Rick Clunn Enjoys a Phenomenal Day of Bass Fishing

Rick Clunn’s Intuitive Bass Fishing

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Rick Clunn Learns His Weight of St. John River Tournament Bass

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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.

According to Rick Clunn, “BASS has a device that enables interested people to watch the last day of their tournaments on the internet and see the score of each angler, the bass he’s catching, and an estimate of what an angler’s bass will weigh before the competitors come to the scales. However, the participating angler can’t see BASSTrakk (www.bassmaster.com/basstrakk) until the tournament’s over. At the end of the day on the St. John’s River, after checking in my bass I looked at BASSTrakk to see where I was in the standings. I really thought that Chris Johnson from Canada would’ve been winning the tournament, but on BASSTrakk, Mark Menendez was in the lead, and I was second. I thought, ‘Wow, I’ve come from eighth place to second place.’ BASSTrakk showed that Menendez had 31 pounds and some change, and it showed me having 32 pounds and some change. If those weights were right, Menendez might beat me by 6 or 7 ounces overall, but Menendez had guessed that his bass would weigh more than they did, I learned later.”

Because most bass fishermen rarely (if ever) catch a 9 pound+ bass, guessing the weight of a bass that size results in an angler easily overestimating or underestimating the weight of the fish. Clunn always tries to underestimate the weight of his fish, instead of being embarrassed at the weighing stand by guessing more than he thought he had.

“Once you’ve got a 9-pounder, you easily can overestimate or underestimate the weight,” Clunn explains. “Mark’s fish for the day weighed in at about 25 pounds, and I thought that Chris Johnson might’ve under-guessed his bass’ weight at 20–25 pounds. So, I still believed that Johnson was going to leap-frog Menendez and me and win the tournament.” Another problem with over-guessing the weight of your fish is that most of the anglers’ families will come to the weigh-in on the last day of the tournament. If the angler over-guesses his fish and thinks he’s won, then that’s a huge let-down for his family once he doesn’t. “That’s the reason I always try to under-guess the actual weight of the bass I have in my livewell,” Clunn says.

When Clunn went to the scales, Menendez was the leader. Clunn put his bass on the scales and weighed in 34 pounds, 14 ounces for that day of fishing for a total weight of 98.11 pounds for the tournament. So, he didn’t make the Century Club. However, he did win the tournament, earned $100,000 and tallied up his 16th win on the Bassmaster circuit. This 72-year-old tournament fisherman had fished his 452nd tournament on the BASS circuit, had had 32 Classic appearances, had won four Bassmaster Classics, had finished in the money 291 times and had caught a total of 12,553.1 pounds of bass.

Clunn will be 73 in 2020. When asked what Clunn thought about being 72-years old and winning $100,000, his response was, “The crowd at the weigh-in reminded me about my age. We have many young anglers participating in the Bassmaster Elite Series, including one young man, Patrick Walters. He’s come up through the college ranks and has been a national champion in the College Series. These young people are great anglers. I was sitting on stage in the hot seat in first place, and Dave Mercer, the announcer for BASS, started walking up to the stage to weigh-in Walters’ fish. Mercer said, ‘Patrick Walters is a great angler, and his parents weren’t even dating when Rick Clunn started tournament fishing!’ The crowd roared with laughter. I started tournament fishing in March, 1974.”

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. Phillips’ book, “How to Win a Bass Tournament,” available in Kindle and print at http://amzn.to/Wkbyxk.

Tomorrow: Rick Clunn’s Intuitive Bass Fishing

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