Looking Back: History of Bull Shoals

This year's Elite event marks B.A.S.S.' seventh professional tournament on Bull Shoals Reservoir and the first since a WBT event in 2006. It's been more than 20 years (1991) since the top B.A.S.S. pros competed there. That event (the 1991 Arkansas Bassmaster Top 100) was won by Ron Shuffield.

Biggest bass from Bull Shoals in a B.A.S.S. event weighed 8-14 and was caught on April 14, 1988 — Day Two of the Arkansas Invitational — by H. Mark Peters. That tournament was won by Rick Clunn.

Two current Elite anglers have won B.A.S.S. events on Bull Shoals — both in 1988. Rick won in April; Gary Klein won in October.

The flippin' technique was born on the California Delta but was introduced to the rest of the world when its inventor, Dee Thomas, won the 1975 Arkansas Invitational on Bull Shoals Reservoir. It was the first B.A.S.S. event ever held on Bull Shoals.

The bass on Bull Shoals run small. In six previous B.A.S.S. events, the average fish has never weighed more than 1.88 pounds. The average bass on Day One of the TroKar Quest weighed 2.76 pounds — more than a pound over the historical average.

Bull Shoals produced three bass that currently hold state record marks:

  1. Missouri largemouth - 13 pounds, 14 ounces - Marvin Bushong, April 21, 1961
  2. Arkansas smallmouth - 7 pounds, 5 ounces - Acie Dickerson, April 1, 1969
  3. Arkansas spotted - 7 pounds, 15 ounces - Mike Heilich, March 26, 1983

B.A.S.S. held its first of three fly rod tournaments on Bull Shoals in 1975 — the day before the Arkansas Invitational won by Dee Thomas. The single-day fly rod tournament was won by Bass Fishing Hall of Famer Ricky Green of Arkadelphia, Ark.

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