Original Caption: Randy Blaukat: From bowling to bass. Springfield Leader and Press, January 26, 1986, Staff photo/Dan Dyer

Today’s Friday Finale historical photo comes from the January 26, 1986 Springfield Leader.  The accompanying article, titled, “One-time bowler lands big strike. Fisherman gives up alleys for lakes to fish on pro bass circuit,” by Larry S. Hazelrigg, was about local 24-year-old angler/bowler, Randy Blaukat and his decision to turn to professional bass fishing.

Having just completed his degree in criminal justice administration, to which he admitted that he probably won’t ever use, his career plans had switched to becoming a professional bass angler.  In the story he stated, “I seriously considered becoming a bowling professional after I carried a 205 average for several years, but I decided four years ago to be a professional bass fisherman.  I’ve totally quit bowling since then.”

A few other interesting excerpts from the story follow;

  • “I try to be very versatile.  Some people are not open-minded enough about their fishing.”
  • He prefers to fish with jigs, using the under-handed pitching method, since he can cover more water that way than with the flipping method.  He prefers a pork frog trailer on his jigs.
  • “I credit most of my success to Terry Thomas (Galena) and Dick Collier (Springfield).  Dick had been my idol for years. He’s the reason I’m where I am.”
  • On B.A.S.S. titles: “I think Angler-of-the-Year is more important.  My goal is to make a comfortable living doing this and to be one of the top professional fishermen in the nation.  I want to consistently qualify for the Classic and do well in the Angler-of-the-Year race.  To me, that’s more important than winning the Classic.”
  • Along with partners Bud Hammons and Dan Tiberghien, the trio had started a new tackle venture called Ultra Tournament Products.  They had 15 employees and made pre-scented jigs, color coordinated worm weights, structure spoons and buzz baits.