Original Caption: Basil bacon (left) displays his winning catch with runnerup Richard Stocks. Birmingham Post Herald, Saturday July 26, 1980. Photo Bill Ingram.

Today in Basil BASS Champ 1980 we’re going to continue on with what has become a popular segment here at the Bass Fishing Archives.  Old newspaper clippings of pro anglers whose names we don’t hear often anymore.  In this case, we’re talking about veteran pro and tackle inventor Basil Bacon.

The subject of today’s post is Basil Bacon and his 1980 BASS Champs win on Lake Guntersville.  The BASS Champs event was the final event in the 1980 season and was the deciding factor in who qualified from each division for the BASS Masters Classic.  It was the first year B.A.S.S. split the trail into divisions and there was a lot of confusion going into this event with respect to the AOY race as well as Classic qualifications.

On top of that confusion, the state of Alabama threw a wrench into the mix.  At this time, the state had started spraying aquatic vegetation and what some anglers had thought were productive waters, turned into ghost towns during the event.  Here are a couple examples of how the spraying affected the bite.

On Day One, Ron Shearer weighed in a limit of seven bass that went 30-15.  He only weighed 12-15 the final two days.  Randy Fite weighed 25-10 the first day and could only bag one other keeper the final two days.  Both anglers blamed aerial spraying of the weeds that decimated their areas.

Bacon was lucky in that his area wasn’t on the spray list the week of the tournament.  He started off the event in second place with a limit that went 27-14 and followed that up with 8-08 the second day.  On the final day he bagged another 17-04 giving him 53-10 total for 14 fish.

Unfortunately, Richard Stocks had it in the bag, if not for another spray-related problem.

Stocks had found the fish on the final day and put the only limit of the day in the boat.  When it came down to the final scorecard, his seven fish officially weighed 23-11, by way of 14 ounces worth of dead fish penalties.

Stocks was catching his fish in an area that had been sprayed and due to the spray in the water and high July temperatures, all of his fish died.  With one live bass would have given the win to him.  He ended up weighing a total of 53-09 for second place.

To read the complete article, please see the image below.

Birmingham Post Herald, Saturday July 26, 1980. Photo Bill Ingram.