With grassy take, Cook mows down Classic field Ex-fish biologist wins with own lure

August 25, 1991|By Peter Baker

When Randall Romig was towed into Baltimore Arena last evening, the crowd rose largely as one and cheered. Romig, you see, was last and he had a chance to be first.

He missed by 3 ounces, and Ken Cook of Meers, Okla., won the BASS Masters Classic and the $50,000 first prize with a three-day catch of 15 bass weighing 33 pounds, 2 ounces.

Cook entered the day tied for fourth place behind Romig, Woo Daves and Zell Rowland.

Cook, who was fishing a grass bed in the Elk River and another area of grass "behind the Susquehanna flats," caught 11 of his 15 keepers on a half-ounce spinnerbait of his own design called the Hart-Throb.

"This week started off real strange for me," said Cook, a former fisheries biologist. "My primary practice pattern was wood, but I knew a grass pattern was potentially good enough to win with."

Cook said he had his grass bed in the Elk River all to himself and " Cook said. "I caught virtually every fish that mattered all week, and I felt coming into the coliseum -- even not knowing whether I had won -- that I had fished up to the possibilities of the waters."

By 8:25 a.m., Cook said, he had caught his limit of five fish.

Romig and Daves both fished the wood in the upper Chester River, and each came up a little short yesterday.

"Due to the hurricane and rain before the tournament," Romig said, "the water in the Chester muddied and was off-color and that probably affected me as much as anything."

During practice for the tournament, which closed July 1, Romig said he had been catching 30 to 35 fish a day in the same two-mile stretch of the Chester.

"But the real quality fish didn't bite as well as they had during practice," Romig said. "The fish are still there, but they are not as aggressive as they were . . .

"I am disappointed, but very thankful and proud to have finished second."

Barnacles also posed a problem for many fishermen, who were losing fish when lines passed over shells and broke.

Romig said he lost eight to 10 fish to barnacles over three days.

Daves checked in 11 pounds, 11 ounces and wound up in third place.

"I like this river," Daves said. "I have had a good catch every day."

Daves said the best thing about the area to be fished -- from the Bay Bridge north in the bay and its tributaries -- is the diversity.

"There were people catching them on the Chester and there were people catching them in the Susquehanna River at the other end," Daves said. "I like the space that is there and the potential of it all."

Rowland, of Montgomery, Texas, led the tournament for two days while fishing the Susquehanna, but he failed to catch his limit of five fish on the final day and fell to fourth place.

Rowland said he primarily fished a 50-yard stretch in a two-mile bed of grass, where a series of ridges varied the depths from five to 10 feet.

On the high tides, Rowland said, he would fish top-water lures because the fish were atop the ridges.

Rick Clunn, who won the Classic last year with a tremendous stringer on the final day, did not catch a legal fish yesterday.

"I figured I would have to have 13 to 15 pounds today," said Clunn, who was fishing Middle River. "So I moved to go after big fish and it just didn't work out."

Randy Fite of Montgomery, Texas, caught the biggest fish in the tournament, a 6-pounder.

"Prior to today," Fite said, "we all thought there were only a bunch of 4-pounders out there. Now we know there is at least one 6-pounder swimming around."

This was the second closest Classic in history. In 1989, Hank Parker beat Jim Bitter by 2 ounces.

There were 49 limits caught out of a possible 120, a total of 423 fish were caught and the total weight was 771 pounds, 3 ounces.

Standings

Final standings of the $200,000 BASS Masters Classic, with angler, number of fish caught, total weight of fish in pounds and ounces and total winnings:

Pos..Angler.. .. .. ..No.. ..Wgt.. ..Winnings

1. Ken Cook.. .. .. ..15.. ..33-2.. ..$50,000

Randall Romig.. .. 15.. ..32-15.. .$13,000

3. Woo Daves.. .. .. .15.. ..32-5.. .. $7,500

4. Zell Rowland.. .. .12.. ..31-8.. .. $6,000

Carroll Hagood.. ..15.. ..29-15.. ..$5,000

6. Mark Davis.. .. .. 15.. ..29-13.. ..$4,500

Randy Fite.. .. .. 13.. ..29-5.. .. $4,000

8. Harold Allen.. .. .15.. ..28-4.. .. $4,000

Jerry Wagner.. .. .14.. ..24-13.. ..$3,500

10. Jim Nolan.. .. .. 12.. ..23-11.. ..$3,500

Bernard Schultz.. 11.. ..23-8.. .. $3,500

12. Mickey Bruce.. .. 14.. ..22-14.. ..$3,500

13. Edward Cowan.. .. 11.. ..22-8.. .. $3,500

Charles Ingram.. .13.. ..22-6.. .. $3,500

15. Kevin VanDam.. .. 12.. ..22-4.. .. $3,500

Bo Dowden.. .. .. .9.. ..21-9.. .. $3,000

17. Gary Brown.. .. ..12.. ..21-3.. .. $3,000

Ron Shuffield.. ..11.. ..20-6.. .. $3,000

19. Denny Stacey.. .. 12.. ..19-3.. .. $3,000

Rick Clunn.. .. ..10.. ..18-11.. ..$3,000

21. Guy Eaker.. .. .. .8.. ..18-1.. .. $3,000

21. Shaw Grigsby Jr.. 11.. ..18-1.. .. $3,000

Guido Hibdon.. .. 10.. ..17-13.. ..$3,000

24. Jim Bitter.. .. ..14.. ..17-11.. ..$3,000

25. Jerry Rhyne.. .. .12.. ..15-13.. ..$3,000

26. Gary Klein.. .. ..11.. ..15-5.. .. $3,000

Tommy Martin.. .. 10.. ..14-4.. .. $3,000

Tom Biffle.. .. .. 7.. ..14-0.. .. $3,000

29. Denny Brauer.. .. .7.. ..13-14.. ..$3,000

30. Jimmy Houston.. ..10.. ..13-11.. ..$3,000

31. Manuel Spencer.. ..6.. ..13-4.. .. $3,000

32. Jim Kirkpatrick.. .8.. ..13-0.. .. $3,000

33. Joe Thomas.. .. .. 8.. ..12-7.. .. $3,000

34. Jay Yelas.. .. .. .8.. ..12-3.. .. $3,000

35. Larry Nixon.. .. ..9.. ..11-3.. .. $3,000

Jeff Magee.. .. .. 7.. ..11-0.. .. $3,000

37. Roland Martin.. .. 7.. ..10-0.. .. $3,000

Mickey Trousdale.. 7.. .. 8-7.. .. $3,000

Mike Folkestad.. ..5.. .. 7-2.. .. $3,000

Charlie Reed.. .. .2.. .. 3-13.. ..$3,000

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