Next-to-last-place finish didn't spoil BASS competition for New Mexican

Bill Burton t

August 27, 1991|By Bill Burton

Cleaning out the BASS Masters Classic notebook: The fellow who beat all the odds to get one of the 40 invites to the Classic was New Mexican Mickey Trousdale, 46, who doesn't even own a boat. He fishes in the less productive stern area of other boats at bass'n competition but qualified for the big event by winning the Western Division of the Wrangler/BASS National Championship. A sentimental favorite, he finished 39th but made a lot of friends.

* Going into the last day, defending champion Rick Clunn was in 10th place and just about 4 pounds from the top, so he decided to go for broke on Middle River. He got blanked for the first time in a Classic, and he is a four-time winner.

Meanwhile, George Kramer, a local bass chaser, also was on Middle River and used a minnow to catch a 5-pound, 2-ouncer at Strawberry Point.

* Only artificial baits are used on the BASS tour to avoid mortality associated with live bait. Wouldn't it be interesting to learn how live bait would stack up against artificials among the pros?

* Of the 423 bass taken in the Classic, all but five survived the boat ride on the water and the rides to the Baltimore Arena and back to the upper bay -- via hatchery truck -- with a stop at a hatchery to be checked out.

* Angler of the Year and former Classic winner Guide Hibdon managed only a 23rd-place finish but left impressed with the Chesapeake. "There's a hell of a lot more fish here than anyone thought," said Hibdon as he packed up to leave Sunday.

He'd like to come back; he likes challenging fishing.

* The 423 bass caught here tied Classic III at famed South Carolina's Clark Hill Reservoir, which was won by cotton farmer Rayo Breckenridge. But here the aggregate total weight was 771 pounds, 3 ounces, as compared with 620 1/2 at Clark Hill. Last year at the James River, one more bass was caught, but the aggregate weight was 90 pounds less.

* In numbers of fish, the local catch ranked sixth in the history of the Classic, and in poundage, third. Some of us don't appreciate the waters in our own backyard, but BASS president Ray Scott does. Don't be surprised if he brings the Classic back, maybe even next year.

* Roundly booed when introduced at Saturday's finale with 10,000 at Baltimore Arena, Gov. Schaefer warmed many antagonists quickly by inviting Scott back next year. Schaefer said he was overwhelmed by the weigh-in ceremonies, and those sitting near him detected a tear or two during ceremonies featuring BASS members who served in Saudi Arabia.

* It was touching also for Maryland freshwater fisheries chief Bob Bachman, who was a submarine commander with rank of Navy captain, a graduate of the Naval Academy, and the man who has pushed hardest of all to improve our bass and trout fisheries. He predicted good catches and went wild when Randy Fite checked in his 6-pounder. And if you, too, shed a tear, don't be embarrassed. There weren't many dry eyes in the arena.

* Politicians and fisheries managers weren't the only ones happy the Classic came here. In the Marriott's parking garage, thieves profited by breaking into vehicles of the entourage. One night alone claimed five -- including that of contender Woo Daves, who lost some tackle but not enough to keep him from finishing third.

* BASS pros are getting so many sponsors they don't have room on their shirts and hats to list them. Past Classic winner Bo Dowden solved that with a twin-bill cap, which he constantly turned around. Over one visor was an advertisement for Evinrude, on the other a promo for Stren line.

* Potential sponsors for winner Ken Cook will have to wait a couple of weeks. The day after picking up his check for $50,000, he took off for Alaska to hunt grizzly bears and mountain goats. That trip had been planned; the money will go as a down payment on a new house and 600-acre spread he had also planned before the Classic. Talk about confidence.

* Other than the contenders, the big winners were those who market thick soft plastic Slug Go baits, spark-flake formulas, and willow-leaf blades for spinnerbaits, all of which performed admirably.

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