BassWestUSA - November/December, 2009, Page 32

His first Classic victory came on Lake Guntersville, in Alabama, where he tal- lied 59 pounds, 15 ounc- es, beating Bo Dowden. In 1977, he bested Larry Nixon on Florida’s Lake Toho by a little more than two and a half pounds with 27 pounds, 7 ounces. He then booked his third, and most impressive Classic title on the Arkansas River out of Little Rock. He would catch 75 pounds, 9 ounces and run away with the win by a margin of 25 pounds, 8 ounces over journeyman angler Greg South of Vir- ginia. His fourth Classic crown would come on Virginia’s James River in 1990, when he brought 34 pounds, 5 ounces of bass to the scales and beat Oklahoma’s Tommy Biffle by almost seven pounds. Clunn built his career around getting to the Classic, and then, in his own words, “kicking

m his o r f s r e t h g u rown da g o w t s a h n y, and two e n t r Clun o C d n a er. he , Brooke v e i g r a i d r n r a a e m g t a s fir e melissa, S f i w s i h g factor, h n t i i z i g r e n sons w e s i family is h f time o s i t h s t o a m h t e h d t i sa to make d r a h s k r o the qual- w n o s u c o and he f o t uan- q me. “i try o o t h d t e a s s o a p h p e h family as o y ings m h h t t i e r w a e e r m e i t h t y it now that k i “ ive my . g d i o a t s e l e b h a ,” n y e t ti e also be ’v i t u herish c b l , ’l d y e s e s h i t m s e e i r i’v d memo n a s e r u t n e v kids ad gs, the n i h t e l .” r t t e i l v e n r i fo hey have t y o j e h asketball, t b e g e n i y “i s a l p get from s n o s y m t a While i’ve “ . d i fun th a s e h izes me,” mories, e g r m e n h e t i t i w d m n a rovide the p o t d e i r t s e as well.” alway m o t m e h t ided they’ve prov

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their ass” in the biggest tournament of the year. While his focus on being his best in big events continues to be the stuff of lore, his overall career earned him the title of ‘Greatest Angler Ever’ as voted by the fans in a month’s long debate on ESPN in 2005. Clunn is also known for his performance in the U.S. Open, which has been a tradition in competitive bass fishing for many years. Held on Lake Mead, outside of Las Vegas, Nev. In the sum- mer, the U.S. Open has traditionally been part bass tournament, part endurance test. Along with the rigors of the environment, the U.S. Open was the first tournament in the country to offer $100,000 paydays to the winner. The fact that the payout was so high brought premier anglers from around the world, creating arguably the most competitive field in the game. He was the first angler to win the U.S. Open twice, claiming victory in the tournament in 1983, and again in 1986. His BASS career records are astonishing. In 355 tourna- ment entries since 1974, Clunn has stood in the paycheck line 247 times, meaning he has collected paychecks nearly 70-per- cent of the time he entered an event. His top finishes include 102 times in the top 10; including, 14 wins, 13 2nd place and 11 3rd place finishes. Clunn was also the Bassmaster Angler of the Year in 1988. His career earnings to date in BASS equals $2,000,488.50, an average of $5,635.18 per event. While the bulk of Clunn’s competitive career was at a time when paydays were relatively low, Clunn built a career that has him ranked as one of the high- est earning anglers in history. He currently ranks 4th on the all time BASS Career Earnings List. In a shorter time fame, his FLW Tour performance is equally as impressive. In 60 FLW Outdoors entries since 1997, Clunn has collected 39 paychecks, giving him a 65-percent success rate. His FLW tournament records show he finished in the top 10 20 times, including three victories. He has qualified for six trips to the Forrest L. Wood Cup, and has compiled career FLW earnings that total $880,000, an average of $14,666 per event. With all of his professional tournament earnings combined, Clunn has earned close to four million dollars, remarkable, when one considers the time in which the bulk of his earnings came at a time when $25,000 was a big payday. Other notable career accomplishments include winning the 1983 Red Man All American, and being inducted into both the Bass Fishing and Freshwater Fishing Halls of Fame in 2001. He was voted the Greatest Bass Angler of All Time by fishing fans in 2005 during the aforementioned ESPN poll. With all of these accolades stacked up around him, Clunn has the look of a fishing machine; someone who could seemingly enforce his will into the surrounding environment to achieve the de- sired outcome. As with anyone who endeavors to earn a living with a rod and reel, Clunn’s passion for fishing began at an early age, and his career is a product of intense devotion and focus.

the making Of the angler

“I got into the love of the outdoors in a typical way,” Clunn said. “My father, Holmes B.

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November/December 2009