Today’s historical photos date back to 1987 and feature Tom Mann Jr. capturing his first Bassmaster victory. The win came on West Point Lake and earned the touring pro a $33,000 payday. A lengthy write-up in the Atlanta Constitution, by Charles Salter, provided a lot of details on Tom and his victory. I’ve excerpted a few of the more interesting ones below.
- “I told my wife, Peggy, when I got home, ‘Thank God the doggone thing wasn’t held on Lake Lanier,'” Mann said. “‘I finally won a tournament on another lake. Maybe I’ll get a little more respect.'”
- “I had 11 strikes in three days and caught all 11 largemouth bass,” Mann said. “All were keepers. They weighed 3 to 6 pounds each. I’d get a bite every two or three hours.”
- He fished with a 6-foot All Star graphite rod and a Quantum 1310 baitcasting reel spooled with 14-pound clear Stren line. Nine bass were caught on a 7/16 ounce black and brown-skirted Stanley jig with a black No. 11 Uncle Josh pork frog. Two fish struck a red shad Zoom Magnum plastic worm.
- The honey hole he fished all three days is a 50-yard long, 6- to 8-foot-deep row of underwater stumps on a bend of the Chattahoochee River just north of the highway 119 bridge. He found the area several years ago when the lake was very low, making the stumps visible.
- Other tournament fishermen traveling up the Chattahoochee River saw Mann fishing. By the third day, nearly everyone knew where he had caught fish, but nobody moved onto his productive spot. After his tournament victory, he stood next to B.A.S.S. founder Ray Scott and thanked everyone for their respect and courtesy.
- “What worried me more than anything was that Rick Clunn came in the second day with 22-1/4 pounds of bass,” Mann said. “He was fishing a Bagley DB 3 in a creek. I knew he had made strong finishes in tournaments. I had that feeling I cold win if I could go back up the river and catch a couple good fish. My fish were averaging bigger than Rick’s. I just felt like if God would give me a couple three more bites, I would win the tournament.”
- Mann added, “After I won, Rick Clunn congratulated me and said he was proud of me. It made me feel very good. Rick is a fine person. And 200 to 300 people came up and shook my hand.”