BassWestUSA - July/August, 2009, Page 30

Legacy of a Legend

All told, in 358 professional entries, Nixon has finished in the money 247 times. The end result being that 68% of the time that Nixon’s name goes on a tournament roster, he performed well enough to collect a paycheck. If paydays were the only measuring tool, Nixon would certainly be ranked among the top athletes our sport has ever seen. How- ever, to stop at the monetary would be leaving a lot of his accom- plishments on the table. His long career has included 25 trips to the Bassmaster Clas- sic, which produced a Classic Championship on the Ohio River in 1983. His career also includes two Bassmaster Angler of the Year titles, the first in 1980, followed by a second in 1982. He finished in the money in 176 of his 260 Bassmaster entries; included in those paycheck finishes are 14 wins, 12 2nd place finishes and 82 top 10 performances. He is one of only 11 anglers

to have won both the Bassmaster Classic and Bassmaster Angler of the Year titles. In support of his accomplishments at BASS, Nixon’s FLW re- sume includes 98 tournament entries, in which he collected a pay- check 71 times. He has won three FLW events, all on the Tour level, and has made the top 10 cut 14 times. In his 11 FLW seasons he has had 10 qualifications to the Forrest L. Wood Cup. Aside from those mind boggling statistics, the one thing that truly set Nixon apart from his competition was the Bassmaster Megabucks format. Megabucks was two events in one, a qualify- ing round in which the full field competed for three days then were cut once, a fourth day in which the top 10 anglers were settled for the finals. The finals consisted of moving to a section of the lake that had been cordoned off in a series of holes over a two day pe- riod. In the finals, anglers would get 50 minutes to fish each hole be- fore having to rotate to the next one. The draw of Megabucks was that it featured one of the largest paydays i n

6-inch Creme Scoundrel Grape

7-inch Berkley Shaky Worm Green Pumpkin

Amongst fans, the media and his peers, Nixon was famous for his ability to throw a plastic worm. Most would agree that few, if any anglers could match his ability to catch bass on a plastic worm. For years, the sight of Nixon and his Texas Rigged black grape plastic worm was enough to strike fear in the opposition. “Our lakes were much more prone to flooding in the old days, so a dark purple worm was effective most of the time,” said Nixon of his old standby. “Nowadays the lakes are clearer so green pumpkin has become the standard, my number one producer is a 7-inch Berkley Powerbait Shaky Worm, I catch more fish on that now than anything.” Along with a signature technique, an anglers contemporaries, and those who follow in their footsteps are often witness to the creation of their legacy. For Nixon, his style, as well as his skill endeared him to fans, media and competitors alike. Fellow Hemphill Gang pro Harold Allen, who qualified for 15 Bassmaster Classics himself before retiring in 2005 said Nixon may be the perfect combination all of aspects of being a professional angler. “I consider Larry to be one of the first guys to combine ability, friendliness, work ethic and attitude into the full package,” Allen said. “He’s always been well liked; worked hard and never let bad situations get him down. Couple all of those attributes with the fact that he worked as a guide on Toledo Bend in its hay-day and you’ve got one of the best anglers around.” One of the other anglers to have won both the Angler of the Year and Bassmaster Classic titles along with Nixon is 2009 Bassmaster Classic Champion Skeet Reese, and he echoes Allen’s sentiments. “Rick Clunn was the reason I decided to pursue fishing as a career, but Larry Nixon was one of the guys I always looked at as one of the best,” Reese revealed. “When I look at all of his accomplishments, along with the fact that at 58-years-old, he’s still competitive, there’s no doubt in my mind he is one of the top 10 anglers of our sport; ever. He is also the best at throwing a plastic worm that we have ever seen; no one could hold a candle to him.”

Harold Allen

Skeet Reese

28

«

July/August 2009