Photo May/June 1973 issue Bass Master Magazine.

This is Part Two of a four-part series on the 1973 Bass Master Tournament Trail. To read Part One click here.

The second half of the ’73 season saw Roland Martin with a comfortable lead in the AOY points after three events. His 145 points was 23 points better than the three anglers tied for second place, Bobby, Murray, Johnny Morris and Stan Sloan.  Rayo Breckenridge locked up the third-place spots with 99 points, Wallace Lea sat in 4th place with 82 points and Bill Dance finished out the top-5 with 76 points.  Although Martin had a commanding lead, the other anglers had to do all they could to guarantee themselves a spot in the 3rd Annual Bass Master Classic later in the year.

Here’s the way the rest of the year panned out.

Seminole Lunker Tournament – Can Martin be Beat?

The Seminole tournament would be another one for the record books. Roland Martin became the third angler to win back-to-back tournaments in a season. Prior to him were John Powell in 1971 and Bill Dance in 1970. The win pushed him 27 points into the lead for AOY and made it four top-5 finishes in a row. It was also his sixth win – one behind Bill Dance.

Martin not only weighed in 54-10 for first-place honors, he also weighed the biggest fish of the event, a 10-03 beast that netted him a $2,000 Ranger TR-3 boat and trailer.

Larry Blakey held down the second spot with a total of 52-10 and Billy Westmorland placed third with 52-07.  Rounding out the top-5 was Walter Cole with 50-08 and Stan Sloan who weighed a total of 49-02.

After four events, it appeared Martin running away with the AOY.  The rest of the top-5 in AOY points was Stan Sloan (2nd 168 points), Tom Mann (3rd 165 points), Johnny Morris (4th 122 points), Wallace Lea (5th 121 points).

Unfortunately there was no report on how the anglers caught their fish. The table below shows the top-35 for the event and within it are some unanswered questions.  Ties are shown for Andy Sceurman and Glin Wells (17th place) as well as Richard Drose and Jack Lutz (35th place).  But there are three other ties that are not mentioned in the record, J.B. Warren (7th place) / Tom Mann (8th place) as well as Jerry Pankey (23rd place) / Blackie Shelton (24th place) and Bill Dance (32nd place) / Andy Williams (33rd place).  Why these three cases are not shown as ties is a bit baffling.

 

Bass Master Seminole Lunker Tournament May 2-4, 1973
Place
Angler, State
Weight, lbs-ozs
1
Roland Martin, OK
54-14
2
Larry Blakey, AL
52-10
3
Billy Westmorland, TN
52-07
4
Walter Cole, GA
50-08
5
Stan Sloan, TN
49-02
6
Ray Gresham, AL
44-00
7
J.B. Warren, AR
43-04
8
Tom Mann, AL
43-04
9
Charlie Stevens, NC
41-03
10
George Ridings, KY
37-04
11
Hugh Massey, KY
37-02
12
Wallace Lea, MO
36-11
13
Ron Bobrow, KY
35-05
14
Don Norton, MS
34-15
15
Junior Collis, GA
34-08
16
Vance Bradley, TN
34-05
17
Andy Sceurman, OH (tie)
34-00
18
Glin Wells, TN (tie)
34-00
19
Pete Nosser, MS
33-15
20
Lavoid Hughes, GA
32-15
21
Bobby Murray, AR
32-10
22
Julian Danielly, GA
32-07
23
Jerry Pankey, FL
32-02
24
Blackie Shelton, MS
32-02
25
Reece Morrison, TX
31-09
26
Russell Cook, MO
30-11
27
Don Mead, MO
30-06
28
James Gray, MS
29-15
29
Dick Johnson, FL
29-11
30
Jerry Morrow, FL
29-05
31
Ernest Neil, MS
28-14
32
Bill Dance, TN
28-03
33
Andy Williams, AL
28-03
34
Doug Howard, AL
27-00
35
Richard Drose, SC (tie)
26-10
35
Jack Lutz, FL (tie)
26-10

Carolina Invitational – Records Fall at Keowee

Junior Collis, winner of the Carolina Invitational at Keowee. Photo Nov/Dec 1973 issue of Bass Master Magazine.

Touted, “the toughest tournament in B.A.S.S. history,” Lake Keowee didn’t give any angler any favors. And, although a number of records were set at the event, these weren’t the type of records one would want any part of.

First off, the event drew 162 anglers and in three days they boated a dismal 261 bass that weighed 761-03. That’s slightly above a half a bass per day per angler. Although the number of fish caught was a record low, the average weight was actually the highest ever recorded at the time for a B.A.S.S. event – nearly 3-pounds per fish.

Junior Collis of Georgia won the event with a total of six fish over three days that weighed a total of 23-15. He took a commanding lead on the first day when he weighed four fish for over 17 pounds. Then on the second day he blanked opening the door for Dwight Howell to take the lead with a two-day total of 20 pounds. But in the final round Collis was able to scrounge up two fish for over 6 pounds – enough for the win. Collis became the first angler to win an event after blanking one of the tournament days.

Dwight Howell ended up in second with 22-15 while Stan Sloan weighed in a total of 19-02 for third place. For his fifth event in a row, Roland Martin finished in the top-5 securing fourth place with 16-04. Ernest Neil of Mississippi would round out the top 5 with 15-13.

Bobby Meador had big fish honors with a monster that weighed 10-07 while Junior Collis and Stan Sloan took second and third big fish with bass weighing 9-09 and 8-06 respectively.

Roland Martin continued his onslaught of the AOY and added another 47 points to his total.  That gave him 242 points after five events and 26-point lead over Stan Sloan who had 216 points.  The rest of the top-5 were Tom Mann (3rd place 165 points), Ernest Neil (4th place 132 points) and David Lockhart (5th place 123 points).

The top 35 results of the Carolina Invitational are shown in the table below.

 

Bass Master Carolina Invitational Lake Keowee, May 30 - June 1, 1973
Place
Angler, State
Weight, lbs-ozs
1
Junior Collis, GA
23-15
2
Dwight Howell, NC
22-15
3
Stan Sloan, TN
19-02
4
Roland Martin, OK
16-04
5
Ernest Neil, MS
15-13
6
Billy Burns, KY
14-15
7
Hubert Greene, NC
14-07
8
David Lockhart, AL
13-07
9
Ray Holman, GA
13-05
10
Jack Rogers, NC
13-04
11
Bobby Meador, LA
13-03
12
Bobby Murray, AR
12-15
13
Kenneth Orr, NC
12-08
14
Teddy Harger, LA
11-09
15
John Rogers, NC
11-06
16
Wade Singleton, VA
11-05
17
Charles Gillespie, SC
10-13
18
Larry Kirk, NC
10-11
19
Ricky Green, AR
10-09
20
Greg Ward, MO
10-05
21
Paul Chamblee, NC
10-04
22
Ken Taylor, TN
10-03
23
Eddie Withrow, GA
10-03
24
James Morgan, SC
9-08
25
Everett English, NC
9-05
26
Glin Wells, TN
9-04
27
John Little, SC
9-01
28
Sam Shore, SC
9-00
29
Mike Tidwell, OH
8-14
30
Jeff Killian, NC
8-11
31
Michael Meadors, GA
8-09
32
Billy Little, GSA
8-08
33
Don Mead, MO
8-08
34
Jim Stoup, NC
8-07
35
Gary Wade, NC
8-07

Watts Bar – Martin Wins Third Angler of the Year Award

Contestants thought Keowee was tough when it took only 23-15 to win the three-day Carolina Invitational earlier in the year. Well, Watts Bar turned out to be even tougher. Out of the 179 anglers that showed for the event, only 517 bass were weighed in three days. That’s less than half a fish per angler per day.

Again, Roland Martin took the win for the third time that year. His ten fish over the course of the event weighed 21-06 and broke the record for lowest winning weight Junior Collis set only a few months prior. With the win, he tied Bill Dance for the angler with the most B.A.S.S. wins and he won his third Bass Master Angler of the Year award – his third in three years. More talk on that achievement later.

Martin reported that he caught six of his ten bass on a four-inch watermelon grub and leadhead. He worked the bait in 20 to 30 feet of water off of steep drops along the main river channel. His money fish, a 6-06, was reported to come off a Big-E crankbait, “a version of a hand-carved balsa wood lure originated in eastern Tennessee.” [It didn’t take long even back then for people to knock off a good idea.]

Ricky Green weighed in 21-01 using a 3/8-ounce chartreuse Okiebug spinner bait and a Big-O in the backs of coves and, “where ever he could find brush.”

Andy Sceurman took the third spot with 18-14 and had the event’s big fish at 7-01. His big fish won him the $2,000 Ranger boat package.

Another interesting fact was Roland Martin and another angler named Robert Smith had to perform a cast-off in order to determine the tie breaker for the daily big bass award. Both weighed 6-06 bass in on the same day. Martin won the cast-off and the $750 associated with the daily big bass award.  Smith took home $250 for his efforts.

The top-25 results for the event are shown in the table below.

By the beginning of 1973 there had been three Angler of the Year titles crowned and only two anglers had won them. By the end of ’73, there would be one more award but the same two names would remain on the list as the only two anglers that had won them. Unfortunately for Bill Dance, his name only appeared one time. Roland Martin’s – three times.

The significance of Martin’s three consecutive AOY wins would never really be understood until later. In fact, it wouldn’t be duplicated again until 2010 when KVD would take his third AOY title in a row, amidst some goofy point-scoring rules. That record stood 37 years and may stand a lot longer than that before it’s broken again.  The other impressive thing about Martin’s ’73 season is his points total.  Out of a total of 300 possible points, Martin collected 292, eight points shy of a perfect season.  That’s 48.7 points per event or somewhere between a second and a third place finish each event.  I’m pretty sure that type of season has never been duplicated since.  Also impressive is Martin finished 76 points ahead of second place angler Stan Sloan, who racked up 216 points in the season.  In essence, Martin could have stayed home for the season finale and still won the AOY title – but I guess he wanted to tie Dance for most B.A.S.S. wins.  Who can blame him.

 

Bass Master All-American Watts Bar, September 26-28, 1973
Place
Angler, State
Weight, lbs-ozs
1
Roland Martin, OK
21-06
2
Ricky Green, AR
21-01
3
Andy Sceurman, OH
18-14
4
Larry Hill, NC
18-07
5
Billy Westmorland, TN
15-00
6
Bill Dance, TN
14-14
7
Marlon Tipton, TN
14-14
8
Frank Drose, SC
14-07
9
Darrell McConkey, TN
14-03
10
J.A. Hixson, TN
13-13
11
Billy Joe Hall, TN
13-01
12
Elmer Pickens, TN
12-11
13
Robert Smith, OH
12-08
14
Bobby Murray, AR
12-05
15
David Carrol, TN
12-04
16
Glynn West, TN
11-15
17
James Poole, TN
11-07
18
Glin Wells, TN
11-02
19
Jerry Williams, AR
11-01
20
Larry McCulston, TN
10-13
21
Hugh Massey, KY
10-10
22
Robert Bowman, VA
10-05
23
Bert Siniard, TN
10-04
24
Don Norton, MS
10-02
25
Tom Mann, AL
9-10

This event also determined the 24 anglers who would participate in the 1973 Bass Master Classic to be held a month later. Below are the anglers who qualified to fish the Classic.

 

Bass Master Classic III Qualifiers 1973
Place
Angler, State
Points
1
Roland Martin, OK
292
2
Stan Sloan, TN
216
3
Tom Mann, AL
191
4
Billy Westmorland, TN
164
5
Bobby Murray, AR
155
6
David Lockhart, AL
147
7
Bill Dance, TN
140
8
Glin Wells, TN
136
9
Ernest Neil, MS
132
10
Ricky Green, AR
122
11
Wallace Lea, MO
122
12
Johnny Morris, MO
122
13
Larry Hill, NC
118
14
Rayo Breckenridge, AR
113
15
Bobby Meador, LA
97
16
Don Mean, MO
91
17
Don Norton, MS
89
18
Russell Cook, MO
87
19
Junior Collis, GA
86
20
Hugh Massey, KY
86
21
J.B. Warren, AR
85
22
Andy Sceurman, OH
82
23
Jerry Williams, AR
79
24
Andy Williams, AL
78
25
Ray Gresham, AL (alternate)
76
26
Wendell Mann, NC (Federation)
N/A

In Part Three of this series, we will cover the anglers who would fish the third annual Bass Masters Classic.  In Part Four, we will cover the 3rd Bass Master Classic. There will also be a special report on the significance of the 1973 season and how Roland Martin was breaking records and setting new ones.