B.A.S.S. tournament legend Ricky Green dies at 69

Ricky Green
Ricky Green long held the Bassmaster Classic record for the heaviest bass — an 8-pound, 9-ounce largemouth he caught on Lake Guntersville, Ala., in 1976. That's B.A.S.S. founder Ray Scott on his left.

ARKADELPHIA, Ark. — Ricky Green, a bass fishing pioneer and tournament-fishing legend, has died.

Green died Sunday afternoon, May 11, from an infection after lung transplant surgery in Methodist Hospital in Houston, according to his son, Keith Green. He was 69 years old.

Keith said his father appeared to be recovering well from the surgery, but over the weekend the infection began to take its toll.

Funeral services will be held at 10 a.m. Thursday at the First United Methodist Church in Hot Springs, Ark. Visitation will be Wednesday from 5 to 7 p.m. at Ruggles Wilcox Funeral Home in Arkadelphia.

In lieu of flowers, the family requests donations in Ricky Green’s name to the Bass Fishing Hall of Fame, Keith said. (Checks should be made payable to Bass Fishing Hall of Fame and accompanied by a note stating “Ricky Green Memorial.” Mail to: Bass Fishing Hall of Fame c/o Donald Howell, 361 Summit Blvd., Suite 210, Birmingham, AL 35243.)

Green was inducted into the Bass Fishing Hall of Fame in 2005.

A standout angler from the very beginning, Ricky Green first competed in the 1968 All-American on Sam Rayburn Reservoir, Texas, shortly after B.A.S.S. was founded by Ray Scott. He finished in the Top 10 in six of the first nine events he entered, including the runner-up position behind Don Butler in the 1972 Bassmaster Classic on Percy Priest Reservoir, Tennessee.

He held the Classic record for largest bass for nearly 30 years with an 8-pound, 9-ounce largemouth he caught during the 1976 Classic on Lake Guntersville, Ala.

In 1974, Green, who worked as a chemist for Reynolds Aluminum, was hired by an electronics manufacturer to fish its depthfinders on the B.A.S.S. trail. He is believed to be the first angler to be paid a salary by a sponsor. Known as “Mr. Consistency” because he qualified for 14 consecutive Bassmaster Classics, he competed in Bassmaster events until 1997. He later became a popular outfitter, taking customers on fishing trips in Mexico and South America. 

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