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The Bassmaster Memorial: Honoring Don Butler
If BASS ever had a guardian angel, his name was Don Butler. Butler's support of BASS and bass fishing was second to none. When Ray Scott was forming the organization in the late 1960s, Butler was the first to join, giving Scott a $100 bill so that he could be a life member.
Apart from being a supporter of BASS and bass conservation, Butler was also a fine fisherman. In 1972, he won the Bassmaster Classic in dramatic fashion. After falling behind by nearly 13 pounds on the first day, Butler bounced back and took the lead on Day 2. By the time the three-day event was over, Butler had used his Small Okiebug spinnerbait to easily outpace the rest of the field. His 13-pound, 7-ounce margin of victory is the second largest in Classic history.
The next season, Butler won the Arkansas Invitational on Beaver Lake. He effectively retired from tournament fishing after the 1975 BASS season. In 26 career BASS events, Butler finished in the money an impressive 17 times. In addition to his two wins, he had eight top-10 finishes.
Butler died in December of 2004 after a long battle with cancer. He was 74 years old.
ONEIDA LAKE TRIVIA
• Though best known as a smallmouth bass fishery, Tommy Biffle caught largemouth to win last year's Elite Series event on Oneida Lake. He flipped and pitched a creature bait to cover in extremely shallow water and cast a swimming frog in the areas between cover. He caught the biggest bass of Day 1 (4-14) on the frog. With his first-place paycheck, Biffle entered the BASS millionaire's club.
• The Bassmaster Memorial will be the 4th Bassmaster Tournament Trail professional level event on Oneida Lake. The first was the New York Northern Open in 2003 won by Art Ferguson with a three-day total of 32-9. In 2005, BASS returned with another Northern Open, and this event was won by Joey Rodrigues with 44-14. Last year, Tommy Biffle won the Empire Chase on Oneida with a four-day total of 63-10.
• Oneida Lake is a small remnant of Lake Iroquois, a huge body of water that formed approximately 12,000 years ago when a glacier dammed the St. Lawrence River and flooded flooding much of what is now central New York.
• Zebra mussels are native to parts of Europe and Asia, but entered American waters after being carried here inadvertently by ships that originated in foreign waters. The mussels siphon up to one quart of lake water per day into their shell, filtering out algae and organic debris. Zebra mussel densities in some lake bottom areas exceed 100,000 per square meter! They are filtering the water so thoroughly that light now penetrates deep enough to allow vegetation growth to 12 feet deep or more where it only penetrated half that distance in the recent past.
YOUR ONLINE GUIDE TO THE BASSMASTER MEMORIAL
Can't make it to the Bassmaster Memorial? Stay plugged in to the action online...
The Bassmasters: Following the ESPN2 airing of The Bassmasters, INSIDERS can view the TV coverage online, along with previously-aired installments of the show.
How-to: Learn techniques from the champion to make your next trip successful
Live, online chat: Visit Bassmaster.com for a live, online chat with the winner Tues., July 31.
Live Weigh-in Video: View the weigh-in in its entirety LIVE each day of the tournament
Live Leaderboard: Keep track of who is leading the pack with live, up-to-the-minute updates online
Hooked-Up: The sport's only pre-game live Web cast
Photo Galleries: Updated post-launch and post-weigh-in
News & Features: Get the latest scoop from the tournament post-launch and post-weigh-in from espnoutdoors.com staff.