Tournament Fishing's Four-Letter Word: Part 1

A three-part series look at how competitive bass fishing has changed and evolved since the 1970s

Conventional wisdom says that conventional bass tournament fishing has come a long way in the last 45 years. I'm not so sure for a lot of reasons.

Once upon a time there was a man named Roland Martin. When he came onto the scene in the 1970s, he dominated the world of tournament bass fishing like no one before or since. In fact, it's safe to say that no one will ever dominate the sport as thoroughly as he did in the early '70s.

In 1970, Martin fished his first B.A.S.S. event and finished second. He won his second tournament. In his first 25 contests, Martin won 7 times, finished second 8 times, finished in the top-10 22 times and never finished worse than 16th.

Unlike today's contests, which never top 200 competitors, Martin's earliest tournaments sometimes had fields of 200-plus and occasionally more than 300. Yet he averaged a top-three finish in the first few years of his career.

Today the pros have exclusive use of their boat and motor throughout the event and can fish wherever they please, in the early 1970s Martin had to share a boat with another pro competing for the same prize money.

To view the full article, click here.

Get Your Fish On.

Plan your next fishing and boating adventure here.

Recommended for You


Get Ready for Summer with Cordova Coolers

May 23, 2019

Memorial Day sale offers 15 percent off everything website-wide.

Other Hunting

New Gear: MidwayUSA Competition Range Bag

G&F Staff

Perfect for competition or a day at the range.

Fishing How-To

Your Guide for the Best Catfish Baits

G&F Staff

If you've been catching catfish with the same method for years, it's time to change it up and...

See More Recommendations

Popular Videos

New Optimum and Optimum TS Downriggers from Canon

From rugged reliability to smooth integration of cutting edge technology across several different platforms, OSG's Lynn Burkhead learns that there's much to like about the new Optimum and Optimum TS downriggers from Canon.

MLF BPT angler and former Classic champ Casey Ashley has been with Costa del Mar sunglasses his whole career. At ICAST 2019, he shows OSG writer Lynn Burkhead some new products and talks how to pick the right lens color for the water.

As KVD tells OSG's Lynn Burkhead, innovative Humminbird products and cutting-edge technology like that found in the new Mega 360 Imaging sonar are major reasons contributing to his unparalleled success.

See more Popular Videos

Trending Stories


Bass Pond Fishing: Catch Lunkers at Small Lakes Near You

Dan Anderson - February 13, 2018

Veteran bass anglers often dismiss urban fishing opportunities as "kid's fishing ponds," but...

Other Freshwater

3 Deadly Bait Rigs For Stripers

J.B. Kasper - April 21, 2005

The colder waters of early spring are prime times to use bait rigs for stripers.


Catfish Night & Day: How to Catch 'Em Both Ways

Terry Madewell - April 04, 2018

Catfish tend to be found in shallower water at night, but they are still active during the...

See More Stories

More News


Fla. Red Tide Forces Reg Changes for Snook, Redfish

Game & Fish Online Staff - August 31, 2018

FWC makes snook, redfish temporarily catch-and-release only in areas affected by red tide.


Mark Daniels Jr. Cashes in at Bassmaster Elite at Lake Oahe


Mark Daniels Jr. secures his first Elite Series win at Lake Oahe.


Did 'Marathon Man' Break His Own World Record?

Lynn Burkhead - September 10, 2018

Jeff Kolodzinski attempted to break his own 24-hour world record for most fish caught.

See More News

GET THE MAGAZINE Subscribe & Save

Temporary Price Reduction


Give a Gift   |   Subscriber Services


GET THE NEWSLETTER Join the List and Never Miss a Thing.