Original Caption: David Fritts displays two of the bass that helped him claim the 1993 BASS Masters Classic. The Greenville News, Jan 1995. File photo

Today’s Friday Finale historical photo is of the other professional bass angler to recently announced his retirement, David Fritts.  This photo of David dates to 1995, and was featured in a local write-up titled, “‘Mr. Crankbait’ still plugging away.”  Of course, the irony of that title was that it would be almost another 30 years before David decided to hang up his cranking rods and step away from the professional trail.

Per the story in The Greenville News, “After a steady progression through the local and regional tournament ranks, Fritts ‘burst’ onto the national scene with his victory in the 1993 BASS Masters Classic.  He followed that triumph with an incredible 1993-1994 season in which he was a runaway winner of the Angler-of-the-Year title.

For the season, Fritts had two victories, two second-place finishes, two third-place finishes, one fourth and one sixth.  He won more than $200,000.  That’s an amazing accomplishment, especially considering that each tournament typically includes 300 or more of the top pro bassers in the country.”

Those that have followed David’s early career will know of his incredible streak of top finishes on the old Red Man circuit as well as other local events.  The story mentioned some of these, stating, “Fritts did get his share of victories, however.  He won five of Jerry Rhyne’s tournaments and took first place in an astounding four Red Man Regional championships.  He qualified for the Red Man All-American, which offers a $100,000 first prize, on six occasions.”

As to why he went professional when he did (1989-90), Fritts was quoted, “I had won a lot of money on the Red Man circuit and had my debts paid off.  I figured this was the time to do it.”