CLASSIC CHAMP STRIDES WITH GIANTS
Brady, Gretzky, Ford, Jordan, Woods, Foyt, Earnhardt, Clunn. Yes, it's that big. Four time Bassmaster Classic Champion- 1976 (Guntersville), 1977 (Kissemmee Chain), 1984 (Arkansas River), and 1990 (James River). Rick Clunn was the first, to achieve this pinnacle (since equalled by KVD) and like the other sports champs he walks among the truly great in sports. As one of the best anglers of all time, Clunn's credentials are impressive. He had over 100 Top 10's, winning seventeen of those. He won the B.A.S.S. U.S. Open Bass fishing tournament at Lake Mead, Nevada in 1983 and 1986; won the 1988 B.A.S.S. Angler of the Year; earned a Classic berth 28 consecutive years, was the1985 Redman All-American Champion, the 1983 and1986 U.S. Open Champion, won FLW events at Ross Barnett in 1997, Beaver Lake in 2000 and Pickwick in 2000. In 2001 he was B.A.S.S. Mega-Bucks Champion, the
same year he was inducted into the Bass Fishing and Freshwater Fishing Halls of Fame. Clunn won the 2002 B.A.S.S. Central Open on Lake Sam Rayburn and he twice earned the distinction of being the oldest angler to win an Elite Blue Trophy both on the St. John River.
Clunn was born near Fresno California, but moved to Texas with his family at a young age. He now resides in Missouri. Early on, Clunn realized that to have a career in professional bass fishing, he needed to win the Classic. So he developed his tournament approach to fit that model. The Classic was a mystery event. The qualifiers met at an airport and were flown to the destination with no hint as to where they were going. They had just one day of practice then the
competition began. To prepare himself for that format, Clunn approached regular events “cold,” using only information that he gleaned during practice, thereby fishing every tournament like it was a Classic.
He began competitive fishing regional tournaments as a member of the Pasadena Bass Club, but the growing national bass scene tempted him and he decided to leave a comfortable job working as a computer programmer for Exxon in order to chase his dreams. In 1974 he finished 24th in his first Bassmaster tournament on Sam Rayburn, earning $275. He guided on Lake Conroe to hone his skills but his bank account dwindled. He fished both the 1974 and 1975 Classics but did not break through financially until he won his first Classic trophy.
When Clunn won his third Classic on the Arkansas River, he blew away the field with a three-day catch of 75-9 beating his nearest competitor by over 25 pounds. As he stood on the stage,
flanked by future Presidents George H.W. Bush and Bill Clinton, he noted that “Only in America can we follow our dream of chasing little green fish." His most intense win came in 1990 when he mounted a furious final-day charge using crankbaits of his own design. Clunn has repeatedly been at the forefront of tackle development. To this day he often is seen using his own designed spinner baits on the Elite trail.