Bassmaster Classic

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The Bassmaster Classic is a tournament in the sport of professional bass fishing. It was first held in 1971 on Lake Mead, Nevada. Originally it was a fall event, (1971-1983) but it switched to a summer event in 1984 and then to a late winter event in 2006.

The event has turned into a three-day spectacle, complete with a theatrical presentation of the weigh-ins and hours of television coverage. ESPN purchased Bass Anglers Sportsman Society (BASS), which organizes the event, and increased coverage of the event and the Classic's profile.

Rick Clunn and Kevin VanDam have each won the event four times. Jordan Lee, Bobby Murray, Hank Parker and George Cochran have each won twice.

First-place money has grown from $10,000 in 1971 to $500,000 in 2006; it was reduced to $300,000 in 2014.[1]

Rules and procedures[edit]

The field has ranged from 24 to 61 anglers. The 2009 competition included women for the first time. 2010 was the last year for women to be given a Classic spot. As in previous years, they have to earn a spot via the opens or, qualify for the Bassmaster Elite Series and have enough success to gain a spot to the Classic. Neither of the two women finished within the top 20.

The Bassmaster Classic takes place over three days. All fish are caught under catch-and-release rules, must measure at least 12 inches (or as that state law requires), and must be alive at the time they are presented for weigh-in or a penalty will be assessed. There is a cut after the second day, in which only the 25 top anglers, based on total weight, advance to the third day. The highest total weight after three days wins the competition.

Contestants can only fish in specified areas at the competition venue. This is usually a lake, but the 1980 Classic was held on the Saint Lawrence River out of Alexandria Bay, NY, the 2005 competition was held at Three Rivers (Allegheny River and Monongahela River which forms the Ohio River) in Pittsburgh, with some competitors using tributaries such as the Beaver River and Youghiogheny River miles from the confluence. In 2009 and 2012 the Classic used a 100-mile stretch of the Red River in Shreveport, Louisiana. In 2011, the Classic was held on the Louisiana Delta. The venue continues to change from year to year, but tends to revisit prior Classic sites as well.

From its inception to 1976, the Classic was held at a "mystery lake," unknown to competitors until they were aboard an aircraft bound for the site. Founder Ray Scott changed the practice for the 1977 Classic, announcing the site in advance so that fans of the sport could plan ahead to attend.

Past winners[edit]

Date Champion Weight lbs oz Boat Lake
1971 OCT 20-22 United States Bobby Murray 43-11 Rebel Lake Mead, NV
1972 OCT 25-27 United States Don Butler 38-11 Ranger Percy Priest Reservoir, TN
1973 OCT 24-26 United States Rayo Breckenridge 52-8 BassCat Clarks Hill Lake, SC
1974 OCT 30-1 United States Tommy Martin 33-7 BassCat Wheeler Lake, AL
1975 OCT 29-31 United States Jack Hains 45-4 Ranger Currituck Sound, NC
1976 NOV 3-5 United States Rick Clunn 59-15 Ranger Lake Guntersville, AL
1977 OCT 26-28 United States Rick Clunn 27-7 Ranger Kissimmee Chain, FL
1978 OCT 25-27 United States Bobby Murray 37-9 Ranger Ross Barnett Reservoir, MS
1979 SEP 26-28 United States Hank Parker 31 Ranger Lake Texoma, TX
1980 SEP 24-26 United States Bo Dowden 54-10 Ranger St. Lawrence River, NY
1981 OCT 15-17 United States Stanley Mitchell 35-2 Ranger Alabama River, AL
1982 OCT 14-16 United States Paul Elias 32-8 Ranger Alabama River, AL
1983 AUG 4-6 United States Larry Nixon 18-1 Ranger Ohio River, OH
1984 AUG 16-18 United States Rick Clunn 75-9 Ranger Arkansas River, AR
1985 AUG 15-17 United States Jack Chancellor 45 Ranger Arkansas River, AR
1986 AUG 14-16 United States Charlie Reed 23-9 Ranger Tennessee River, TN
1987 AUG 13-15 United States George Cochran 15-5 Ranger Ohio River, OH
1988 AUG 25-27 United States Guido Hibdon 28-8 Ranger James River, VA
1989 AUG 17-19 United States Hank Parker 31-6 Ranger James River, VA
1990 AUG 23-25 United States Rick Clunn 34-5 Ranger James River, VA
1991 AUG 22-24 United States Ken Cook 33-2 Ranger Chesapeake Bay, MD
1992 JUL 30-1 United States Robert Hamilton, Jr 59-6 Ranger Lake Logan Martin, AL
1993 AUG 12-14 United States David Fritts 48-6 Ranger Lake Logan Martin, AL
1994 JUL 28-30 United States Bryan Kerchal 36-7 Ranger High Rock Lake, NC
1995 AUG 3-5 United States Mark Davis 47-14 Ranger High Rock Lake, NC
1996 AUG 8-10 United States George Cochran 31-14 Ranger Lay Lake, AL
1997 AUG 7-9 United States Dion Hibdon 34-13 Ranger Lake Logan Martin, AL
1998 AUG 6-8 United States Denny Brauer 46-3 Ranger High Rock Lake, NC
1999 JUL 29-31 United States Davy Hite 55-10 Ranger Louisiana Delta, LA
2000 JUL 20-22 United States Woo Daves 27-13 Ranger Lake Michigan, IL
2001 AUG 2-4 United States Kevin VanDam 32-5 Skeeter Louisiana Delta, LA
2002 JUL 25-27 United States Jay Yelas 45-13 Skeeter Lay Lake, AL
2003 AUG 1-3 United States Michael Iaconelli 37-14 Triton Louisiana Delta, LA
2004 JUL 30-1 Japan Takahiro Omori 39-2 Triton Lake Wylie, NC
2005 JUL 29-31 United States Kevin VanDam 12-15 Nitro Three Rivers, PA
2006 FEB 24-26 United States Luke Clausen 56-2 Triton Kissimmee Chain, FL
2007 FEB 23-25 United States Boyd Duckett 48-10 Triton Lay Lake, AL
2008 FEB 22-24 United States Alton Jones 48-7 Skeeter Lake Hartwell, SC
2009 FEB 20-22 United States Skeet Reese 54-13 Champion Red River, LA
2010 FEB 19-21 United States Kevin VanDam 51-6 Nitro Lay Lake, AL
2011 FEB 18-20 United States Kevin VanDam 69-11 Nitro Louisiana Delta, LA
2012 FEB 24-26 United States Chris Lane 51-6 Legend Red River, LA
2013 FEB 22-24 United States Cliff Pace 54-12 Skeeter Grand Lake, OK
2014 FEB 21-23 United States Randy Howell 67-8 Triton Lake Guntersville, AL
2015 FEB 20-22 United States Casey Ashley 50-1 Triton Lake Hartwell, SC
2016 MAR 4-6 United States Edwin Evers 60-7 [2] Nitro Grand Lake, OK
2017 MAR 24-26 United States Jordan Lee 56-10 [3] Legend Lake Conroe, TX
2018 MAR 16-18 United States Jordan Lee 47-1 [4] Ranger Lake Hartwell, SC
2019 MAR 15-17 United States Ott Defoe 49-3 [5] Nitro Tennessee River, TN

Record Book[edit]

  • Largest Bass Caught: 11-10, Preston Clark, Toho, FL 2006
  • Heaviest Venue Total Weight: 1,578-14, Red River, LA 2009
  • Heaviest Total Weight: 69-11, Kevin VanDam, Louisiana Delta, LA 2011
  • Lowest Total Winning Weight: 12-15. Kevin Van Dam, Three Rivers, PA 2005
  • Heaviest Single Day Weight: 32-3, Paul Mueller, Guntersville, AL 2014
  • Most Bassmaster Classic Wins: 4, Rick Clunn, 1976, 1977, 1984, 1990 / 4, Kevin VanDam, 2001, 2005, 2010, 2011
  • Most Top 5 Classic Finishes: 11, Rick Clunn
  • Most Consecutive Classic Appearances: 28, Rick Clunn, 1974-2001
  • Most Second Place Finishes: 4, Aaron Martens, 2002, 2004, 2005, 2011
  • Largest Final Day Comeback: 13-14 deficit, Jordan Lee, Conroe, TX 2017

Jr. Bassmasters[edit]

The Jr. Bassmasters is a Bassmaster Classic competition for children up to 18. The national classic for the Jr. Bassmasters is achieved once an angler has won a qualifying event sponsored by the B.A.S.S association. The Jr. angler then gets to work with a professional on practice day. On the tournament day no help is provided by the pro and the Jr. Angler has to rely on his/her own knowledge and skill. The winner and 2nd and 3rd place all receive scholarships of different value.


  1. ^ 2014 Bassmaster Classic results
  2. ^ "Edwin Evers". Bassmaster. Retrieved 2017-03-27.
  3. ^ "tournaments | Bassmaster". Retrieved 2017-03-27.
  4. ^ "tournaments | Bassmaster". Retrieved 2018-03-18.
  5. ^ "tournaments | Bassmaster". Retrieved 2019-03-17.

External links[edit]