The Bassmaster Classic is heralded as one of the world’s best tournaments, drawing the best fishermen world-wide.
The Bassmaster Classic is a big deal. The winner of the title is even dubbed the World Champion of bass fishing. It’s only right to recognize the best of the best.
Here are the top 10 biggest weigh-ins in Bassmaster Classic History. Enjoy.
10. 1973 Rayo Breckenridge (52-8)
When master fisherman Bill Dance missed an estimated eight-pound bass, it sealed the deal for angler Rayo Breckenridge. Although never winning a Bassmaster before, or any tournament for that matter, Rayo would haul in the tenth heaviest weight of any Bassmaster Classic during the tournament, and do it as a rookie.
He out-fished 26 other pros and collected a $15,000 winning the tournament at Clarks Hill Reservoir, South Carolina. Breckenridge passed away in 1995, but was inducted into Bass Fishing Hall of Fame in 2014.
9. 1980 Bo Dowden (54-10)
Dubbed the Super Bowl of Bass Fishing, the Bassmaster Classic X in 1980 held at Alexandria Bay, Thousand Islands, New York was one to remember. The Louisiana native Bo Dowden would reign victorious, thanks large in part to his six-pound, six-ounce bass that he reeled in during the tournament. It ended up being the biggest fish of the competition.
His closest opponent, Roland Martin, was more than 10 pounds behind him. It was Dowden’s day in the spotlight. For his work that day, he earned the largest purse in professional bass fishing history up to that date, $41,000.
8. 2013 Cliff Pace (54-12)
The Mississippi boy proved he had what it takes to win it all by hauling in a three-day total of 54 pounds, 12 ounces on the Grand Lake O’ the Cherokees. Although he experienced the 5 1/2 hour ordeal of not getting a bite, his persistence paid off. And good thing too. Being crowned the champion of the 43rd Annual Bassmaster Classic earned him a purse of $500,000. Not a bad payday at all for spending three days on the lake.
7. 2009 Skeet Reese (54-13)
Another Mississippi native, the 2007 B.A.S.S. Toyota Tundra Angler of the Year Recipient, Skeet Reese, took it all in 2009. In doing so, he managed to haul in the seventh heaviest weigh-in of all time for a Bassmaster Classic. It was his first, and so far only, time winning the highly-coveted trophy. Watch the trophy presentation and his championship speech in the following video:
6. 1999 Davy Hite (55-10)
His birthplace might just say it all; Davy Hite hails from Prosperity, South Carolina. Coming in as having the sixth best weigh-in on our list, Davy certainly did prosper during the 29th Annual Bassmaster Classic held in the Louisiana Delta.
He received $100,000 for winning the whole thing plus an extra $1,000 for having the biggest bass caught during the second day of tournament fishing. The next closest competitor, Denny Brauer, wasn’t even really close, lagging over nine pounds behind.
5. 2006 Luke Clausen (56-2)
27-year-old Clausen proved in the 36th Bassmaster Classic that anything can happen on the final day of fishing. He hauled in a 5-pound, 13 ounce bucket mouth on day three to help push into victory lane and earn him a cool $500,000 prize purse. At the time of Clausen’s victory, it was the heaviest catch for any Bassmaster Classic under the five fish a day tournament rules.
4. 1992 Robert Hamilton (59-6)
The 22nd Annual Bassmaster Classic trophy belongs to Robert Hamilton, who ranks fourth on our list of heaviest weigh-ins for a Bassmaster Classic tournament. His three-day total was a whopping 59 pounds, 6 ounces. Logan Martin Lake in Alabama was particularly good to Hamilton, granting him 21 fish total.
Needing only 10 pounds or so on day three to seal the deal, Hamilton produced over 17 pounds of fish, certainly putting the proverbial nail in the coffin.
3. 1976 Rick Clunn (59-15)
Anyone familiar with Bassmaster probably knows the name Rick Clun. He is simply a legend when it comes to bass fishing. For Bassmaster’s 6th Annaul Classic, he came through in heroic fashion netting nearly 60 pounds of bass to take home first prize.
In fact, he temporarily held the record for largest fish caught on day two with his 7 pound, 13 ounce catch. His payout in 1976 for winning the coveted championship might seem meager by today’s standards: $25,000.
2. 2011 Kevin VanDam (69-10)
No surprise here. Bass fishing’s current poster child ranks second with his Bassmaster Classic haul of 69 pounds, 10 ounces. This is the heaviest three-day total any angler has amassed under the five fish per day tournament rules. He pulverized the competition, winning by a comfortable 10-pound margin.
The seven-time Angler of the Year proved why he is always a force to be reckoned with on the water. Not only was this tournament the second heaviest haul of any Bassmaster Classic, it was his fourth Bassmaster Classic title. Watch him win.
1. 1984 Rick Clunn (75-9)
No, that’s not a typo. Rick Clunn is just the man. That and he had a few more fish he could turn in than other Bassmaster fishermen. Nonetheless, he crushed his competition, beating his closest competitor by over 25 pounds. His payout for dominating the tournament and winning the big one was $40,500.
It was Clunn’s third title (he would go on to win a fourth) and he certainly cemented his legacy as one of the best bass fishermen of his era. He also has the distinction of drawing two presidents to the championship awards ceremony, both Bill Clinton and George H.W. Bush.
Are you getting excited for the 2015 Bassmaster Classic Feb. 20-22? We are.