as well as the 1979 BASS Masters Classic Press Guide, the venue for the Mississippi Invitational would be held on Ross Barnett Reservoir.  But the February 1980 BASSMaster Magazine announced it would be held on Sardis Lake.  The event ended up being held on Sardis and as we’ll see in a moment, I’m sure the entire field would have chosen the Rez.

Let’s get on to the tournament reports.


Mississippi Invitational – Sardis Lake Western Division

For what Harold Sharp said was going to be a banner year for the B.A.S.S. Trail, the first two events of the season were wracked with bad weather and fishing conditions.  That string of bad luck followed for the inaugural Western Division event on Sardis Lake March 26-28, 1980.

Prior to the event, cold rains had raised the lake 10 feet, muddied the water, and dropped the surface temperature to a frigid 53 degrees.  The conditions during the event weren’t any better as more cold fronts plagued the region, keeping the fish spooked and not willing to bite.

The bite, if one could call it that, was very particular with the high muddy water.  Roland Martin, who by now had become a firm believer in the flipping technique, utilized its pinpoint accuracy to flip his way to his 11th BASS Master win.  Martin was concentrating on putting his black jig and Mister Twister double tail trailer into the center of flooded brush.

1980 Mississippi Invitational Western Division BASS Master Patch Sardis Lake. Photo courtesy of Jeff Haines.

“The fish were suspended just under the water in the very center of the bushes,” Martin said. “If you didn’t hit the middle, you spooked them.”

Martin would dangle his jig in the center of the brush and wait for the faintest of strikes to come.

Martin weighed in 16-06 the first day and never relinquished the lead over the next two days, finishing with a total of 10 bass that weighed 29-03.  One of the worst 3-day weights ever recorded.

In second place was Mr. Consistency, Arkansas pro Ricky Green.  Green had found the same fish as Martin and also used a jig to fool 10 bass over the 3-day event.  But, Green utilized a completely different technique to coax his fish into the boat.  Here’s what was written in the July/August 1980 BASSMaster Magazine tournament report.

“Green fished a jig and Uncle Josh pork frog chunk in the fashion of a spinnerbait, swimming it into brush on the edges of flooded creek banks.”

This is one of the first times I have seen the mention of swimming a jig.

Green weighed in 20-07 for his ten fish that he caught the first two days.  He said the water was too muddy the final day and that the fish weren’t able to see the jig.

Tournament veteran Marvin Baker finished in the third spot with 20-04 (6 fish), with local Sardis, MS angler Charlie Andrews finishing in 4th place with 17-04 (6 fish).  Dave Gliebe, who apparently had moved from California to Louisiana, rounded out the top 5 with 15-07 (7 fish).  Baker and Gliebe caught their fish flipping while Andrews caught his fish throwing a spinnerbait.

Overall the event hosted 225 anglers, nearly half of which blanked all three days.  The total fish count for three days was 262 with one limit caught.

The Top-40 and Box Score are presented in the table below.

Bass Master Mississippi Invitational Western Division Sardis Lake Scorecard – March 26-28, 1980
Angler, State
Weight, lbs-ozs
1Roland Martin, OK10/1029-03$10,500*
2Ricky Green, AR10/1020-07$3,295
3Marvin Baker, TX6/620-04$2,475
4Charlie Andrews, MS6/617-04$2,065
5Dave Gliebe, LA7/715-07$1,400
6Tom Vanover, MO3/313-10$1,322
7Gary Klein, CA6/612-07$1,237
8Bo Dowden, LA7/711-08$1,152
9Lanny Meyers, KY3/39-15$1,075
10Randy Dearman, TX5/59-14$947
11Arthur Pool, MS5/59-14$947
12Butch Eubanks, MS3/39-03$905
13Joe Henderson, MO4/48-15$905
14Richard Brown, MO3/38-08$905
15Mitch Herring, AL3/38-08$905
16Larry Baird, TN3/38-02$827
17Bill Jasper, TN3/38-00$827
18Jerry Miller, IN3/37-14$827
19Randy Fite, TX3/37-11$827
20Gordon Kralovetz, WI3/37-11$827
21Stump Wiley, MS3/37-10$742
22Cliff Craft, GA3/37-8$742
23Kenneth Walker, TX3/37-05$742
24Charles Jones, TN2/27-04$742
25Charles Conkle, IN1/17-03$699
26Ewell Parker, TX2/27-03$699
27Gene Campfield, IN3/37-02$657
28Calvin Griffin, TX3/36-15$657
29George Bowman, AR4/46-13$555
30Ronnie Dolson, KY3/36-13$555
31Kevin Johnson, KS2/26-13$555
32Hank Parker, NC3/36-13$555
33Jon Logue, IN1/16-09$495
34J. B. Warren, AR3/36-09$495
35Andy Hinely, AR3/36-05$495
36Greg Ward, MO3/36-01$495
37Dick Gregory, VA3/36-00$410
38H. J. Stevens, AR2/25-15$410
39Walt Sawicki, GA2/25-14$410
40Gary Alverson, GA3/35-13$205
41Jerry Guest, GA2/25-13$205
Daily Lunker Leaders
Angler, State
Weight, lbs-ozs
Charlie Andrews, MS7-03$5,000*
Charles Conkle, IN7-01$850
Tom vanover, MO6-14$350
The Box Score
Day 1
Day 2
Day 3
Total Weight, lbs-ozs
Bass Weighed-in
7-Bass Limits
Bass Alive Weighed-in
Two bonus points were awarded for each live fish. Winner Award consisted of $5,000 Cash and a $5,500 Ranger Boat. Overall Big Fish Award was $5,000 Ranger Boat Rigged with trailer, Humminbird Super Sixty flasher, and Motor-Guide trolling motor.



Missouri Invitational – Lake of the Ozarks Western Division

Bass Master Magazine July-August 1980 Hibdon Wins Lake of the Ozarks
1980 Missouri Invitational Western Division BASS Master Patch Lake of the Ozarks. Photo courtesy of Jeff Haines.

The second event of the Western Division would be held on Missouri’s Lake of the Ozarks.  Finally conditions would take a turn for the better with respect to active fish.  But the Missouri Conservation Department threw a little twist into this event.  Missouri had a 15-inch size limit on the lake, upping the B.A.S.S. size limit from 14 inches.  Also counter to B.A.S.S. regulations was the 6-bass limit imposed by the state.  Due to this regulation, Harold Sharp dropped the daily bag limit to five fish per angler.

The first day saw Florida angler Bill O’Connor come in with a 5-bass limit weighing 27-01, or better than a 5-pound average.  The only problem would be O’Connor would have a hard time duplicating the limit.

There is little written in the July/August issue of BASSMaster Magazine about the event other than the size of the fish caught overall.  Guido Hibdon, though, on the final day was reported to have brought in a limit of fish for 20-10, and beat O’Connor with 56-04 (14 fish) compared to O’Connor’s total of 55-00 (11 fish).  Hibdon’s average over the event was slightly over 4 pounder per bass where O’Connor’s average was 5 pound per bass.  Those are some huge numbers for average weight.

Kevin Johnson of Kansas placed third with 50-13 ((13 fish), Ronald Williams of Missouri took the 4th spot with 47-06 (13 fish), and J. W. Cheatham rounded out the top-5 with 45-10 (13 fish).

Overall, a full field of 252 anglers weighed in 1037 bass for a total weight of 3377-13.  That’s over a 3-pound average per fish.

To see the Top-40 and the complete Box Score, please look at the table below.

Bass Master Missouri Invitational Western Division Lake of the Ozarks Scorecard –April 23-25, 1980
Angler, State
Weight, lbs-ozs
1Guido Hibdon, MO14/1456-04$10,500*
2Bill O'Connor, FL11/1155-00$4,000
3Kevin Johnson, KS13/1350-13$3,000
4Ronald Williams, MO13/1047-08$2,500
5J. W. Cheatham, AR13/1245-10$1,700
6Kenneth Walker, TX12/1143-15$1,600
7Chet Douthit, MO12/1042-15$1,500
8Bo Dowden, LA13/1341-05$1,400
9Ricky Green, AR9/934-00$1,300
10Rayburn Waits, TX11/633-09$1,200
11Tom Batterton, MO8/832-14$1,100
12H. J. Stevens, AR9/932-07$1,100
13Donald R. Ham, MO9/932-04$1,100
14Greg Poindexter, MO10/1031-03$1,100
15David Wharton, TX9/931-01$1,100
16Tom Vanover, MO10/1030-02$1,000
17Richard Crouch, MO11/1029-12$1,000
18Larry Nixon, TX10/1029-06$1,000
19Denny Brauer, NE8/829-05$1,000
20Don Carrow, MO9/929-03$1,000
21Bobby Murray, TN7/728-15$1,000
22Jimmy Houston, OK10/1028-06$900
23Phillip Lampert, MO9/928-04$900
24Harold Micek, IN8/827-05$900
25Bill Berry, MO7/727-00$850
26Don Doty, CA9/926-12$850
27Richard Stocks, AL6/626-01$800
28J. B. Warren, AR7/726-00$800
29William Watson, MO7/725-06$750
30Basil Bacon, MO8/825-04$750
31Gary Klein, CA7/725-00$600
32Roland Martin, OK7/724-13$600
33Erwin Cole, TN6/624-12$600
34Duane Green, MO6/624-10$600
35Manuel Johnson, MO9/924-08$600
36Richard May, MO7/724-02$600
37Greg Ward, MO8/824-02$500
38Paul Elias, KY9/924-01$500
39Jerry Wagner, AR7/724-00$500
40Carl Whitten, AR9/924-00$500
Daily Lunker Leaders
Angler, State
Weight, lbs-ozs
Pat Duncan, MO9-02$5,000*
Chet Douthit, MO8-00$850
Jon Hall, VA7-05$350
The Box Score
Day 1
Day 2
Day 3
Total Weight, lbs-ozs
Bass Weighed-in
5-Bass Limits
Bass Alive Weighed-in
Two bonus points were awarded for each live fish. Winner Award consisted of $5,000 Cash and a $5,500 Ranger Boat. Overall Big Fish Award was $5,000 Ranger Boat Rigged with trailer, Humminbird Super Sixty flasher, and Motor-Guide trolling motor.



North Carolina Invitational – Albermarle Sound Eastern Division

The final Eastern Division qualifier would be held on North Carolina’s Albermarle Sound.  Again the bassin’ gods would shine their light on the event, bringing good fishing, but the heat and run across the big shallow sound would hamper not only the release rate, it would knock one angler from the winner’s podium.

Local North Carolina guide Tommy Chapman would figure out the right bite.  Although Chapman would only catch seven bass a day, the daily bag limit, they would turn out to be the right seven.  But Chapman wouldn’t have it easy.

Corbin Dyer of Kentucky started the first round by weighing in a limit that went 29-06, the leading 7-bass limit for the year.  Dyer would end up weighing in 18 fish over the course of three days but what killed him was 14 dead fish upon weigh-in.  Those 14 dead bass accounted for 28 ounces worth of lost bonus points.  Dyer’s total weight for the event was 59-08.

1980 North Carolina Invitational Eastern Division BASS Master Patch Albermarle Sound. Photo courtesy of Jeff Haines.

Chapman’s fish, on the other hand, all 21 of them, were weighed in live.  The result was a total weight of 60-10 over three days of competition and the win.

The next person to get stung by the rules was Edmond Grady of North Carolina.  Grady weighed in 19 fish over the course of the event, 10 which were weighed alive, and finished with 59-07, one ounce behind Dyer.  But that one ounce was not what kept him from his 3rd-place finish.  Grady hadn’t paid much attention to Rule #8, the one discussed at the start f this article.  Grady’s outboard motor was bigger than the 150 horsepower limit allowed on all tournament boats.  Because of his mistake, he was disqualified from the event.

So, into third was Randy Fite with 55-07 (20 fish), Larry Nixon placed fourth with 51-05 (21 fish) and Don Hildebrand rounded out the top 5 with 49-02 (16 fish).

Overall the full field of anglers weighed 2,043 bass of which 1,570 were released alive.  This amounted to a 77% live release rate compared to the 97% release rate from the first four events of the season.

For the Top-40 and the entire Box Score, please look down below at the table.

Bass Master North Carolina Invitational Eastern Division Albermarle Sound Scorecard –May 21-23, 1980
Angler, State
Weight, lbs-ozs
1Tommy Chapman, NC21/2160-10$10,500*
2Corbin Dyer, KY18/459-08$4,000
3Edmond Grady, NC DQ19/1059-07$3,000
4Randy Fite, TX20/1855-07$2,500
5Larry Nixon, TX21/1851-05$1,700
6Don Hildebrand, VA16/1049-02$1,600
7Bobby Murray, TN17/1048-11$1,500
8Don Forman, VA17/1546-01$1,400
9Charlie Campbell, MO17/1343-10$1,300
10Basil Bacon, MO18/1343-04$1,200
11Joe Wagoner, NC21/1942-14$1,100
12Jack Westberry, FL16/842-11$1,100
13Robert Sweeney, NC19/1841-10$1,100
14Rick Clunn, TX19/1841-09$1,100
15Jon Hall, VA19/1041-09$1,100
16James Dudley, VA14/1141-00$1,000
17Greg Ward, MO21/1340-15$1,000
18Don Sprinkle, VA16/840-04$1,000
19Jimmy Houston, OK19/1540-01$1,000
20Tom Mann, AL18/1739-09$1,000
21Dave Gliebe, LA17/1238-05$1,000
22Terry LaCross, FL16/1137-14$900
23Hank parker, NC18/1737-12$900
24Jerry Bunch, NC14/1237-11$900
25Roy Armstrong, NC15/1537-05$850
26Woo Dave, VA15/1137-03$850
27Rayo Breckenridge, AR14/636-13$800
28Steve Goodwin, NC18/1836-13$800
29Zell Rowland, TX14/1436-09$750
30Charles Aycock, NC15/936-06$750
31Guy Eaker, NC15/1235-11$600
32Bernard Dalton, VA12/635-10$600
33Marvin Baker, TX16/1435-05$600
34Gary Wade, NC18/1435-04$600
35Michael Ney, VA16/1334-08$600
36James Marsh, AL17/1534-02$600
37Thurston Hall, GA13/1334-01$500
38Ron Shearer, KY14/933-10$500
39William Shubert, FL14/933-07$500
40Bobby Ditto, FL12/532-12$500
Daily Lunker Leaders
Angler, State
Weight, lbs-ozs
John Powell, AL9-13$5,000*
Donald Forman, VA8-04$850
Corbin Dyer, KY7-06$350
The Box Score
Day 1
Day 2
Day 3
Total Weight, lbs-ozs
Bass Weighed-in
7-Bass Limits
Bass Alive Weighed-in
Two bonus points were awarded for each live fish. Winner Award consisted of $5,000 Cash and a $5,500 Ranger Boat. Overall Big Fish Award was $5,000 Ranger Boat Rigged with trailer, Humminbird Super Sixty flasher, and Motor-Guide trolling motor.



Texas Invitational – Toledo Bend Western Division

Bass Master Magazine September-October 1980 Nixon Wins Toledo Bend.

The final event of the season was hosted at Frontier Park, Toledo Bend Reservoir.  Before the event started, B.A.S.S. asked local guide and tournament pro Larry Nixon who he thought would be the anglers to beat.  Nixon’s reply was Robert hale and Harold Allen.  Hale was a known big fish and tournament expert on the lake and Allen, 35, was one of the best guides on the lake.

Nixon would be right about Hale and Allen, but he forgot to include himself in that mix, or did he?

Bob LaRoux would take the lead on days one and two but would falter on the third day of the event.  Harold Allen was only able to come in with two fish on the first day and that put him at a distinct disadvantage.  Robert Hale had to contend with trot lines strung over his honey holes, which accounted for at least on big fish lost.

In the end, Nixon just plugged along fishing his deep “worm holes” that were lined with brush piles.  Over the course of three days, Nixon amassed 60-09 with 20 bass.  Robert Hale brought in 14 bass for a total of 59-09 and placed in second.  Harold Allen, even after only weighing in two fish the first day, rallied and brought in a 29-pound limit the second day enroute to weighing in 12 bass for 52-02.

1980 Texas Invitational Western Division BASS Master Patch Toledo Bend. Photo courtesy of Jeff Haines.

Bob LaRoux was only able to bring in three fish the final day, bringing his total to 51-11 and fourth place.  Ron Shearer rounded out the Top 5 with 14 fish that weighed 33-13.

Nixon gave a little insight on why the weights dropped dramatically from fourth place to fifth place.

“From now through September, the local angler will always have the advantage on Toledo Bend.  There’s no way a guy who hasn’t fished this lake much can find our worm holes.  Big bass will be in the very center of the bushes along the drop-offs 10-20 feet deep, and those bushes won’t always show up on depthfinders.”

Boy how things have changed since the advent of today’s electronics.

According to BASSMaster Magazine, Nixon was in the lead for the AOY by 48-01, over Roland Martin.  With only the BASS Champs event left in the season, Nixon was in the driver’s seat for the AOY award.  Next time I will try to have the AOY results prior to the BASS Champs event and then will cover the event itself.

To see the Top-40 for the Toledo Bend event as well as the Box Score, please refer to the table below.

Bass Master Texas Invitational Western Division Toledo Bend Scorecard –June 25-27, 1980
Angler, State
Weight, lbs-ozs
1Larry Nixon, TX20/1560-09$10,500*
2Robert Hale, LA14/1059-09$3,154
3Harold Allen, TX12/652-02$2,370
4Bob LaRoux, LA13/551-11$1,978
5Ron Shearer, KY14/1233-13$1,340
6David Johnson, KS9/033-02$1,267
7Doug Barberousse, LA7/632-12$1,185
8Hank Parker, NC10/932-11$1,103
9Kevin Johnson, KS11/932-01$1,030
10Butch Carmack, TX7/531-15$948
11H. J. Stevens, AR12/630-01$866
12John R. Hale, TX10/1029-14$866
13John Pryor, OK9/929-10$866
14John Powell, AL11/828-11$866
15Robert Stevenson, TX9/828-03$866
16Charlie Campbell, MO9/927-10$793
17Ricky Green, AR11/827-02$793
18Jimmy Houston, OK11/1026-04$793
19Orlando Wilson, GA6/524-12$793
20Randy Behringer, TX8/624-05$793
21Dave Hill, KY5/524-03$711
22John Torian, TX9/724-00$711
23Kenneth Pine, IN10/623-06$711
24Jon Hall, VA7/123-04$711
25Glenn Kirk, TX8/822-06$711
26Walter Roberts, TX9/822-05$629
27David Wharton, TX10/1022-05$629
28Bo Dowden, LA8/622-04$608
29Randall Thompson, TX8/722-04$608
30Gary Newell, TX8/421-06$588
31Marvin Baker, TX9/921-03$474
32George Bowman, AR7/520-12$474
33J. W. Cheatham, AR9/720-08$474
34Carl Whitten, AR9/719-09$474
35Harold Micek, IN8/818-13$474
36Milton Wiley, MS9/418-12$474
37W. E. Rylee, LA7/118-10$392
38Bob Mathieu, TX5/518-01$392
39Randy Fite, TX7/718-00$392
40Mickey Garner, TX7/717-10$392
Daily Lunker Leaders
Angler, State
Weight, lbs-ozs
Bob LaRoux, LA8-03$5,000*
Dave Hill, KY7-14$850
Orlando Wilson, GA7-00$350
The Box Score
Day 1
Day 2
Day 3
Total Weight, lbs-ozs
Bass Weighed-in
7-Bass Limits
Bass Alive Weighed-in
Two bonus points were awarded for each live fish. Winner Award consisted of $5,000 Cash and a $5,500 Ranger Boat. Overall Big Fish Award was $5,000 Ranger Boat Rigged with trailer, Humminbird Super Sixty flasher, and Motor-Guide trolling motor.



This is the second part in a five-part series on the 1980 BASS Master Trail.  Click the link to read Part One.  Part Three will cover the BASS Champs event, Part Four the Federation Championship, Part Five, the Classic Contenders, and Part Six will cover the 1980 BASS Masters Classic.