Original Caption: Rick Clunn, right, stayed away from the bulrush edges and pitched a plastic worm to win the Florida Invitational on Lake Okeechobee. Working closer and flipping in the same cover, seemed to spook the fish, says Clunn. 1985 Bass Classic Report. B.A.S.S. photo by Crawford.

For today’s Throwback Thursday historical photo, we’re going back to 1985 and the Bass Classic Report.  With the Bassmaster tour down in Florida for the next couple events, along with Rick Clunn fishing his 499th and 500th events down there, let’s revisit May 1985.

Today’s image is a photo of Rick during the Florida Invitational on Lake Okeechobee.  It’s an event he won by just 2 ounces over Roland Martin, pitching a plastic worm to bulrushes and reeds in shallow water.

The photo is a great one, not just because of the current tie-in with Rick and Florida.  For example, there’s the “short shorts,” a fashion trend on tour at the time which we have thankfully put behind us.

There’s also the “stork-like” pose Rick was famous for due to operating a hand-controlled motor with a Big Foot attachment – one foot on the motor the other on the deck.  I believe I once read he even “disguised” himself at one event by running a foot-controlled troll motor so he wouldn’t stand out and be as noticeable from a distance.

On the back of his boat is a 150 hp Merc engine, back in the days when the BASS 150 horsepower limit was still in place.  Mercury had some iconic ads featuring Rick back then as one of his sponsors you might recall – “The Merc. The Man.”

A closer look at the front deck reveals a flasher.  No telling when the last time one of those has seen tournament action outside of David Fritts.  It also looks like there’s not a single graph unit on the console, probably just an in-dash flasher.  Seems strange compared to today when you can hardly even see the boat for all the big screens mounted fore and aft.

The final observation is, that’s not a marshal or a co-angler standing on the front deck next to Rick.  That’s another pro competitor.  Back at this time, anglers were drawn and paired “pro-on-pro.”  If both anglers had a boat, you flipped a coin to decide whose boat you’d go in.  Or, if you were Rick Clunn, you always got to take your boat.  Both anglers were to get half day each fishing their own water and operating the front.  And, anglers often both fished on the front deck, shoulder-to-shoulder.