Original Caption: Roger Farmer wins BASS MegaBucks tournament ... he gets hugs from the family and $101,000. The Orlando Sentinel, April 1986. photo credit: Eileen Samelson/Sentinel

Today’s Throwback Thursday historical photo dates back to 1986, and features Roger Farmer.  Farmer, a commercial roofer from Dalton, GA at the time, ended up edging out Jack Hains of Louisiana by 2-03 to win the first ever MegaBucks bass tournament despite suffering a 5 pound penalty when he got lost on the lake on one of the later days of competition, and subsequently ended up fishing in the wrong place.

As such, Farmer will always own that historic bass fishing credential (first MegaBucks winner) from that event held on the Harris Chain of Lakes.  However, history might have been different if things had gone as Ray Scott planned the prior year. You see, the first ever MegaBucks event was actually supposed to have taken place the prior year, 1985, and on a different body of water, the vast complex of lakes owned and operated by Disney Properties.

A July 1985 write-up in the Tampa Tribune by Frank Sargeant stated, “The tournament, which would have been the richest fishing event in history with a total payoff of close to a million dollars, hit a snag with Disney officials due to a contract with Mercury Outboard Motors.

“Under the contract, only Mercury’s are to be used on the waters of the giant entertainment complex. The Scott tournament would have required Evinrude outboards on the identically rigged Ranger boats that were to be used for the finals of the fish-off on Bay Lake.”

Sargeant went on to write, “Though the entry fee was a whopping $5,000 per man, Ray Scott said that over 150 anglers had already entered, and that he expected a full field of 250 fishermen for the event.

“Scott said that the contractual problems were discovered too late to reschedule the MegaBucks event for another location this year.  He said the made-for-TV format of the finals and the giant payoffs will make the tournament a success, but that the earliest it can be rescheduled would be the spring of 1986.”

Roger would go on to fish 101 BASS events according to their records, with the MegaBucks title being his only victory.  He appeared in 5 Classics, his best finishes being a 14th place in both the 1983 and 1988 events, and won a little over $185,000 during his BASS career.