Last week we started reporting on the kickoff and first two events of the 1981 BASS Master Trail. Today, in Bassmaster Trail – Part 2, we’re going to cover the next four events that would decide which 14 anglers from each Division would qualify for the BASS Masters Classic from the regular season events.
Last time, we left with two events in the books and Roland Martin leading the pack with two wins and a 36-10 lead over Larry Nixon in second place. The following events, in order, would be conducted at Lake Eufaula, Alabama, Lake of the Ozarks, Missouri, Lake Ouachita, Arkansas, and the Albermarle Sound, North Carolina. The Fish Off would be held July 22-24 at Lake Cherokee, Tennessee.
In the last report, it was stated from the March/April 1981 issue of Bassmaster Magazine, that the Fish Off, also known as BASS Champs, would take the Top-7 anglers and qualify them for the 1981 BASS Masters Classic. But now in the July/August 1981 issue, it seems the rules are different, for a third time this season.
According to Mark McDonald’s report, The Road to the ’81 Classic, he again tries to clear the air and provide the real rules, according to Tournament Director, Harold Sharp. Here they are.
- The East and West Divisions’ Top-14 Anglers get an automatic Birth in the BASS Masters Classic
- The first seven names on the AOY List that haven’t qualified through the Divisions go in as Wildcards. We have to assume, which seems like a bad thing to do in 1981, that this is the AOY standings after the Fish Off.
- The last five anglers qualifying for the Classic come from the highest-placing angler on the winning Divisional Team from the Chapter Finals.
But there are some caveats.
- If an angler qualifies through both Divisions? His lowest place between the two Divisions is dropped and the next person in line moves up.
- If an angler is in the same place at the end of the year in both Divisions, he is dropped from the Division he has the lowest weight in, and the next angler moves up.
This can only be seen as the ultimate of goat ropes.
There were a lot of new changes put forth on this season, and a lot of Math I had to do to figure this out. So, let’s get on with it and see how it all panned out.
Alabama Invitational East Division – Roland Makes it 3 In A Row At Eufaula!
One way to guarantee qualifying for the Classic is to win every event. And after the third tournament of the season, Roland Martin looked like he may be on track to do that exact thing. Prior to the 1981 season, no one had ever won three events in a row. There were a couple anglers who’d won two events in a row, those being Bill Dance (twice), John Powell (once), and Roland Martin (once). One caveat to this is Bill Dance could be said to have won two events in a row three times due to his win at the 1969 All-American and the BASS Eufaula Team event held the same year.
The Eufaula event wasn’t a cakewalk for any of the anglers. Hampered by 20-mph winds all three days with rain and tornado sightings, the 264 angler (as reported on Bassmaster.com) field only caught 704 keepers in three days. Of that, 52 anglers blanked and numerous anglers only brought one fish to the scales. There was no Final Standings and Box Score for the events published. Blake Honeycutt caught the big fish of the event, a 10-05, that was good for a $6,500 Ranger Bass Boat rig.
Martin reported catching all his fish on a Jig-n-Pig. There was no mention of how many fish he weighed over the course of the three-day event. His total was 43-11 which bested second-place angler, Bo Dowden, who had 37-06. Guy Eaker weighed 34-15 for the third spot and Paul Elias and Rick Clunn rounded out the Top-5 with 34-01 and 33-06, respectively.
The Top-40 of the Final Standings are presented below in the table.
|Roland Martin, FL||43 - 11|
|Villis Dowden, LA||37 - 6|
|Guy Eaker, NC||34 - 15|
|Paul Elias, MS||34 - 1|
|Rick Clunn, TX||33 - 6|
|Charles Stevenson||30 - 10|
|Jack Westberry, FL||28 - 5|
|David Cole||27 - 4|
|Tom Jurkewicz||27 - 3|
|Jack Chancellor, AL||26 - 1|
|Gary Klein, CA||24 - 1|
|Larry Williams, OH||23 - 9|
|Steven Mitchell||23 - 6|
|Scott Pope||22 - 4|
|Stanley Mitchell, GA||22 - 3|
|Ronnie Dolson||21 - 1|
|D R Boone||20 - 14|
|Arnold Philbeck||20 - 1|
|Billy Grindle||20 - 0|
|Jerry Brown||19 - 15|
|Stephen Goodwin||19 - 5|
|Cliff Craft, GA||18 - 15|
|Billy Noah||18 - 11|
|Bob Pastick||18 - 7|
|Ray Weaver||18 - 6|
|Shorty Evans, MO||17 - 15|
|Charles Campbell, MO||17 - 13|
|Ricky Green, AR||17 - 9|
|Charles Howser||17 - 3|
|James Baur||17 - 2|
|Neal Parker||17 - 1|
|Blake Honeycutt, NC||16 - 3|
|Hank Parker, NC||16 - 2|
|Bill McCormack||16 - 2|
|Paul Trefz||15 - 14|
|Tommy Chapman, NC||15 - 10|
|Marvin Baker, TX||14 - 15|
|J D Skinner, AL||14 - 15|
|Bill O'connor||14 - 13|
|Zell Rowland, TX||14 - 10|
The Final Standings and Box Score for this event were not printed in Bassmaster magazine. This data was taken from the Bassmaster website.
Missouri Invitational West Division – LOZ Guido’s Benefit Event
For the second year in a row, the Bassmaster trail went to Missouri’s famed Lake of the Ozarks. The second stop for the Western Division would prove much the same, at least when it came to the winner.
Missouri’s 15-inch length limit proved to be a tough obstacle to overcome as proof from the overall weights required to get into the Top-100. To break above the century mark, you needed only 21-pounds, 15-ounces.
But for Guido Hibdon, who was a full-time guide on the lake, it was deja-vu all over again. Hibdon, who’d won the event the prior year, credited that win to his father who’d shown him a spot years prior. This time, he credited his 13-year-old son, Dion, with helping win the event. It was reported that Dion had recently molded a live crawdad and poured plastic into the impression it’d made. Hibdon, called the bait a “Dion Special,” but it would end up becoming known as the Guido Bug.
Hibdon was throwing his homemade jig and “Dion Special” trailer in 2 to 3 feet of water. He took over the lead the second day and never looked back. He weighed in 51-12 total for three days of competition.
Gary Klein, who reported catching 25 keeper fish the final day, couldn’t get a kicker to help with his final total and ended up in second place with 49-15. There was no report how Klein caught his fish but I would expect he caught them flipping.
Roland Martin, who’d won the first three events of the season, had boat troubles the first day. It was reported in the July/August 1981 issue of Bassmaster Magazine that his lower unit went out on him and he ran out of gas. Still, after all that. Martin was able to rally to a 26th-place finish with 14 bass weighing 36-08. Imagine if he hadn’t blown his lower unit the first day.
There was no Final Standings or Box Score given for the event, but it was reported that 1,800 bass were weighed in over the three days and 141 five-fish limits were weighed.
For the Top-40 Standings, please check out the table below.
|Guido Hibdon||51 - 2|
|Gary Klein||49 - 15|
|Ken D Cook||47 - 3|
|Don Rank||47 - 0|
|Randy Behringer||46 - 10|
|Bill Ward||46 - 0|
|Doug Garrett||45 - 6|
|Jimmy Crisp||45 - 3|
|Ray Meredith||43 - 7|
|Denny Brauer||43 - 4|
|Hank Parker||42 - 12|
|John Torian||41 - 7|
|Larry Baker||40 - 13|
|Guy Eaker||40 - 8|
|Bobby Murray||39 - 10|
|Fred Lewis||39 - 4|
|Kenneth Walker||39 - 3|
|Dewayne Green||38 - 13|
|David Wharton||38 - 7|
|Dick Collier||38 - 4|
|Randell Seward||37 - 14|
|William Bailey||36 - 14|
|Ron Williams||36 - 11|
|Daniel Boyer||36 - 10|
|Roland Martin||36 - 8|
|Roland Martin||36 - 8|
|Tom Mann||36 - 7|
|Rick Clunn||36 - 2|
|William Taylor||36 - 1|
|Shorty Evans||35 - 7|
|Greg Ward||35 - 4|
|Bob Mcallen||34 - 10|
|Don Kylberg||34 - 10|
|Bob Coffman||34 - 3|
|Samuel Smith||34 - 0|
|John Powell||33 - 12|
|Walter Sawicki||33 - 9|
|Charles Campbell||33 - 3|
|Rayborn Waits||32 - 14|
|Everett Mccarty||32 - 12|
Arkansas Invitational West Division – Rhyne’s Blades Win
For the second event in a row, Roland Martin didn’t win. It was almost as if he’d fallen into a slump, and the rest of the field was thankful. But when one person doesn’t win, it allows someone else to rise to the occasion. In this case, a North Carolinian by the name of Jerry Rhyne filled those shoes.
Lake Ouachita proved to be a lesson in humility for the 168 anglers who showed up to test the competitive waters. Conditions present for the events were post front and post spawn, two things that don’t add up to good fishing.
As with the last two events, not much was written up about the tournament, including the lack of final standings and the Box Score. What was said was Rhyne found his fish in practice and took complete advantage of them the first day. Rhyne weighed a 7-fish limit that day that went 27-04. As it turned out, Rhyne could have spent the rest of the event on shore, as no one would be able to beat his first day weight over the course of the event. This would be the second time an angler would win an event the first day, the only other time being at the 1976 Florida Invitational.
The runner-up in the event was Jimmy Houston who weighed 25-09 and Indiana Hoosier Don Rank took third place with 25-05. Rounding out the Top-5 were Hank Parker and Roland Martin with 24-04 and 23-00, respectively.
Rhyne reported catching his fish on a 3/8-ounce Storm Bass Hog spinnerbait. He said most of the other anglers had figured out where the fish were, it’s just they were sitting on top of them. His method was to throw to grass in 2 to 2 1/2 feet of water where there was a drop to six feet close by. He’d stay close to the drop-off and cast into the grass whereas other anglers had their boats in the grass.
He also mentioned he slow-rolled the bait back where he saw most of his competition burning the blade.
This was the final event in the West Division. The Top-40 for the event is presented in the table below. The East and West Division standings will be presented further on in this article.
|Jerry Rhyne||34 - 15|
|Jimmy Houston||25 - 9|
|Don Rank||25 - 5|
|Hank Parker||24 - 4|
|Roland Martin||23 - 0|
|Bobby Murray||20 - 13|
|Randy Dearman||19 - 11|
|Ron Shearer||19 - 2|
|Rayo Breckenridge||18 - 6|
|John Mclain||17 - 11|
|Tom Daffron||17 - 3|
|Jerry Wood||17 - 3|
|Larry Nixon||16 - 0|
|John Powell||15 - 7|
|Frank Hood||14 - 3|
|Tommy Chapman||14 - 3|
|David Johnson||13 - 15|
|George Cochran||13 - 11|
|Doyle Cain||13 - 6|
|William Sparks||13 - 6|
|H J Stevens||12-02|
North Carolina Invitational – Bacon Sizzles At The Sound
For the final event of the East Division, a lot was on the line for qualifying for the BASS Masters Classic. Although this wasn’t the last qualifying event, anglers wanted to make the Top-14 in their respective Division in order not to have to worry as much going into the Fish-Off scheduled the following month on Cherokee Lake, Tennessee.
Basil Bacon was one of those anglers wanting to cement his way to the Classic prior to the Fish Off.
As it turned out, the Albermarle Sound wasn’t going to make it easy on any of the anglers, especially Bacon.
First off, the wind blew hard for the duration of the event, making the shallow sound had to navigate and fish. The wind combined with the shallow waters broke boats, livewells, trolling motors, and big engines. The factory reps were working overtime to keep the boats on the water.
Bacon had the lead going into the final day, 3 1/2 pounds ahead of Rick Clunn. But when Bacon got out there the last day, his trolling motor failed and left him without any boat control. That’s a problem when you’re on a flipping bite.
At noon Bacon ran into Clunn, who had a 7-fish limit in the boat. At that point, Bacon’s partner for the day, David Chappell, put down his rod, picked up Bacon’s push pole and proceeded to keep Bacon on the cover. With his non-boater’s help, Bacon was able to put three fish in the well and hold on to his lead.
At the end of the day, Bacon’s three fish weighed in at 10-10, boosting his weight to 46-12 (16 fish total). Clunn, even with a limit on the final day, couldn’t catch Bacon, and weighed 43-06 (21 fish). Third place went to Larry Nixon with a 3-day, 21-fish limit that weighed 40-08. Guy Eaker weighed in a total of 16 fish for 40-05, and Ricky Green rounded out the Top-5 with a total of 39-15 (15 fish).
Although Roland Martin didn’t win the event, he placed in the 6th spot with 19 fish that went 39-02. So far for the year he’d accumulated 3 wins, a 5th, a 6th, and a 26th in what was turning out to be a record-breaking year for him. We’d see if he could continue his onslaught at Cherokee the following month.
Unlike the other three events presented above, Bassmaster Magazine printed the Top-40 and the Box Score for the tournament. Overall, 242 anglers competed, catching a total of 1,332 bass that weighed 3,016-11. James Parker of Anchorage, Alaska caught the big fish for the event at 8-11 while Ricky Green caught the other two daily big fish at 8-03 and 7-13.
For the complete results and Box Score, please see the table below.
|Basil Bacon, MO||46 - 12||$11,700*|
|Rick Clunn, TX||43 - 6||$4,000|
|Larry Nixon, TX||40 - 8||$3,000|
|Guy Eaker, NC||40 - 5||$2,500|
|Ricky Green, AR||39 - 15||$1,700|
|Roland Martin, FL||39 - 2||$1,600|
|Jack Chancellor, AL||38 - 5||$1,500|
|Gary Klein, CA||35 - 10||$1,400|
|James Parker, AK||34 - 8||$1,300|
|Johnny Adams, FL||32 - 11||$1,200|
|Bobby Ditto, FL||31 - 0||$1,100|
|Stanley Mitchell, GA||30 - 6||$1,100|
|Mike Ney, VA||29 - 13||$1,100|
|Linwood Thornhill, SC||29 - 11||$1,100|
|Donald Forman, VA||29 - 10||$1,100|
|Villis Dowden, LA||29 - 9||$1,000|
|Jerry Bunch, NC||29 - 8||$1,000|
|Charles Atwell, VA||29 - 0||$1,000|
|Tom Mann, AL||28 - 10||$1,000|
|Larry Williams, OH||28 - 1||$1,000|
|Randall R Romig, PA||27 - 3||$900|
|Jack Westberry, FL||26 - 13||$900|
|Morris Freeman, NC||26 - 12||$900|
|Thomas Martin, TX||25 - 11||$900|
|Bruce Cunagin, OH||25 - 7||$900|
|Claude Ballard, NC||25 - 6||$800|
|Harold Allen, TX||24 - 15||$800|
|Bill Ward, MO||24 - 11||$800|
|Woo Daves, VA||24 - 6||$750|
|Mike Arrington, FL||23 - 15||$750|
|Steven Mitchell, GA||23 - 5||$600|
|Scott Pope, NC||23 - 1||$600|
|Thomas Hicks, VA||22 - 6||$600|
|Ray Weaver, GA||22 - 6||$600|
|Bobby Jeffries, VA||21 - 5||$600|
|Zell Rowland, TX||21 - 1||$600|
|W D Thornhill, SC||20 - 13||$500|
|Marty Wiebelhaus, MI||20 - 9||$500|
|Kenneth Walker, TX||20 - 7||$500|
|Don CaggianoNY||20 - 5||$500|
|James Parker, FL|
Leading into the Fish-Off
By the end of the regular season, it was shaping up to be a race to get into the Top-14 for each Division. Anglers just above and below the cut line could make a move that would either answer their dreams or shatter them. There was a lot at stake for everyone in the hunt. Below are the Top-25 Division standings calculated using the data presented on Bassmaster.com.
|Angler, State||Angler, State|
|Roland Martin||130-15||Roland Martin||144-03|
|Guy Eaker||117-12||Larry Nixon||121-02|
|Rick Clunn||98-00||Bobby Murray||114-09|
|Villis Dowden||94-10||Gary Klein||109-13|
|Jack Chancellor||93-12||Hank Parker||108-06|
|Ricky Green||83-02||John Torian||108-01|
|Larry Williams||81-05||Villis Dowden||107-07|
|Gary Klein||79-08||Greg Ward||102-15|
|Basil Bacon||76-03||George Cochran||102-08|
|Stanley Mitchell||76-01||Don Rank||102-04|
|Larry Nixon||73-05||Randy Behringer||98-03|
|Scott Pope||70-00||Rick Clunn||96-09|
|Tom Jurkewicz||68-11||Ken D Cook||96-06|
|Johnny Adams||68-02||Ray Meredith||90-10|
|Linwood Thornhill||68-02||Kenneth Walker||90-04|
|Bruce Cunagin||67-15||Harold Allen||87-13|
|Neal Parker||65-11||Jimmy Houston||87-01|
|Cliff Craft||65-00||Jerry Rhyne||83-11|
|Paul Elias||61-03||Guido Hibdon||83-05|
|Richard Hale||61-00||Thomas Martin||80-05|
|Thomas Martin||60-03||William Taylor||79-11|
|Harold Allen||59-06||David Wharton||79-09|
|Larry Wright||57-15||Tommy Chapman||79-04|
|Steven Mitchell||57-10||Ron Shearer||78-04|
|Bill Ward||55-02||Paul Elias||76-04|
The AOY Race was a blowout with Roland Martin so far ahead, everyone else was fishing for second place. But the AOY standings presented another way to get into the Classic and below Martin there was a race to get those last seven spots. To see the Top-40 in the overall AOY race, check out the table below.
|Gary Van Nostrand||97-07|
|Ken D Cook||96-06|
Next time we’ll present the 1981 Fish-Off, better known as the BASS Champs event, the last Classic qualifying tournament. To read part 1 of this series, please hit the link here.
The full tournament rules and reports are shown in the Gallery Below. Click on the first image and use the arrows to scroll through the images.
Hello My name is Phyllis Lawing and Hubert Greene was my uncle. I am interested in getting copies of some of the pictures of Hubert and my grandfather Otto that you have posted on some of your articles.Is it possible to order them somewhere?
Hi Phyllis, I actually got those images from Andy Greene. I scanned them at the Spindale shop. I’m sure he still has them. Terry