Classic Moments: The first Classic

LAKE MEAD, Nevada — Bobby Murray of Hot Springs, Ark., won the inaugural Bassmaster Classic with a catch of 17 bass weighing 43 pounds, 11 ounces.

The tournament winning weight earned Murray the $10,000 prize in the winner-take-all event.

Roland Martin landed a 6-pound, 9-ounce fish to claim big bass honors.

Murray ran from cove to cove fishing a 1/4-ounce Zorro Aggravator tandem-blade spinnerbait as far as he could heave it. He cranked the lure back through any cover lodged or sprouting in the narrow cut.

 Murray was catching bass 2 feet deep in the lake, which has depths to 589 feet.

 Of note:

  • Florida's Johnny Adams qualified for the first Classic, but chose not to use vacation time from his job to fish the event. He qualified again in 1981 and finished 37th.
  • The inaugural Classic competitors fished from Rebel Fastback bass boats powered by 90 horsepower. MerCruiser inboard-outboards and could run as fast as 37 mph. The rig retailed for $4,000.
  • Competitors in the first Classic were limited to four rods and reels and 10 pounds of lures.
  • Daily big bass winners at the first Classic earned $100 per pound and cashed in their prizes at the Union Plaza Hotel Casino.

 Top 6 finishers

1. Bobby Murray Hot Springs, Ark. 43-11 

2. Tom Mann Eufaula, Ala. 37-13

3. George Oates Memphis, Tenn. 34-01

4. Roland Martin Montgomery, Ala. 30-03

5. Bobby Meador Baton Rouge, La. 28-03

6. Don Butler Tulsa, Okla. 24-07