Today’s Throwback Thursday historical news photo, Cliff’s Craft, is another of the Georgia spotted bass crew that made their way onto the professional stage, Cliff Craft. At the time of this Atlanta news story in 1982, fresh off his win in the 1982 Alabama Invitational, Cliff was a 32-year-old professional bass angler and guide. His guide trips earned him $130 a day, along with income from the many seminar appearances he did every winter. He also spent around 175 days each year fishing, much of that in either practice for, or during events on the tournament trail.
According to the article, which was titled; “Fishing as a job is still pleasure,” in late May, he took top honors in a bass tournament on Lake Lanier sponsored by Gainesville radio station WGGA, then won radio station WPLO’s pro bass tournament on Lanier, and a week prior to this article he became the champion in Bass Anglers Sportsman Society’s national tournament on Lake George.
He earned $5,000 and a Ranger bass boat and trailer ($7,000) for that win. The article stated, “He’ll sell that handsome red and white boat because he already owns a 17-foot Ranger and a 150 hp Mercury outboard motor,” hearkening back to the days when they had a 150 hp limit on bass boats in B.A.S.S. tournament competition.
Cliff also said, “Very rarely do I go fishing strictly for fun anymore. I’m too busy in tournaments, guiding and in seminars. But tournament fishing is fun. There’s nothing in the world like a bass on the end of your line.
“There’s probably more pressure on me as a fishing guide than in tournament competition. I am not pressed to catch fish guiding, but I want my clients to catch fish. My clients range from corporate executives in Atlanta to steel workers from the North who’re here on vacation.”
The article also detailed his winning tactics from that 1982 event, which came on a Bagley Balsa B (chartreuse with black back) and a 7-inch Augertail worm from Mann’s. On the worm’s color, he quips, “It was an electric blue Augertail, a purple plastic worm with blue metal flakes. It’s the doggone prettiest psychedelic thing you’ve ever seen.”
In total, he fished 215 events with BASS, garnering 7 Classic appearances, the one win, but 39 top 10 finishes. Career winnings totaled $244,315.00, but obviously that was just from BASS events, where he weighed nearly 4400 lbs. of bass during his career.
Craft’s first B.A.S.S. event fished is listed as the 1974 All-American, and his final BASS event was the 2001 Bassmaster Megabucks event.