LAKE MONTGOMERY, Ala. Paul Elias of Laurel, Miss., caught a three-day haul of 32 pounds, 8 ounces to win the Bassmaster Classic.
Aside from winning the crown, Elias also earned the top prize paycheck of $40,000.
Elias and Bo Dowden had independently discovered a log-studded sandbar during practice. Both camped on the spot, fishing opposite ends of the submerged river bar.
Elias' patented "kneel-and-reel" technique emerged as the most effective. He fished deep running crankbaits near the bottom, holding his rod with all but the handle under the water, to force the diving plugs even deeper.
• Ray Scott frequently joked that the bearded Paul Elias was a model for Smith Brothers Cough Drops.
• Elias, a building contractor at the time, fished the tournament trail in 1981 without any major financial sponsorships.
• 1981-1982 marked the first time that the Classic would be held on the same waters two years in a row.
Top 6 finishers
1. Paul Elias Laurel, Miss. 32-08
2. Jack Chancellor Phenix City, Ala. 24-08
3. Bo Dowden Natchitoches, La. 23-03
4. Ronnie Young Wichita Falls, Texas 22-14
5. Bill Ward Amsterdam, Mo. 21-08
6. Jack Westberry Tampa, Fla. 19-00