Original Caption: Big catch. Bob Crupi displays an 18 1/2-pound largemouth bass he caught - and released - at Castaic Lake in January. The Fresno Bee, March 1993, no photo credit.

According to the LA Times, his personal license plate read: “DADATUD.”  That might clue you in to today’s Friday Finale historical picture in honor of the unexpected passing of big bass legend, Bob Crupi, earlier this month.

The picture dates to a 1993 newspaper story on Bob and his partner, Danny Kadota.  At the time, the pair had recorded nearly 200 bass over 10 pounds between them, had represented California in the Goodyear/Bassin’ Big Bass World Championship six years running, and held 4 line-class largemouth world records.

Then 41 years old at the time, Bob, a motorcycle policeman, typically spent 3 to 4 days a week on the water chasing the world record bass.  So dedicated to the chase, he even moved to be closer to Lake Castaic when he realized it had the best chance at producing a record-breaking fish.  “I moved so I wouldn’t have to drive an hour to find out the weather conditions.  I can look out my window to see if the wind is blowing too hard to launch, and I can be on the water in  minutes,” he said in the piece.

Bob and Danny were live bait specialists.  “The fact is we always use live bait (crawdads, mud suckers or water dogs),” he stated.  They even created and sold a VHS tape called “Bodacious Bass” detailing their tackle and techniques.

Bob was also an early proponent of releasing all big bass, even passing on a chance at the California state record when a 22-pound bass he caught came up just short of the world record.  “I started promoting catch-and-release in the early 1980s after coming to the realization that if we didn’t start putting these fish back, especially the big ones, the resource would dry up as it has in some other lakes.”

Did he ever hook a bass he thought was the record fish?  He said he had two fish break him off that he estimates would have weighed over 20 pounds beyond the pair of 20+ fish he did land and weigh.