Horton Hammers the Record
88 pounds, 10 ounces Sets New Standard in Bass-Fishing Competition
By Joel Shangle
July 18, 2017
Six casts. Twelve minutes. More than 21 pounds of East Texas largemouth.
Just that fleeting glimpse of Alabama pro Timmy Horton’s performance in Elimination Round 2 of the MLF General Tire World Championship seems impressive enough. But add those 21 pounds to the rest of Horton’s day on 700-acre Lake Naconiche, and you have a new single-day weight record that redefines the word “success” in tournament bass fishing.
In front of the watchful eyes of the TV cameras, Horton racked up an astounding 88 pounds, 10 ounces on 35 fish during Elimination Round competition versus Aaron Martens, Edwin Evers, Mark Davis, Bobby Lane and Boyd Duckett. The soft-spoken Alabamian’s 7 ½-hour flurry raised the standard previously set by Martens (88-0 on Pokegama Lake, Minn., in 2016) and Kevin VanDam (82-7 on Grand Lake, Mich., in 2013).
“It was just an amazing day,” Horton deadpanned after his record-breaking day. “I mean … 88 pounds.”
It’s a number that’s nearly impossible to wrap your head around, especially when presented in the context of a traditional one-day bass competition, where a 30-plus-pound day is a headline generator, and a handful of individual big fish are the Holy Grail difference-makers.
From a humble beginning
Horton’s biggest fish that day at Naconiche was 3-13 (second-smallest big fish of the round), his average weight was 2-7, and his 35-fish tally was the most of the six anglers. But that cursory glance at his numbers only begins to tell the story.
Sitting at the ramp at Lake Naconiche Park before competition started that morning, Horton had humble hopes for the day. He entered the round in last place in his six-angler group after a disappointing nine-fish Shotgun Round two days prior, trailing leader Ducket by 31 pounds, 8 ounces, and lagging behind Lane by nearly 30 pounds for the Top 3 spot that would allow him to move on to the Sudden Death round.
Virtually impossible numbers under any other competition format.
“We’re just going to have fun with it today,” Horton admitted as he checked his tackle. “This lake is full of fish, it’s a very fun lake to fish. I’m just amped up today to have fun.”
Oh, but what fun he had: Horton recorded five of the first 10 legal fish of the day over a 20-minute span (12-9) to start Period 1, caught fire again later in the period with a 10-fish, 45-minute flurry that rang up SCORETRACKER LIVE! to the tune of just over 27 additional pounds, and then put an exclamation point on the day with the aforementioned six-cast, 21-pound flurry midway through Period Three.
Just like that, the 2000 Bassmaster Elite Series Rookie of the Year had completed a one-day, worst-to-first comeback, catapulted himself into the Sudden Death Round, and eclipsed two of the most successful bass anglers in the history of the sport.
And just as VanDam had demonstrated in his 39-fish Summit Cup smallmouth clinic in Michigan and Martens highlighted in his 37-fish Summit Cup record-breaker in Minnesota, Horton did it by fishing hard under a format that rewards consistent fish-catching over the occasional big fish.
“When (MLF officials) notified me (on the water) that I was within reach of the all-time record … when you think about the competitors at Major League fishing and the places we’ve been, that overwhelmed me for a minute, that’s pretty cool,” Horton said. “It gives me chill bumps.”
NOTES: To date, there have been 31 30-plus-fish single-day performances in MLF history … MLF anglers have racked up 16 50-plus-pound days since the first event in 2012.