Arkansas angler lands $100,000 in Bass Bonanza


Mar 11, 2001
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July 14, 2002

Conway man catches $100,000 fish

Clay Guinn wins Big Bass Bonanza with 6.21 fish

By KEITH STEPHENS, Special to the Log Cabin Democrat
RUSSELLVILLE -- What a difference one and a half pounds can make in tournament bass fishing.

Clay Guinn of Conway thought he had caught a nice fish in the Arkansas Ford Dealers Big Bass Bonanza, but when he weighed the fish on his personal scale it read four and a half pounds.

By the time he reached the official weigh-in site at Lake Dardanelle State Park his fish weighed 6.21 pounds and he was $100,000 richer.

"I guess I need to calibrate that scale," Guinn said.

Using a buzz bait that a friend discarded because he couldn't catch a fish with it, Guinn was the overall winner in the two-day bass tournament held July 12-13. "I'm sure glad he couldn't catch anything with it. It sure was a good thing for me," Guinn said.

His catch bettered more than 2,500 other anglers who were participating in the tournament. It is the largest amateur tournament in the United States and this year boasted a purse of $233,600 in total prize money.

Guinn was the second Conway angler in three years to win the $100,000 top prize in the Big Bass Bonanza. Steve Scherrey did it in 2000.

The tournament is held each year along the entire 308 miles of fishable Arkansas River waters. This is the second straight year that the winner has come from the Lake Dardanelle pool of the river. Last year James Quillman of Plano, Texas, won with a catch of 5.89 pounds on the lake. In 2000, Scherrey fished the Pendleton or Dumas Pool on the lower part of the river and took first place honors with a 6.76-pound bass.

Guinn was fishing with his younger brother Cal, and the two made a pact that they would split any money that they won. Little did they know, they would be splitting $100,000. "We said we would split the money down the middle and I'm holding him to it," Cal said.

This was the first big tournament that Clay had fished. "I'd been in a small tournament once before, but nothing like this," he said.

Clay caught the fish in the Big Piney Creek area of Lake Dardanelle.

"We were really far back in there around some stumps. It was near a sandy drop-off in about three feet of water. I knew I had a pretty good fish when he hit it," he explained.

Future plans for the money differed between the two brothers. Cal said he was going to pay some bills with his share. Clay said he was going to take his family on a much-deserved vacation. "I've been doing a lot of fishing lately and they deserve something in return," he said.

Another Faulkner County angler finished in the Top 25 in the tournament. Kelly Glover of Greenbrier was ninth with a 5.62-pound bass caught in the Lake Dardanelle Pool.

All but one of the Top 25 fish came from either the Dardanelle/Russellville Pool or the Pendleton/Dumas Pool.

Chris Huselton of Conway, with a 4.58-pound bass, ranked third among anglers in the Little Rock Pool and 30th overall.

Other local residents in the final overall rankings with the weight of their catch:

53. Tom Wilson of Conway (4.24); 62. Frank Coble of Conway (4.15); 74. Tim Hampton of Conway (3.99); 88. Michael Langley (3.81); 137. John Lauritzon of Conway (3.14); 145. Antonne Massery of Vilonia (3.07); 148. Rick Worm of Conway (3.05).

Arkansas Ford Dealers Big Bass Bonanza

Overall Rankings

(Pool 1 - Fort Smith, Pool 2 - Russellville, Pool 3 - Little Rock, Pool 4 - Pine Bluff, Pool 5 - Dumas)

Position Pool Angler, Home Weight

1. 2 Clay Guinn, Conway 6.21

2. 2 Jerry Short, Magazine 6.10

3. 5 Jerry Probst, Jasper, Texas 6.09

4. 2 Brent Chenowith, Russellville 6.00

5. 2 Joe Murphy, Dardanelle 5.98

6. 5 John Hardaway, Pine Bluff 5.95

7. 2 Aubry Johnson, Mount Ida 5.79

8. 5 John Kelley White, Dumas 5.71

9. 2 Kelly Glover, Greenbrier 5.62

10. 2 Mike Zachary, Plumerville 5.46

11. 5 Dick Stratton, Pine Bluff 5.39

12. 2 Richard Studensky, Pine Bluff 5.31

13. 2 David House, Cabot 5.28

14. 2 Ronnie Melton, London 5.06

15. 5 John Kelley White, Dumas 4.90

16. 5 Jerry Propst, Jasper, Texas 4.88

17. 2 Jesse Higman, Waldron 4.87

18. 2 Dennis Bean, Jessieville 4.82

19. 1 Frank Holder, Fayetteville 4.80

20. 5 Louis Crowder, Pine Bluff 4.79

21. 5 Patrick McCoy, Oil Trough 4.76

22. 2 John Higman, Waldron 4.74

23. 2 Chris Moore, Paris 4.70

24. 2 Steve Squire, Morrilton 4.70

25. 2 H.D. Daman, Danville 4.64
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