Original Caption: Tournament official Ray Scott (left) and Ron Shearer admire the top catch of the day. Image Birmingham Post Herald Thursday July 24 1980, Joe Stewardson.

A couple weeks ago we posted a piece on Basil Bacons 1980 win at the BASS Champs event on Guntersville.  In today’s post, Shearer’s Bite Killed, we’re going to tell Ron Shearer’s side of the story.

In the Bacon part of this story, we mentioned that aerial spraying had hampered most of the field.  The state of Alabama had taken to eradicating aquatic vegetation by spraying herbicide throughout the lake.  Anglers reported finding large volumes of fish relating to aquatic vegetation in practice.  Once the tournament started, though, the spraying had killed the bass’ homes and they either turned off or vacated the areas.

Some anglers, like Shearer, were lucky the first day.  Shearer took the lead on the first day with an astonishing 7-fish limit what dropped the scales to 30-15.  His big fish, a 7-08 toad, took big fish for the day.  Basil Bacon sat in the second spot with 27-14, 3-pounds, 1-ounce out of first place.

But Shearer’s luck would run out on the second day.  He was only able to bring in three bass for a weight of 8-12, increasing his total to 39-11.  He extended his lead over Basil Bacon (35-10) by a pound.  Shearer credited his poor day to the spraying of his area.

Shearer wasn’t the only angler to be caught in the spraying fiasco, though.  Randy Fite, who was in the third spot after day 1 with 25-10, only mustered one more keeper the final two days.  Again, he said the spraying had hurt his bite.

The final day of competition, Shearer was only able to bring in one keeper (4-03) to the scales, giving him a total of 43-14.  This dropped him from the lead into the 6th spot in the final standings.

What saved Bacon was the fact his area was not on the spraying schedule for the week.  Although he had a tough day 2, weighing only 8-08, he followed that up with a 17-04 bag on the final day to win.

If not for the spraying during this event, there could have been record catches from Guntersville.  At the time, the heaviest weight ever weighed for a 7-bass daily limit was Randy Fite with a total of 69-11.  Shearer and Fite were on track to shatter that record.

The tournament reports from the local newspapers are presented below.

Day 1 1980 BASS Champs Report Lake Guntersville. Birmingham Post Herald Thursday July 24 1980.
Day 2 1980 BASS Champs Report Lake Guntersville. The Montgomery Advertiser Friday July 25 1980.
Day 3 1980 BASS Champs Final Report Lake Guntersville. The Opelika Auburn News Sunday July 27 1980.