Original Caption: Rick Clunn, winner of three BASSmasters Classics, told keys to his success at a seminar at Tennessee State University-Downtown. February 1985, The Tennessean, no photo credit

Back in 1985, Rick Clunn was the reigning Bassmaster Classic Champion, having just won his third Classic the previous year out of Pine Bluff, AR, on the Arkansas River. As with most Classic winners, he was in high demand for seminars and appearances. This week’s Friday Finale historical photo and article was during one such appearance at the Bass Fishing Institute in Nashville, Tennessee. Tennessean Outdoors Editor Nick Sullivan attended that event, and took a bunch of notes as Rick detailed his approach and thoughts on how to go about finding and catching bass. The following are a few excerpts on that subject from the article, which was titled:  ‘Rick Clunn Says Confidence Key to Successful Bass Fishing.’

  • “Bass fishing is a simple thing, not the complex sport it often is made out to be,” says Rick Clunn, one of the world’s leading professional bass anglers.
  • “The bass is a very simple creature that responds in certain and predictable ways to factors in its environment. What fishermen need to do is be more organized and systematic in their approach to bass fishing.”
  • Clunn said locating the bass is the most important thing a bass fisherman has to learn and, for many people, the most difficult.
  • “Most people don’t have the foggiest idea how to find fish. They think fishing is luck and hope they’ll stumble onto the fish, or that the fish will come to where they are. For these people, fishing really is luck.”
  • “When you are fishing a reservoir, only about 10% of it is productive at any one time, and to consistently catch fish you have to have an approach for finding these fish in a limited amount of time.”
  • “Most seasonal patterns will eliminate 80% of the lake before you get there. When you get to the lake, you go where the seasonal patterns dictate and then you establish a general pattern.”
  • “In establishing a general pattern, you must identify the object a bass can be caught over. There are only about six types of objects a fish will be using on a given day. All you have to do is eliminate them until you find out what object the fish is using that day and stick with it.”
  • “Without confidence in fishing, everything else is useless. It is the controlling factor in fishing. It affects everything else you do, including your concentration and the level of intensity with which you fish.”
  • “Regardless of how bad conditions are, or appear to be, the good bass fisherman believes he can catch fish. He believes this up to the very last cast of the day, regardless of whether he’s had a strike or not.”