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.
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.
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 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.
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.
|Thomas Martin||21/21||63 - 8||$12,000|
|Larry Nixon||17/17||55 - 0||$4,000|
|David Wharton||20/20||52 - 14||$3,000|
|Harold Allen||18/18||48 - 9||$2,500|
|Hank Parker||17/17||47 - 8||$1,700|
|John Dean||16/16||43 - 15||$1,600|
|Ewell Parker||17/17||43 - 7||$1,500|
|John Torian||15/15||40 - 8||$1,400|
|Jack Chancellor||21/21||40 - 4||$1,300|
|Randy Fite||13/13||40 - 2||$1,550|
|C W Rowse||13/13||39 - 8||$1,100|
|Ken D Cook||18/18||39 - 4||$1,100|
|Robert Ferris||13/13||38 - 4||$1,100|
|Roland Martin||15/15||38 - 2||$1,100|
|Villis Dowden||14/14||37 - 7||$1,100|
|George Cochran||15/15||36 - 9||$1,000|
|H J Stevens||12/12||36 - 7||$1,000|
|Jim Culp||15/15||36 - 4||$1,000|
|Joe Wagoner||12/12||35 - 9||$1,000|
|Gary Pendergrass||14/14||35 - 8||$1,000|
|Kenneth Walker||13/13||34 - 2||$900|
|Tom Mann||16/16||34 - 1||$900|
|Jim Nolan||12/12||33 - 4||$900|
|Kelous Kizer||12/12||33 - 3||$900|
|David Gregg||11/11||31 - 13||$900|
|Tommy Griffis||13/13||31 - 12||$800|
|John Bates||12/12||31 - 3||$800|
|Jim Kirkpatrick||10/10||30 - 14||$800|
|William Melvin||14/14||30 - 11||$750|
|Ricky Green||13/13||30 - 11||$750|
|Reagan Henry||12/12||29 - 15||$600|
|Doug Garrett||9/9||28 - 13||$600|
|William Vanover||12/12||28 - 13||$600|
|Tommy Jenkins||15/15||28 - 12||$600|
|Bobby Smith||9/9||28 - 3||$600|
|Greg Wilmoth||15/15||28 - 2||$600|
|Dwight Wilmoth||11/11||28 - 1||$500|
|Larry Martin||13/13||27 - 15||$500|
|Donald Chance||11/11||27 - 13||$500|
|Jerry Watson||10/10||27 - 9||$500|
|Whymon O. Willis, FL|
|Don Leach, OK|
|Randy Fite, TX|
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||75-08|
|C W Rowse||39-08|
|H J Stevens||36-07|
|Randall R Romig||34-08|
|1||Tom Jurkewicz||42-04||1||Larry Nixon||71-05|
|2||Ken D Cook||36-04||2||Tommy Martin||68-15|
|3||Randall R Romig||34-08||3||David Wharton||58-07|
|4||Larry Nixon||32-14||4||Harold Allen||56-06|
|5||Jerry Rhyne||31-04||5||Jack Chancellor||48-07|
|6||Richard Vance||28-12||6||Hank Parker||47-08|
|7||Denny Brauer||28-04||7||George Cochran||47-01|
|8||Dave Friesenborg||27-07||8||Ken Cook||45-07|
|9||Hank Parker||27-04||9||John Dean||43-15|
|10||Villis Dowden||24-09||10||Ewell Parker||43-07|