TEXAS BOYS DO GOOD
 IN 
BASSMASTER CLASSIC 2000

by
Norman & Virginia Pierce

There is so much emphasis placed on winning the Classic that folks forget that it’s a real challenge and honor just to qualify.  These boys work super hard to get to Classic and then they compete against the super elite fishermen in the country.  Texas’ had six guys qualify for the BASSMASTER Classic: Alton Jones, Mark Pack, Jay Yelas, Gary Klein, Todd Faircloth and Lendell Martin, Jr.  In addition, those of you who have been around awhile consider Larry Nixon and Rick Clunn to be honorary Texans’ even if they did jump ship and move to another state, they spent the majority of their fishing careers here in Texas and we claim them anyway!  We are privileged in this state to have so much freshwater to fish and the anglers that Texas produces are all topnotch and extremely talented.      

         

  Alton Jones at 37, is the most talented young angler to come along since Larry Nixon and Rick Clunn left Texas.  He hails from Waco, and has been fishing for bass since the tender age of two.  Having fished with him, he leaves no stone unturned and no cast is missed, in fact, he doesn’t miss anything when it comes to finding and catching bass, he is a bass magnet.  Alton won the BASSMASTER MegaBucks tournament earlier this year on Lake Murray, S.C.  He has qualified for five classics in a row and this year, finished in 7th place among some of the most grueling conditions that could be drummed up.  They had high winds, drought conditions, big waters and no place to get out of the wind.  In spite of the terrible conditions, he still managed to come to the scales with 22 lbs. 5 oz., earning a $5,500 paycheck.  Alton is also fishing the World Championship Fishing (WCF) tournaments and had his race boat on display at the ICAST show in Chicago.  

His sponsors include:  Skeeter Boats, Yamaha Outboards, SpiderLine, Mitchell Rods and Reels, Minn Kota Trolling Motors, PRADCO, Evercel/Evertroll Batteries, Allen Samuels Chevrolet, and Lake Fork
Mega-Weights.

Mark Pack from Mineola, Texas finished in 17th place at the Classic with a total weight of 18 lbs. 1 oz.  Mark lives within 30 minutes of the world famous Lake Fork and grew up fishing farm ponds nearby.  At age 39, he not only competes along the tournament trail, he guided for twelve years on Fork and has opened his own tackle company, called Lake Fork Tackle.  He finished in 2nd place at the BASSMASTERS Megabucks tournament, right behind fellow Texan, Alton Jones.  Both anglers used Mark’s Ring Fry and tube baits during the tournament.  Mark has only been fishing in tournaments for a little over six years and is moving up the ranks rather quickly. 

His sponsors include: Lake Fork Tackle, Ranger Boats, Mercury, Falcon Rods, Minn Kota Trolling Motors, and Interstate Batteries. 

Jay Yelas is another Texan that we’ve adopted.  Jay got here by way of Oregon, California, Sam Rayburn and now Tyler, Texas.  At age 34, Jay is a rising star that is burning a trail across Texas and leaving his mark wherever he passes through.  He ranks 11th for all time money winnings on the BASSMASTER circuit and has fished in 10 consecutive classics and has three national BASS titles.  

His sponsors are Skeeter Boats, Yamaha Outboards, Berkley Power Bait, Berkley Frenzy, Berkley Trilene/Vanish/FireLine Fishing Lines, Daiwa Rods and Reels, MotorGuide Trolling Motors, Lowrance Electronics, Linders Dodge, Starcraft Conversions and Yamalube.

Seasoned BASS veteran, Gary Klein is originally from California but claims Weatherford, Texas as his home.  Gary is 42, and has qualified for 19 Classics.  He has won seven B.A.S.S. Invitationals, and is a two time B.A.S.S. Angler of the Year.  He rates sixth for all time money winnings on the B.A.S.S. tournament trail, which doesn’t include his $250,000 winnings on the WCF circuit for his win on the Illinois Bass Quest.  

He is sponsored by Triton Boats, Mercury, Quantum, MotorGuide, Berkley Power Baits, Frenzy Crankbaits, Lunker Lure, Megabass, Zercom, Trolling Thunder Batteries and ProBassAngler.com.

One of the hottest new additions to the B.A.S.S. tournament trail is Todd Faircloth from Jasper, Texas.  At 24, he is rising very fast to the top of the elite anglers and with a little more experience, will go far in this industry.  He has earned a paycheck in five of the seven events he has fished in B.A.S.S..  He has been fishing tournaments since the age of 9, and credits his dad for always taking him along.  In the two year period between 1997 and 1999, he won six boats.  He may be young, but inexperienced, he is not, and fellow B.A.S.S. members better watch out, cause Todd’s on the prowl.  

His main sponsors are Skeeter Boats, Yamaha Outboards and Lake Fork Tackle. 

   

 

Native to Texas, Lendell Martin, Jr. from Nacagdoches, has fished for 19 years on the BASSMASTER tournament trails, and has qualified for five Classics.   Lendell has fished in over 150 B.A.S.S. events and is a proven angler along the tournament trails.  He placed 33rd in this year’s Classic.  

His sponsors are Tracker-Nitro, Yamamoto, All Star Rods, Stanley Jigs, Solar Bat Sunglasses, Bass Pro Shops and Mercury Outboards.

 

 

                Two favorite anglers of all times are former Texans, Larry Nixon and Rick Clunn.  No bassfishing article is complete unless these two anglers are mentioned.  They may have left Texas, but Texas hasn’t left them, we still claim them and will continue to do so. 

 

Larry Nixon has been on the B.A.S.S. tournament trail for 24 years, he was the first angler to break the $1 million dollar mark, and currently ranks second in all-time winnings for B.A.S.S.  He has won 14 national tournaments with B.A.S.S., fished in 21 Classics and won the Michigan Top 150 on Lake St. Clair in 1999.  Even though he only placed 18th at this year’s Classic, he is truly one of the greatest anglers of all times, and certainly one of Texas’ Heroes. 

 

He is followed by Rick Clunn, formerly a guide for many years on Lake Conroe and known to all in the industry as a super angler.  Rick finished in a tie for 4th place at this year’s Classic.  He too has broken the $1 million barrier in B.A.S.S. and is ranked 3rd in all-time winnings for B.A.S.S.; and has qualified for 27 consecutive Classics.  He has won 12 BASSMASTER events, won 4 Classics and an Angler of the Year title in 1988.  To top that off, he has won over $2 million along the various tournament trails.  He is known as a “mental man” and exerts a great deal of control over everything but the conditions.  If you asked every angler on the circuit who was their personal hero, the majority of them would claim, Rick Clunn.  

Texas has produced some mighty fine anglers in the past and it looks like we will continue to dominate the national scene with the very best fishermen.  Congratulations to all our Texas boys for a job well done and appreciated.

 

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