John Powell is stopped by two anglers admiring his 40-pound stringer of fish on the last day of the Texas National on Sam Rayburn lake. Powell’s last-day heroics took him from in the “twenties” to the win. Photo Sept/Oct 1971 issue of Bass Master Magazine.

This is part two of a three-part series on the 1971 Bass Master Tournament Trail.  To read Part One, click here.

As stated in part one of this series, a brief look at the standings (below) from the first two events reveals what could possibly be a significant omission. Bill Dance – the 1970 Angler of the Year winner and the angler who’d won more B.A.S.S. events and money than any other angler – is absent from the standings. This is a significant deal because tournament fans all over were looking for another Dance, Mann and Martin showdown. Unfortunately for Dance, and possibly fortunate for Roland Martin, he had just started his famed fishing show, “Bill Dance Outdoors,” and would not make any of the events slated during the ’71 season. What a year to start a TV show, with the first-ever Bass Master Classic only a few months away.  Even with Dance missing, though, the AOY race would prove to be one for the history books as you will see below.

Sam Rayburn National Bass Tournament June 17-19, 1971

The third event of the season found 134 anglers from 17 states at Sam Rayburn where John Powell would the win for the second event in a row. Powell started off the event slowly with only two fish on day 1 but made an amazing come-from-behind finish with a 10-fish, 40-pound string on the final day. His 3-day total went 61-06 for 18 fish (10-bass per day limit), beating out Roland Martin by just over 3 pounds.  For Martin it was his second runner-up finish on the season and he did it with a 30-fish limit that weighed 58-01.  Rounding out the top-5 were Joe Kennedy of TX with 49-08, Wallace Lea of MO with 46-00 and Pat McGowan of TX with 44-10.

 

1971 Bass Master AOY Standings After Two Events
Place
Angler
Points
1
Tom Mann
65
2
Roland Martin
62
3
Bobby Meador
59
4
Glen Wells
43
5
Wallace Lea
43
6
John Powell
35
7
Marvin Miller
34
8
Bill Fletcher
33
9
Johnny Adams
33
10
Al St. Romain
32
11
Emmett Chiles
31
12
Ron Bobrow
31
13
Shy Powell
29
14
J. D. Robinson
28
15
Carlos Mayo
27
16
Thomas Sapp
27
17
Benny Meadows
26
18
Bobby Murray
26
19
Ron Deardoff
25
20
Will Little
25
21
Jerry Kidwell
24
22
Roy Fairchild
24
23
Drew Reese
23
24
Mike St. John
23
25
David Leverett
22
26
Shorty Evans
22
27
Clark Taylor
21
28
Paul Wagaman
21
29
Bill Bowling
20
30
Pete Roberts
20
31
Fred Brist
19
32
Stan Sloan
19
33
Carl Dyess
18
34
Don Butler
18
35
Al Lindner
17

 

One of the interesting facts about the Rayburn tournament was that Powell and Martin caught their fish deep – 20- to 40-feet deep – to the amazement of everyone, even Powell.

Here’s an excerpt from the tournament report:

Why shoot, I’d never caught a bass 25-feet deep in my life,” claimed Powell. “And a lot of times I haven’t had 45 feet of line on my reel.”

Powell was so against fishing deep it was reported that he used to call deep water anglers, “hole setters,” and had remarked in the past, “Pete Henson is the most famous hole fisherman of all.  He stayed on one spot so long, a barge boat driver mistook him for a channel marker.  Pete moved the third day of the tournament, and the channel boat operator ran aground.”

Powell, though, after three practice days and nearly his first full tournament day, ate crow and went deep.  Due to the wind, he wasn’t able to anchor and opted to drift plastic worms over deep structure.  The change paid off.

Martin, who wasn’t a novice at the deep water tactics, also fished deep, 20-30 feet, using a combination of jigging spoons and plastic worms on offshore structure.

Big fish for the event went to Joe Kennedy with a 7-03. His big fish earned him an extra $700 “and a new Motor-Guide trolling motor presented by the Herschede Hall Clock Company.” For those of you who don’t know who the Herschede Hall Clock Company is, they’re the folks that developed the Motor-Guide trolling motor.

Overall, the 134 anglers caught bass for a total weight of 2,291 pounds.  All fish were donated to local charity organizations.

Although this was Powell’s second win in a row for the ’71 season, it wasn’t the first time an angler had won back-to-back on the Bass Master Trail. Bill Dance had already accomplished this feat twice, once in the ’68 season (Rayburn and Smith Lake) and again in 1970 (Rayburn and Table Rock). I’m thinking there were a lot of folks fishing this event that were happy Dance hadn’t shown up for this tournament.

In the race for the AOY standings, Martin (96 points) slipped ahead of Mann (95 points) with one event left before the Bass Masters Classic.  The rest of the top-5 in the AOY were Wallace Lea (75 points), John Powell (70 points), Bobby Meador (59 points) and Carlos Mayo (51 points).  Note:  For each event, 35 AOY points were granted the winner, 34 for second place, etc.

The top 25 for the Sam Rayburn tournament are presented below.

 

Bass Master Sam Rayburn Texas National Scorecard June 17-18, 1971
Place
Angler
State
Points
Pay Out
1
John Powell
AL
9,820
$3,000
2
Roland Martin
AL
9,290
$1,000
3
Joe Kennedy
TX
7,920
$500
4
Wallace Lea
MO
7,360
$350
5
Pat McGowan
TX
7,140
$300
6
Tom Mann
AL
7,020
$250
7
Ray Beall
TX
6,010
$200
8
Don Butler
OK
5,910
$165
9
Paul Beauchamp
TX
5,900
$160
10
Gene Miller
AR
5,550
$150
11
Jerry Bishop
GA
5,550
$150
12
Carlos Mayo
AR
5,490
$150
13
Rayborn Waits
TX
5,460
$150
14
Dave Jadwin
MO
5,150
$150
15
J. D. Gray
GA
4,970
$150
16
Fred Brist
TN
4,910
$135
17
Kay Coger
AR
4,830
$135
18
Don Hawkins
TX
4,800
$135
19
Weldon Wilkerson
MO
4,790
$135
20
Grover Davis
TX
4,720
$135
21
Emmett Chiles
AR
4,620
$125
22
Bill Robinson
TX
4,480
$125
23
Charles Redding
GA
4,450
$125
24
Gene Mays
TX
4,410
$125
25
Clarence Steward
TX
4,370
$125
26
Eugene Lacy
TX
4,260
$125
27
George Oates
FL
4,250
$125
28
J. D. Karnes
TX
4,210
$125
29
Charlie Campbell
MO
4,200
$125
30
Billy Dickson
AR
4,160
$125
31
John Morris
MO
4,050
$125
32
Charlie Barns
TX
4,010
$125
33
Ed Pults
TX
3,960
$125
34
Benny Rogillo
LA
3,960
$125
35
Johnny Guarisco
LA
3,840
$125

 

Ross Barnett All-American Bass Tournament September 30 – Oct 2, 1971

Roland Martin admires his 1st-place trophy for his win at the Ross Barnett All-American tournament. The win not only got him some new bling but also his first AOY award. Photo Nov/Dec 1971 issue of Bass Master Magazine.

The fourth and final event of the year, the All-American at Ross Barnett, would crown the second Bass Master AOY (as it later would be called) and also determine who would get to go to the first Bass Master Classic.

Over the first two days, George Oates of Tennessee was in the leader’s seat with 49-03 with Roland Martin a little over a pound out of the lead. As it would turn out, Martin would have to change tactics in order to win his second Bass Master event.

Martin’s fish the first two days came on a spoon with a worm trailer fished in a weedbed 1/4 mile above the marina. He caught 27 fish on that combo the first two days. Here are his remarks from the tournament report.

“I’d been fishing in Florida before the All-American and left a spoon with a plastic worm trailer tied on a rod,” Martin said. “The first practice day on Ross Barnett, I just routinely made a cast with the lure. There was a six-pounder waiting for it and gave me the pattern for my bigger tournament fish.”

Qualifiers for the 1971 Bass Master Classic slated to be held on Lake Mead, NV. Photo Nov/Dec issue of Bass Master Magazine.

First thing in the final round he went to the spot where the first two days had yielded a quick limit of fish, only to find the area “dried up.” After three hours of casting, he abandoned the spot and went to another area where he saw breaking fish. He quickly filled out his limit casting a Mann’s Little George. Martin was able to bring in a 14-pound bag for a total of 54-06 and overtook the lead for his second Bass Master win. When was the last time you heard of anyone winning an event on either of these lures?

Oates came in second with 49-03 and reported catching all of his fish on a green plastic worm. Tom Mann, made a valiant effort for the AOY award but ended up in third place with 47-01, just missing the AOY by three points.  Rounding out the top-5 were Bob Ponds (40-09) and Al St. Romain with 36-11. The final standings are presented below for the top 25.

With the win, Martin took home his first AOY award, just edging out Mann. The top 35 in the AOY standings is presented below – with the Top 25 getting the invite to the inaugural Bass Masters Classic. Of note,. Johnny Adams of Florida was unable to attend the first super bowl of bass fishing.

A full gallery of pictures can be seen below.  Click on an image in order to expand the gallery.  Stay tuned, part three of this series will cover the first-ever Bass Master Classic.

 

Bass Master Ross Barnett All-American Scorecard September 30 to October 2, 1971
Place
Angler
State
Points
Pay Out
1
Roland Martin
AL
8,700
$3,000
2
George Oates
TN
7,870
$1,200
3
Tom Mann
AL
7,530
$600
4
Bob Ponds
MS
6,490
$450
5
Al St. Romain
LA
5,870
$400
6
Bobby Meador
LA
5,850
$350
7
Ray Gresham
AL
5,720
$300
8
Shorty Evans
MO
5,350
$265
9
Dennis Pope
KS
5,120
$260
10
Lee Schlimmer
CA
5,080
$250
11
Jack Jobe
MS
5,020
$250
12
Bobby Murray
AR
4,910
$250
13
Will Little
AL
4,840
$250
14
George Blackwell
MS
4,780
$250
15
Ted Reagle
WVA
4,740
$250
16
Wayne King
MS
4,490
$235
17
Troy Anderson
AR
4,470
$235
18
Drew Reese
MO
4,330
$235
19
John Powell
AL
4,310
$235
20
Rayborn Waits
TX
4,250
$235
21
Wallace Lea (tie)
MO
4,160
$175
22
Stan Sloan (tie)
TN
4,160
$175
23
Bill Beasley
MS
4,060
$175
24
Murph Murphree
MS
3,910
$175
25
Gene Woods (tie)
MO
3,730
$150
26
Dave Jadwin (tie)
MS
3,730
$150
27
Norwood Harris
LA
3,710
$125
28
Jim Braken
LA
3,640
$125
29
Rip Noble
MS
3,610
$125
30
Charles Redding
GA
3,510
$125
31
Gary Mitchel
GA
3,470
$125
32
Bob Hudson
MS
3,410
$125
33
Ernest Neil
MS
3,340
$125
34
Johnny Alexander
MS
3,300
$125
35
Larry Blakey (tie)
GA
3,180
$125
35
Shirley Gardenhire (tie)
TN
3,180
$125

 

1971 Bass Master AOY Standings Final
Place
Angler
State
Points
1
Roland Martin
AL
131
2
Tom Mann
AL
128
3
Wallace Lea
MO
90
4
Bobby Meador
LA
89
5
John Powell
AL
87
6
Al St. Romain
LA
63
7
George Oates
TN
59
8
Carlos Mayo
AR
51
9
Bobby Murray
AR
50
10
Shorty Evans
MO
50
11
Will Little
AL
48
12
Don Butler
OK
46
13
Emmett Chiles
AR
46
14
Glen Wells
TN
43
15
Drew Reese
MO
41
16
Dennis Pope
KS
39
17
Fred Brist
TN
39
18
Rayborn Waits
TX
39
19
Marvin Miller
IA
34
20
Stan Sloan
TN
34
21
Bill Fletcher
AR
33
22
Joe Kennedy
TX
33
23
Johnny Adams
FL
33
24
Dave Jadwin
MO
33
25
Bob Ponds
MS
32
26
Pat McGowan
TX
31
27
Ron Bobrow
KY
31
28
Jerry Bishop
GA
29
29
Ray Beall
TX
29
30
Ray Gresham
AL
29
31
Shy Powell
GA
29
32
J. D. Robinson
AL
28
33
Paul Beauchamp
TX
27
34
Thomas Sapp
GA
27
35
Benny Meadows
AL
26