Gary Klein from the Nov/Dec 1981 issue of Western Bass Magazine after his Clear Lake win.

Here’s one for ya. Everyone worth their weight in tungsten knows who Gary Klein is. He’s fished 451 tour-level tournaments (407 with BASS and 44 with FLW) since 1979 of which he’s placed in the money 297 times (262 with BASS and 35 with FLW). He’s won 8 Bassmaster events and two FLW Tour events, qualified for the Bass Master Classic 29 times and the Forrest Wood Cup each of the six years he fished FLW. He has 88 top-10 finishes (80 with BASS and 11 with FLW and 3 with MLF) and has won a ton of cash in the process. (Editor’s Note:  Some of these numbers may be off due to FLW records not being available any longer)

Klein won his first B.A.S.S. event at the Bass Master Arizona Invitational held on Lake Powell in 1979 at the age of 21 and nearly won BassMaster Angler of the year that same year – Roland Martin beating him out by a little under two pounds.

With this much success, you’d have thought Klein, originally from Oroville, CA, would have won at least one Western Bass event before he packed up his van and headed east. Nope. Klein would have to wait until 1981, two years after he became a nationally-known pro, before that would happen.

The win was on Clear Lake and he won the event – come on I know you can figure this out – yep, flipping. He led the first day with a 20-pound sack and barely held off Dave Nollar for the win. Here’s the entire article I’m referencing. A pretty cool piece of history.

Gary Klein’s first western bass win. Nov/Dec 1981 issue of Western Bass magazine.