Records are made to be broken. B.A.S.S. records began getting set and reset 46 years ago when the company was founded. Here are several you know — and some we're pretty sure you don't. Most fans know that Rick Clunn has qualified for the Bassmaster Classic 32 times, more than any other angler. But he holds some other phenomenal but lesser-known records, and several other anglers do, too. Keep reading to see which ones are the 30 most significant records in B.A.S.S. history.
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Heaviest Total Weight (five-bass limit): Paul Elias, 132-8
Paul Elias holds the record for the heaviest total weight caught in a five-bass-limit B.A.S.S. tournament. He won it when he caught an astounding 132 pounds, 8 ounces on Texas' Falcon Lake in April 2008. It was a crazy time; it was the third time the record had fallen in three years. Preston Clark broke it in 2006 with 115-15 on South Carolina's Santee Cooper, and he only got to the hold the record for one year, thanks to Steve Kennedy smashing 122 pounds, 14 ounces on California's Clear Lake the following spring. When Falcon rolled around in 2008, Kennedy's record was broken by multiple anglers — Scott Rook, Mark Davis, Aaron Martens, Byron Velvick and Terry Scroggins — before Elias came to the stage and broke it a final time with his fourth monster bag of the tournament. No tournament weight has come close since.
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Lightest Elite Series Winning Weight: Kevin Short, 43-3
In contrast to Paul Elias' heaviest winning weight is Kevin Short's lightest winning weight record. Short won on the Mississippi River in Fort Madison, Iowa, with only 43 pounds, 3 ounces over four days. Kelly Jordon wasn't far behind in second place with 42-9. This record was in jeopardy just recently when the Bassmaster Elite Series visited the Delaware River in Philadelphia, but Mike Iaconelli managed to win that one with 47-14. Runner-up Chris Lane finished 8 pounds back; if Lane had won with his 39-14 or just a couple pounds more, he would have unseated Short.
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Heaviest Total Weight (15-bass limit): Blake Honeycutt, 138-6
It was a time when B.A.S.S. tournaments were just beginning and bass conservation (i.e., catch and release) was still a few years away. In July 1969, the Eufaula National had a 15-bass limit, and Blake Honeycutt took the trophy with 138 pounds, 6 ounces. His record has stood now for 45 years, and because limits are one-third the size now, it will likely never be broken.
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Heaviest Winning Weight (three-day tournament): Byron Velvick, 83-5
Byron Velvick had been competing with B.A.S.S. for 10 years, but he had not had great success, and any success the California pro did have was on Western waters. He showed the world what he was capable of on April 15, 2000, when the Western Invitational came to California's Clear Lake. The pro won the event with 83 pounds, 5 ounces — more than 10 pounds more than fellow Californian and runner-up Skeet Reese had — and broke a record that has stood now for 14 years.
Photo: Steve Price
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Lightest Winning Weight in a Classic: Kevin VanDam, 12-15
It's not often one gets to celebrate catching less than 5 pounds a day in a tournament. However, in the 2005 Bassmaster Classic, that's all it took to win. Kevin VanDam caught only 12 pounds, 15 ounces — and that was enough for a Classic victory by a 6-ounce margin over Aaron Martens. The three-day event took place on Three Rivers in Pittsburgh, Pa., in July 2005.
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Largest Margin of Classic Victory: Rick Clunn, 25-8
Rick Clunn wowed the crowd at the Arkansas River in August 1984 when he didn't just win the Bassmaster Classic — he shamed the competition. In a tournament in which the average weight was around 23 pounds, he finished with 75 pounds, 9 ounces — a solid 25 pounds, 8 ounces ahead of runner-up Greg South. The next-closest winning margin was a 13-7 spread by Don Butler in 1972.
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Heaviest Classic-Winning Weight: Rick Clunn, 75-9
Clunn's huge margin of victory also translated to another record — for the heaviest winning weight in a Classic. The next-closest behind him is Kevin VanDam, who caught 69-11 from the Louisiana Delta in the 2011 Bassmaster Classic.
Photo: Charles Beck
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Heaviest Single-Day Weight (five-bass limit): Dean Rojas, 45-2
Maybe one of B.A.S.S.'s most well-known records, Dean Rojas has the honor of being the angler who brought in the heaviest bag ever. It was Jan. 17, 2001, the first day of the Florida Bassmaster Top 150 on the Kissimmee Chain and Lake Toho. He weighed in five monsters for a total of 45 pounds, 2 ounces. He went on to win the tournament, passing the century mark and ending with 108-12. The closest angler behind him was Mark Davis with 93-1, and Davis caught the second-heaviest bag ever the very next day with 41-10. Davis' runner-up spot slipped when the pros went to Texas' Falcon Lake in 2008, and three anglers — Terry Scroggins, Aaron Martens and Byron Velvick — caught 40-plus sacks. Scroggins now owns the second-heaviest bag with 44-4.
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Heaviest Single-Day Weight (15-bass limit): Rip Nunnery, 98-15
Speaking of heaviest bags, how about this one? Rip Nunnery brought 98 pounds, 15 ounces to the scales on July 10, 1969, on Alabama's Lake Eufaula. It helps that the limit was 15 bass and that fish health was an afterthought in '60s B.A.S.S. tournaments. Regardless, Nunnery's stringer was so heavy that it had to be wrapped around a boat paddle — which broke on its way to the scales! The next-heaviest weight that day was 83-0 by Bill Dance. Nunnery's spot dried up, though, and he only brought 18 pounds total over the next two days.
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Heaviest Single-Day Weight in a Classic (five-bass limit): Paul Mueller, 32-3
Even the sport's newest fans will recognize this record because it was just broken this year. Paul Mueller, who was representing the Connecticut B.A.S.S. Nation in the 2014 Bassmaster Classic, had a dismal Day 1 on Alabama's Lake Guntersville and was most assuredly going to miss the cut after Day 2's weigh-in. That is, until he brought in a record 32 pounds, 3 ounces that vaulted him from 47th place to fifth. He ended the Classic in second place. Prior to Mueller's catch, the record was 29-6 by Luke Clausen in 2006 on Florida's Kissimmee Chain.
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Heaviest Single-Day Weight in a Classic (10-bass limit): Rick Clunn, 33-5
Alabama's Lake Guntersville likes owning the Classic record for single-day weight. It has it for Mueller's five bass in 2014, as well as for Rick Clunn's 10 bass in 1976. Clunn had a monster day on Nov. 4, 1976, when he weighed in 33 pounds, 5 ounces. Two of his bass were the biggest of the day — 6-5 and 7-13 — but Ricky Green swooped in and swiped that record. Green caught an 8-9 that same day that stood for 30 years. Clunn went on to win the 1976 Bassmaster Classic with 59-15.
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Most Angler of the Year Awards: Roland Martin, 9
Roland Martin was a force to be reckoned with in the 1970s. If he wasn't the one holding the trophy, then he was in the Top 5 of pretty much any B.A.S.S. tournament. The Angler of the Year honor was first bestowed in 1970, and Bill Dance was the winner. But Martin took it the second year, and then the third ... and then the fourth. By 1985, Martin had nine AOYs to his credit. The only angler who has ever come close to taking that record is Kevin VanDam, who currently has seven.
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Most Classic Victories: Rick Clunn, 4
Rick Clunn is to the Bassmaster Classic as Roland Martin is to the Angler of the Year. Clunn has four Classic trophies to put on his mantel that he's earned through his record 32 appearances. He won his first in 1976, followed it up with a repeat in 1977, won again in 1984 and closed out his fourth in 1990. No other angler has achieved that, except ...
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Most Classic Victories: Kevin VanDam, 4
It's a tie! Kevin VanDam has now matched Clunn's record four Classic victories. His first was in 2001, another came in 2005, and then he went back-to-back with wins in 2010 and 2011. No pro has come close to Clunn and VanDam. Three anglers — George Cochran, Bobby Murray and Hank Parker — have two wins, and all three are retired, so don't expect a third four-timer anytime soon.
Photo: Gerald Crawford
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Youngest Classic Winner: Stanley Mitchell, 21
When Stanley Mitchell stepped up to the scales at the 1981 Bassmaster Classic, he could have come right out of the Bassmaster CastingKids or Junior Bassmaster program. At only 21, Mitchell could be compared now to one of our Carhartt Bassmaster College Series anglers. He won the event on the Alabama River in Montgomery, Ala., and he stands to this day as the youngest Classic winner ever.
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Oldest Classic Winner: Woo Daves, 54
At the ripe age of 54 years old, Woo Daves is the oldest Classic winner so far. He took the trophy on Chicago's Soldier Field after catching 27 pounds, 13 ounces out of Lake Michigan during the 2000 Bassmaster Classic. For reference, the average age of competitors in the Bassmaster Classic is usually in the mid- to late 30s.
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Youngest Elite Series Winner: Casey Ashley, 23
Casey Ashley was in his rookie year on the Bassmaster Elite Series when he won his first B.A.S.S. event, and he was still wet behind the ears when he did it. He was only 23 when he hoisted the trophy at Virginia's Smith Mountain Lake in 2007. He's since won two more.
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Oldest Elite Series Winner: Denny Brauer, 62
Denny Brauer was the oldest person to ever win an Elite Series event when he was victorious on the Arkansas River in 2011. He was 62 at the time, and it was his 17th B.A.S.S. win.
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Most Consecutive Limits in the Elite Series: Kevin VanDam, 57
Kevin VanDam can catch five every day, most of the time. He caught 57 limits in Elite Series competition in a row, then followed it up with another streak of 26. Both of those have ended in a year that's been the exception to the rule for him.
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Biggest Bass: Mark Tyler, 14-9
If you're going to have a record, this is a great one to have. Mark Tyler pulled a 14-pound, 9-ounce behemoth out of the California Delta in April 1999. It was the biggest ever caught in a B.A.S.S. event. He ended in fourth place with 60-4 over three days.
Photo: Steve Price
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Second-Biggest Bass: Mark Menendez, 13-9
A pound behind Tyler is veteran pro Mark Menendez with a 13-9 he caught two years prior. Menendez broke the record set in 1973 when he came to the scales with this swamp donkey at Richland Chambers Reservoir in Texas in March 1997. He finished in eighth place with 62-2.
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Third-Biggest Bass: Scott Campbell, 13-2
The biggest bass in B.A.S.S. tournaments since 1999 is this 13-pound, 2-ouncer caught by Scott Campbell on Texas' Falcon Lake in April 2008. Campbell joined the Elite Series one year prior and left it one year later. But he left a nice marker in B.A.S.S. history during his short stint.
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Biggest Classic Bass: Preston Clark, 11-10
Preston Clark only qualified for the Bassmaster Classic twice, but he left behind one record anglers will be clamoring to break for years to come. He caught an 11-pound, 10-ounce beast on Florida's Lake Toho during the 2006 Bassmaster Classic held in February of that year. What's frustrating about that tidbit for Rick Clunn? Clunn had the biggest bass in the 1976 Classic, until Ricky Green showed up with a bigger one and broke his record. In 2006, Clunn again had the biggest bass, breaking Green's record, until Clark weighed in. So, try as he might, Clunn can't get hold of this record for more than an hour at a time.
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Most B.A.S.S. Wins: Kevin VanDam, 20
Kevin VanDam likes winning. He's done it 20 times during his tenure at B.A.S.S. His next-closest competitor is Roland Martin, 19, followed by Denny Brauer, 17. VanDam also has another record worth mentioning here: He's got more B.A.S.S. earnings than any other angler, at $5.66 million.
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Smallest Margin of Classic Victory: Dion Hibdon, 1 ounce
Wouldn't you hate to be almost the Classic winner, then watch someone else weigh in with a single ounce more and take the trophy? That happened. It was 1997 on Alabama's Logan Martin Lake. Dalton Bobo was on track to win the 1997 Classic, but he had a dead fish — his first and only dead fish ever in competition. B.A.S.S. had changed the fish care penalty from 2 ounces to 4 that very year. If it had remained 2 ounces, Bobo would have taken home that trophy. Instead, Dion Hibdon did. Hibdon ended with 34-13, and Bobo with 34-12. Bobo never qualified for another Classic.
Photo: Gerald Crawford
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Most Wins at One Venue: Robert Lee, California Delta
Robert Lee has a unique record. He has competed in 66 tournaments all over the country and won four. All four of his wins were on the California Delta.
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Youngest B.A.S.S. Winner: David Dudley, 20
Like Casey Ashley and Stanley Mitchell, David Dudley holds a record for being a young winner. But Dudley's record is overall, for every B.A.S.S. tournament ever. Dudley was only 20 when we won on Virginia's James River in October 1995. It was another 9 years before he earned his only other victory.
Photo: Gerald Crawford
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Oldest B.A.S.S. Winner: Shorty Evans, 65
Like Woo Daves and Denny Brauer, Shorty Evans would not be stopped by having a little age on him. Like Dudley's age record at the other end of the spectrum, Evans is the oldest winner of any B.A.S.S. tournament. He was 65 when he won the 1978 Kentucky Invitational by nearly 10 pounds. It was his only win.
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Youngest Angler of the Year: Kevin VanDam, 24
Kevin VanDam started winning Toyota Bassmaster Angler of the Year awards almost as soon as he started fishing professionally. In 1992, VanDam only had a few tournaments under his belt when he bested the entire field of pros. He walked away with his first AOY title at age 24, and he's won six more since then.
Photo: Gerald Crawford
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Oldest Angler of the Year: Roland Martin, 45
Roland Martin not only won more AOY titles than anyone else, he also continued collecting the AOY trophy well into his career. Here, he accepts the award for the ninth time, in 1985 at age 45.