Editor’s Note: Rick Clunn of Ava, Missouri, has won 4 Bassmasters (www.bassmaster.com) Classics (1976, 1977, 1984, and 1990) and has 16 Bassmaster tournament wins, besides national wins on several other bass-fishing tournament circuits. Rick Clunn has been a consummate student of bass and knows bass fishing. Years ago, Rick Clunn told me that he believed in the Oriental philosophy about age – that older people should be revered for their wisdom. Clunn says, “In Oriental cultures, as people get older, they’re seen more and have perfected their crafts. That’s why at 72, I believe my best days of bass fishing are in front of me.” At the Bassmaster’s Elite Tournament on the St. John’s River on February 7-10, 2019, Rick Clunn made the cut to the top 10 who would fish on the last day of the tournament for the championship. That was the good news. However, he’d finished in 8th place and was 11 pounds behind the 1st place finisher at the beginning of the day.
“I can’t remember all the tournaments I’ve won, but when you’re the leader going into the last day, you have a lot of pressure on yourself – particularly mental pressure trying not to mess up when you’ve got a good lead in a tournament,” Rick Clunn reports. “When you’re in the top 10, staying aggressive is hard.”
Before Clunn went out to fish the final day, Dave Mercer, the announcer for the Bassmaster TV show and events, came up to Clunn and asked, “What do you think?” With a half-smile on his face, Clunn replied with “Well, if I catch two, 10-pounders right off the bat, I may have a chance to win this tournament.” Although he was just joking, knowing he was 11 pounds behind, he realized he’d have to catch 100 pounds of bass in this 3-day tournament probably to win. “At only one time in my career had I ever weighed in 20 fish that totaled 100 pounds,” Clunn explains. “That put me into the Century Club, a group of anglers who had caught 100 pounds of bass in a tournament. Honestly I wasn’t sure even 100 pounds of bass would win this tournament.”
The leader had been averaging 25 – 28 pounds of bass per day. Clunn thought on the final day he might catch that many and explained all this to let the spectators know that he really didn’t have a chance to win the tournament. But Clunn recalled later that the last day of the St. John’s River tournament was the most-enjoyable day of bass fishing he’d ever had. The first fish Clunn caught that morning was a 5-pounder, the second bass was a 6-1/2-pounder, and then he caught several, 4-pound bass. In most tournaments, a 5-, a 6-1/2 and three, 4-pounders, would have caused him to win.
For more information on Rick Clunn, go to his Facebook page: (www.facebook.com/rick.clunn)
To learn more about bass fishing, check out John E. Phillip’s book, “Catch the Most and Biggest Bass in any Lake: 18 Pro Fishermen’s Best Tactics,” available in Kindle, print and Audible at http://amzn.to/Xd7qez.
Tomorrow: Rick Clunn Enjoys a Phenomenal Day of Bass Fishing