Original Caption: "TOURNAMENT CHAMPION - John Fox of Lufkin, Texas, at right, received this huge trophy by winning the first annual Bull Shoals Lake National Open Bass Tournament held Friday, Saturday and Sunday. Besides the trophy, Fox also won $4,000. Shown with Fox is Robert Power, president of Project Sports, Inc., which sponsored the tournament." October 1972, Baxter Bulletin (AR), no photo credit.

You’ve all heard the name John Fox, seen the endorsements on baits, and might have wondered just what in the heck did he win. Well, we have part of the answer in today’s historical news photo. That’s John in the picture hoisting the trophy after winning the first annual Bull Shoals Lake National Open Bass Tournament back in 1972. Even then, and as stated at the beginning of the write-up, John was listed as a “six-time national bass fishing champion.” Perhaps a closer look might give some insight into his exploits, as that is some collection of patches.

There were one-hundred and six fishermen entered in the tournament, each paying a $150 entry fee. Project Sports INC. (PSI) out of Irving, Texas was the sponsor of the event. Bassmaster pro Basil Bacon was the runner-up coming in about 3 pounds shy in total weight (42+ vs. 39+ pounds), while Rayo Breckenridge was another top finisher you’d likely recognize.

The win added to his yearly total winnings of $13,000 for 1972. The paper stated, “He attributed his success to two new plugs, a Rebel Destroyer and a Jim Byler ‘Switchblade.’ He said he fished the shallow waters with these baits and that he could get in 10 casts while a deep-water fisherman could get in only one.”

He went on to state, “I think the majority of people around here are fishing it wrong. Instead of fishing deep water off the points they should try close to the shoreline where the water is from one to six feet deep.”

I’m unsure if there was ever a “second annual” event, as organizers were disappointed with the turnout at the awards banquet.