Tommy Martin nets his kicker fish on the last day of the 1983 Texas Invitational held on Sam Rayburn Reservoir. Photo April 1983 issue of Bassmaster Magazine.

Today in 1982/83 Bassmaster Trail Part 3, we’re going to cover the first Bassmaster West League event for 1983.  Last week we covered the first event of the Eastern League where Ken Cook won the season opener held on the Kissimmee Chain of Lakes.

By this time, there had been two events for the Angler of the Year race.  Those events were the 1982 BASS Champs event and the Kissimmee event.  Sam Rayburn, which started league play in the west, would be the third in a total of five events anglers had in order to qualify for 15 Classic spots as well as the AOY award.

Sam Rayburn had been in a slump due to high fishing pressure and decaying cover, but over the past couple years was coming back to life due to the newfound grass.  Bassmaster reported in three issues prior to this event that all reports indicated a revival of Rayburn and the hopes of a good event.

Big Sam wasn’t about to disappoint.

David Wharton topped the list of pre-tournament favorites, having two articles in the lead-up issues to the tournament.  Others who were dangerous were Tommy Martin, Larry Nixon, Harold Allen, and John Torian, all part of the Hemphill Gang and local guides.

The February event was looking to shape up well with the weather warming after several days of rain and the fish staging for the spawn.

The 1983 Bassmaster Trail Texas Invitational Tournament Patch Sam Rayburn Reservoir courtesy of Jeff Haines.

Day One

With five anglers bringing in over 20 pounds to the scale on the first round, it appeared the prognosticators were right that it’d take 60 pounds to win.  Topping the field on day one was two anglers, Tommy Martin and H.J. Stevens (AR), each with 7-fish limits for 23-10.

C.W. “Butch” Rowse (NM) held down the third position with 22-15, while Harold Allen brought a 21-10 limit to the scales, good enough for 4th place.  Rounding out the top five was Tom Neanah (KS) with a limit for 20-03.

Martin reported he caught nine bass total during the day, culling his best seven.  He was fishing jigs and crankbaits in the willows in five to eight feet of water.  Stevens wouldn’t divulge his pattern due to high angling pressure on his water.

Day One tournament report for the 1983 Bassmaster Texas Invitational. Fort Worth Star Telegram Thursday February 24 1983.

Day Two

The second day of the event would see a change in the leaderboard.  Larry Nixon, who had been in 10th place on day one with only five fish, brought in the heaviest limit of the event on day two.  His 26-09 bag pushed him past Martin with a total of 44-05.  Nixon said he was also fishing jigs and cranks in the willows and had caught 13 keepers during the day.

Tommy Martin weighed one of 20 7-fish limits on the day, his bag settling the scales at 19-15.  With a total of 43-09, Martin was only 12 ounces behind Nixon in second place.

Randy Fite managed six bass on the day for 21-14, which gave him a two-day total of 40-02, good enough for the third position.  Butch Rowse brought in 14-13 (37-12 total), and Harold Allen weighed 15-00 (36-10 total) and rounded out the top five.

H.J. Stevens, who was tied for first on day one, fell to the sixth spot on day two with six bass that weighed 11-04.

Day Two tournament report for the 1983 Bassmaster Texas Invitational. Fort Worth Star Telegram Thursday February 24 1983.

Day Three

Day three of the Texas Invitational saw more change, and this time not just in the leaderboard.  What had been fair weather and a good bite was turned on its nose when high winds blew into the area overnight.  Several anglers were affected by the winds, knocking their bite down or making it difficult to feel their baits.

Tommy Martin, who’d spent the first two days in the same area, had decided to fish another area of the lake but got blown out.  He ended up going back to his main area and had five fish by 10am.  He scratched out his third limit of the tournament, again weighing 19-15.  His three-day total was 63-08.

Larry Nixon, who led after day two, had a hard time due to the weather.  He was only able to boat five bass for 10-11, bringing his total to 55-00, good enough for second place.

The pre-tournament favorite, David Wharton, was able to rally the final day, finishing in third place with 52-14.  Wharton started the event out in ninth place (18-11) and moved into seventh on day two with another 16-01 bag (34-13 total).  He described the event as one he just couldn’t get the bigger fish to eat.

Harold Allen, who was stayed in the top five all tournament finished in fourth place with a total of 48-09 and Hank Parker rounded out the top five with 47-08.

Day Three tournament report for the 1983 Bassmaster Texas Invitational. Fort Worth Star Telegram Thursday February 24 1983.

Eight of the top 10 anglers were all from the greater east Texas, West Louisiana area and familiar with Sam Rayburn.  This included Harold Allen (MS) who had recently left east Texas for Mississippi.

Roland Martin, who’d had a bad start to the season, made up some ground after a dismal 44th place first day showing.  The seven-time Angler of the Year finished the event in 14th place, salvaging his run at another AOY.

Speaking of the AOY race, at this point, with three events complete, Larry Nixon was firmly in first place with a total weight of 87-14, followed by Tommy Martin with 77-13.  David Wharton and Ken Cook were tied for third with 75-08, and Hank Parker rounded out the top five with 74-12.

For the tournament scorecard, AOY results and East and West League standings, please see the tables below.  To read Part One and Part Two, click the links.

BASS Master Texas Invitational Western League Sam Rayburn Scorecard - February 23-25, 1983
Place
Angler
Bass/Alive
Weight, lbs-ozs
Award
1
Thomas Martin21/2163 - 8$12,000
2
Larry Nixon17/1755 - 0$4,000
3
David Wharton20/2052 - 14$3,000
4
Harold Allen18/1848 - 9$2,500
5
Hank Parker17/1747 - 8$1,700
6
John Dean16/1643 - 15$1,600
7
Ewell Parker17/1743 - 7$1,500
8
John Torian15/1540 - 8$1,400
9
Jack Chancellor21/2140 - 4$1,300
10
Randy Fite13/1340 - 2$1,550
11
C W Rowse13/1339 - 8$1,100
12
Ken D Cook18/1839 - 4$1,100
13
Robert Ferris13/1338 - 4$1,100
14
Roland Martin15/1538 - 2$1,100
15
Villis Dowden14/1437 - 7$1,100
16
George Cochran15/1536 - 9$1,000
17
H J Stevens12/1236 - 7$1,000
18
Jim Culp15/1536 - 4$1,000
19
Joe Wagoner12/1235 - 9$1,000
20
Gary Pendergrass14/1435 - 8$1,000
21
Kenneth Walker13/1334 - 2$900
22
Tom Mann16/1634 - 1$900
23
Jim Nolan12/1233 - 4$900
24
Kelous Kizer12/1233 - 3$900
25
David Gregg11/1131 - 13$900
26
Tommy Griffis13/1331 - 12$800
27
John Bates12/1231 - 3$800
28
Jim Kirkpatrick10/1030 - 14$800
29
William Melvin14/1430 - 11$750
30
Ricky Green13/1330 - 11$750
31
Reagan Henry12/1229 - 15$600
32
Doug Garrett9/928 - 13$600
33
William Vanover12/1228 - 13$600
34
Tommy Jenkins15/1528 - 12$600
35
Bobby Smith9/928 - 3$600
36
Greg Wilmoth15/1528 - 2$600
37
Dwight Wilmoth11/1128 - 1$500
38
Larry Martin13/1327 - 15$500
39
Donald Chance11/1127 - 13$500
40
Jerry Watson10/1027 - 9$500
Daily Lunker Leaders
Angler, State
Weight, lbs-ozs
Award
Day 1
Whymon O. Willis, FL
7-08
$6,600
Day 2
Don Leach, OK
7-01
$850
Day 3
Randy Fite, TX
6-10
$350
The Box Score
Day 1
Day 2
Day 3
Total
Total Weight, lbs-ozs
1337-151510-101191-094040-02
Bass Weighed-in
5466275071680
7-Bass Limits
12201042
Bass Alive Weighed-in
5466255071678
NOTE:
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.
1982/83 BASS Master Angler of the Year Race after Three Events
Place
Angler
Weight, lbs-oz
1
Larry Nixon87-14
2
Thomas Martin77-13
3
David Wharton75-08
4
Ken D Cook75-08
5
Hank Parker74-12
6
Harold Allen65-07
7
Villis Dowden62-00
8
Gary Pendergrass59-15
9
Tom Jurkewicz58-11
10
Randy Fite57-04
11
Jack Chancellor53-01
12
Denny Brauer50-11
13
Paul Elias48-11
14
Jerry Rhyne48-10
15
Jim Culp47-05
16
George Cochran47-01
17
Ricky Green46-09
18
Roland Martin46-07
19
Kenneth Walker45-00
20
John Dean43-15
21
Tom Mann43-08
22
Ewell Parker43-07
23
Ronnie Young41-10
24
John Torian40-08
25
William Sparks40-03
26
Joe Wagoner40-00
27
Rick Clunn39-15
28
Kelous Kizer39-08
29
C W Rowse39-08
30
Ron Shearer38-06
31
Robert Ferris38-04
32
Randy Behringer37-04
33
Tommy Jenkins37-03
34
William Melvin37-02
35
William Vanover36-13
36
H J Stevens36-07
37
Richard Kurtz36-06
38
Greg Swint35-08
39
John Rawlings34-11
40
Randall R Romig34-08
1982/83 Bassmaster East and West League Standings After Two Events
Place
Angler
Weight, lbs-oz
Place
Angler
Weight, lbs-oz
1Tom Jurkewicz42-041Larry Nixon71-05
2Ken D Cook36-042Tommy Martin68-15
3Randall R Romig34-083David Wharton58-07
4Larry Nixon32-144Harold Allen56-06
5Jerry Rhyne31-045Jack Chancellor48-07
6Richard Vance28-126Hank Parker47-08
7Denny Brauer28-047George Cochran47-01
8Dave Friesenborg27-078Ken Cook45-07
9Hank Parker27-049John Dean43-15
10Villis Dowden24-0910Ewell Parker43-07