Last week we started the coverage of the 1982-83 Bassmaster Trail with a breakdown of the format of the new season. Today in 1982-83 Bassmaster Trail Part 2 we look at the first League event and the Angler of the Year standings after two events.
Yes, this was the first league event of the season, but the AOY race started at the end of the 81-82 season with the BASS Champs event held on the stingy Ohio River. In that event, Larry Nixon won, which also gave him his second Bassmaster AOY of his career.
Entrants were excited to leave the thought of the Ohio behind and get to Florida for some better fishing. Unfortunately, what should have been a great event turned sour before official practice even began.
Locals reported that the fishing had turned off three weeks prior to official practice and when the competitors got to the lake, nothing good could be said about the bite. Locals were the favorites due to their knowledge of the water, especially during trying times.
One angler, though, had never seen the water prior to the official practice period. That angler was Ken Cook. But even though Cook had never seen the water, he had a couple aces up his sleeve. He was a biologist for the state of Oklahoma and a crack bass angler who had already qualified for two BASS Masters Classic through the Western League in 1981 and 1982.
But the Florida Invitational wouldn’t be a cake walk for Cook.
After three grueling days of practice, the anglers knew it was going to be a tough row to hoe. Hank Parker, the 1979 BASS Masters Classic winner, took the day-one lead with a limit of seven bass that weighed 18-11. His pro partner for the day, Richard Vance (FL) boated 16-04 and was in the second spot. Rounding out the top five was Wayne Yont ((FL) with 15-15, Joseph Jones (FL) with 15-13, and James Thigpin (MS) with 14-14. Three of the top five were Floridians, showing that maybe a little experience would pay off. Ken Cook sat in the eight spot with 13-04.
Parker continued to top the leader board after the second day, but his weight was a shadow of what it was on day one. Parker was only able to boat three fish the second day for a total of 6-12, bringing his total to 25-07. Tom Jurkewicz (FL), who caught a limit the first day (14-07) made a jump the second day from sixth to second with five fish that went 10-08. His total was 24-15.
Rounding out the top five were Ken Cook (OK) with nine fish for 22-04, Wayne Yont (FL) with 9 for 21-05, and Richard Vance (FL) with 10 bass for 20-14.
Parker remarked that when he’d got to his spot the second day that there were 40 boats in the area. Parker was quoted in the Palm Beach Post as saying, “When I got out there this morning I thought maybe a plane had crashed and they had sent a rescue mission out there. There were so many boats out there, it forced me to change my method.”
Parker had been throwing a weedless spoon for his fish the first day. He changed to flipping a worm the second day.
Roland Martin was also one of the pre-tournament favorites to win but a flop on day one took him out of the running. Martin blanked on day one and weighed only one bass for 1-12 on day two. He sat in 207th place.
Parker’s day one string continued to hamper his chances of winning the Florida Invitational. The third day of the event saw another armada of boats on his water and he was only able to bring one bass to the scales the final day. His 27-04 total would drop him to fourth place by the end of the event.
But the Oklahoma fisheries biologist kept on his fish with little notice. In fact, Ken Cook said everyone saw him fishing. They couldn’t miss him. He was fishing the Southport Lock.
Cook’s thought going into the event was this. With the bite so bad, if he could find moving water, he might find more active fish. His hunch paid off in spades. Each time the lock would open, current would flow and the bite would turn on. On the final day, sitting in third place, Cook boated four bass for 7-13. This brought his three-day total to 30-01, enough for the win.
Tom Jurkewicz held on to the second spot with 28-01, while Dave Friesenborg moved up and took the third-place spot with 27-07. Rounding out the top five was Hank Parker (NC) 27-04, and Peter Thilveros (FL) with 24-03.
Cook concentrated on Alligator Grass, wood and pilings near the Southport lock. He said every time the lock opened the current would make the fish eat. But the current wasn’t the only thing he credited to his win. He also mentioned that with the high sun, he paid close attention to shade.
In fact, Cook said that as the day progressed, he noticed the fish would go deeper in the grass. He wasn’t able to penetrate the thick grass with his 1/4-ounce worm weights, which is what made him turn to the wood and pilings. This was back in the day when a 1/2-ounce worm weight was the biggest your could buy. It was far simpler for Cook to target the shady sides of hard cover.
Cook threw a Norman Snatrix in Electric Blue. He felt that the glitter helped the fish to see the bait in the tannic water. Who could argue with his first Bassmaster win.
The full results and Score Card for the event are shown below as are the AOY standings after two events.
|Ken D Cook||13/13||30 - 1||$12,000|
|Tom Jurkewicz||13/12||28 - 1||$4,000|
|Dave Friesenborg||9/9||27 - 7||$3,000|
|Hank Parker||11/11||27 - 4||$2,500|
|Peter E Thliveros||10/10||24 - 3||$2,000|
|Gary Pendergrass||9/8||23 - 3||$1,600|
|Richard Vance||11/9||23 - 2||$1,500|
|Villis Dowden||11/7||23 - 1||$1,400|
|Wayne Yohn||10/9||22 - 10||$1,300|
|Randall R Romig||11/7||22 - 5||$1,200|
|Jerry Rhyne||10/7||21 - 13||$1,100|
|Bob Hardin||9/6||19 - 14||$1,100|
|Joseph Jones||9/9||19 - 3||$1,100|
|Paul Elias||7/6||19 - 2||$1,100|
|William Sparks||7/7||18 - 12||$1,950|
|Ken Jordan||5/4||18 - 5||$7,600|
|Charles Stevenson||10/7||17 - 12||$1,000|
|Mark Overstreet-ineligi||9/9||17 - 9||$1,000|
|David Wharton||10/9||17 - 1||$1,000|
|Greg Swint||8/8||16 - 15||$1,000|
|Larry Nixon||10/10||16 - 9||$900|
|L. E. Clark||8/8||16 - 7||$900|
|Buddy Liles||5/5||16 - 2||$900|
|Bob Stonewater||8/8||16 - 1||$900|
|Randy Fite||8/8||15 - 4||$900|
|James Thigpen||7/3||14 - 14||$800|
|Stanley Bond||6/6||14 - 6||$800|
|Denny Brauer||7/7||14 - 3||$766|
|Jimmy Rogers||7/7||14 - 3||$766|
|Ricky Green||7/7||14 - 3||$766|
|Glenn Crawford||8/8||14 - 0||$600|
|George Bost||7/7||13 - 11||$600|
|James Pearson||6/6||13 - 9||$600|
|Robert Becton||8/8||13 - 9||$600|
|Curtis Lewis||6/6||13 - 5||$550|
|Gerry Bevis||6/6||13 - 3||$550|
|Ronnie Young||7/7||13 - 3||$550|
|Harold Walters||4/4||13 - 1||$500|
|Todd Goodwill||6/6||13 - 0||$500|
|Remo Beaver||8/8||12 - 13||$500|
|Ken Jordon, FL|
|William Sparks, OK|
|Pete Thilveros, FL|
A penalty of two ounces was subtracted for each dead bass. Winner Award consisted of $5,000 Cash and a $7,000 Ranger Boat. Overall Big Fish Award was $6,600 Ranger Boat Rigged with trailer, charger, kill switch, lowrance flasher and Surface Fish-n-Temp, and Johnny Reb TectrAnchor.
|Ken D Cook||36-04|
|Randall R Romig||34-08|
|Peter E Thliveros||24-03|
|L. E. Clark||16-17|