I asked Dick for three things he thought he brought to the bass fishing world, and here's what he said:
1. "Sharpening hooks. People never used to sharpen hooks. I used to sharpen them triangularly.
"If you take a round point and push it into leather, it has to force the leather apart [to penetrate]. A triangular-shaped hook slices the leather. It cuts it, so you don't need as much force.
"I sharpened my hooks with a file. Now I don't sharpen every hook because some are really sharp, like most of the Gamakatsu hooks."
2. "I think I was the first one to have a foot throttle. But I also could use the hand throttle so I could stand up and look."
3. "I was the first one, I believe, to use a long rod. Most guys were using [short] pistol-grip rods, but mine was like 7 feet. I had to have two or three made for me [because they weren't sold at the time].
"I used them because I figured I had better leverage on the fish, I could cast farther, and I could keep the fish from going under the boat when they got close. I really liked those rods – I guess a lot of other people have them now."
The biggest change he's seen from back then to now is electronics. "They're a lot better," he said. Anglers "know what they're doing [under the water] rather than just guessing."
Even so, he still has bow and stern flashers "because they show the bottom right away. Depthfinders sometimes don't register right away."
He also said that now there's "a lot more fishermen fishing a lot better."
Elite Series fishermen for the most part fished deep on the St. Lawrence. If he fished that tournament, Dick said, "I'd fish deep but would fish shallow, too. A lot of big fish are shallow.
"You'll look out there [shallow] and won't see anything, then all of a sudden you'll see two big black fish come along. If they see you, they probably won't bite. You have to cast way ahead of them on the flats.
"If they see you, they'll get ahead of your boat and keep going. And they'll pick up the other ones [swimming along] so then they'll all be ahead of you. Keep casting ahead of the boat – but sometimes you'll see them behind you.
"When they get to the edge of their territory, they disappear. What you can do is just go back to where you started, and you'll find them."
Bait wise, he'll drop shot from 2 feet to way out deep, and prefers to "let the current move the bait" rather than giving it action, he said. He also uses swimbaits, spinnerbaits, jerkbaits and lipless crankbaits, but regular lipped crankbaits "don't seem to work well."
When we left the St. Lawrence, Dick was scheduled to fish two tournaments the next week. He still fishes them because "it's just fun," he said. "Everybody wants to win, but I don't worry too much about it. I never did.
"Once I missed making the Classic by 2 ounces. Hank Parker said to me, 'Wow, I don't know how you can handle that. You must be in tears.' I said, 'What do you mean?' He said, 'You were so close. What are you going to do?'
"I said, 'I'm going to go home, fish a little and enjoy myself.'"