Turns out the Big Bopper was what we today, or as long as I can remember, call the One-Ton Jig – a big 1-ounce football head that, at the time, was adorned with a Garland Spider Jig or a Yamamoto Hula Grub.
“Before that the top anglers didn’t think much of us at all. They didn’t even think we had bass out west much less than whether or not we could compete with them. After the Open, though, anglers like Roland [Martin] and Jimmy [Houston] would actually tell sponsors that we were good fishermen.
“Being in the lead, I did look over my shoulder a lot to see who the challengers were behind me. But you can’t dwell on that. No matter what happens or who was behind me, I knew I still had to catch a good limit each day. I knew I couldn’t be worrying about who was behind me.”
Today we’ll look at three organizations that made up the bulk of organizations in the West – namely Western Bass Fishing Association (WBFA), the Southwest Association of Bass (SWAB) and U.S. Bass.
Until this time, rarely, if ever, had a southern angler ventured west to fish unless it was for one of the few events B.A.S.S. held in the west. This event was different, though. The promise of a big payday brought anglers from 22 states. Names like Roland Martin, Bobby Murray, Forrest Wood, Basil Bacon, Harold Allen, Don Butler, Cliff Craft, Rick Clunn and Ricky Green would face off against the West’s best.
“I knew Gary [Klein] had a few so I went and asked him if I could borrow one of his. He said yes and that’s what helped me win. Gary really came to my rescue. I really doubt I could have won it if I had to fish that 6-foot rod.”