Original Caption: Lake County's Jim Bitter looking to follow up on Megabucks triumph. The Orlando Sentinel, August 1989. Photo by Don Wilson/Sentinel

Today’s Friday Finale historical photo dates back to 1989 and a local Florida story on Jim Bitter titled, ‘Angler hopes for another big victory.’  Jim had just come off his win at the B.A.S.S. Megabucks event held in Florida and was preparing for the Classic that same year on the James River.

Jim was in a good place mentally, stating in the article, “I don’t get excited about tournaments.  I never did.  I’ll just fish in one spot and if I don’t get anything, I’ll go to another spot – I won’t sit there and wait for them to start biting.  I’ll probably just fish behind everybody else.  I’ve done that before and still caught plenty of fish.”

Of course, we now know that he ended up finishing second in that Classic to Hank Parker – a nice payday, but not a victory due to the loss of a single keeper that is now well cemented in history.

One could argue though that Jim was not yet at his peak in bass fishing, as history would show that he would go on to win 4 more B.A.S.S. events in addition to that Megabucks title, including a 1992 Maryland Top 100 and 3 events in 1995 (NY and MN Top 100, Texas Inv).  He also scored 4 second place finishes over his career.

In total, Bassmaster stats have him at 211 career events, and total winnings of nearly $850,000, and he would end up qualifying for a total of 7 Classic appearances.