Original Caption: Longview professional bass angler Renaud Pelletier battles a feisty largemouth. July 1990, Longview Daily News, Daily News photo by Stan Fagerstrom

Today’s historical photo takes us out west and features a pair of historical figures in bass fishing.  The first is Washington angler Renaud Pelletier (pictured), who was making local news along with Federation angler Jeff Boyer for qualifying for the Bass Master’s Classic.  It was the first trip for Boyer, who qualified via the Federation Championship, but the third for Pelletier.

Pelletier had made the Classic once through the Federation route, and then twice more by competing on the regular BASS professional circuit.  As it turns out, it would be his last Classic appearance, as he only fished 27 events according to the Bassmaster stats page.

After the 1990 event, he mostly fished a few Western Invitational events in the late 1990s.  Beyond his three Classic appearances, he had 10 money finishes, the highest finish being a third-place endeavor in the 1988 Missouri Invitational, where he pocketed $17,000 in cash and merchandise.

The other historical figure was the article’s writer and photographer, Stan Fagerstrom, who was also a Washington state native.  Beyond talking about Renaud and Jeff, he wasn’t impressed with some of the fisheries out east, remarking, “There is a myth common in the Pacific Northwest that Southern waters always produce far better catches of bass.  That isn’t true and the recent Virginia contest was proof.

“The Wrangler/BASS Federation National Championship brings together the top amateur anglers in the country.  They are the top plug pitchers from the 2,260 BASS Federation Clubs, representing more than 39,000 members in 46 states, Puerto Rico, Japan and South Africa.  All were anglers of proven merit, but the beating they took from those Virginia bass was something to behold.”

Another interesting mention from the story was about a possible Western Classic someday.  Stan wrote, “This will be the third successive year the BASS Masters Classic has been held on the James River with Richmond as headquarters.  Don’t be surprised if one day this tremendously interesting event is staged in the Pacific Northwest.

“Helen Sevier, the president of the Bass Anglers Society, at last weeks’s Federation contest, said ‘We would be interested in the possibility of a Pacific Northwest Classic, provided there were adequate facilities to stage the event.'”

Stan mentioned that he thought Portland would make a great host city, with Memorial Coliseum the location of the weigh-ins and accompanying Classic Expo, and the lower Columbia River acting as the host waters, a location he said was “a whole lot better than the Ohio River.”

Of course, the Classic hasn’t made its way back out west since the inaugural event in 1971 on Lake Mead, and it looks less and less likely as time goes on that it ever will again.