Seasoned pro lands big one The World Bass Fishing Championship
Aug. 31, 2001
Last week will likely persist in Judy Wong's memory longer than any other. It was filled with daily highlights that few experience, and it ended on Saturday when she was crowned World Champion of women's bass fishing. The petite lady with the long, raven hair and wide smile fought back tears, and finally let them flow, as she spoke to her many friends and competitors at the championship banquet in Alexandria, Louisiana.
The Sugarland. Texas bass fishing professional competed against 29 other anglers who had advanced to the Womens Bass Fishing Association Classic World Championship. And she ran away with the crown by weighing in a stunning 42.53 pounds of bass. Her 14 fish, one short of a three-day limit, outweighed the second place catch by 13.32 pounds and was over 23 pounds more than the third best catch for the Red River tournament.
Sheri Glasgow of Muskogee, Oklahoma, who had led the first day with Wong in second place, landed 29.21 pounds of bass to claim second place. Glasgow fished well, boating some 10 pounds more than third place finisher Shelley Perry of Hurricane, West Virginia.
But this would be Judy Wong's day. The Texas professional angler has been a perennial contender, making it to the annual Classic 10 times previously and finishing in the top 10 in national tournaments 11 times. But, surprisingly she had never won a single national tournament. She is the John Elway of ladies bass fishing, winning the big one at last after being one of the best throughout an illustrious career that began in 1977.
Wong dropped out of competitive fishing some 10 years in the 1980's to spend time raising her son, Scott. Returning in 1989, she became a nationally recognized pro with the respect and admiration of her peers.
At last Saturday's weigh-in at the Riverside Convention Center in Alexandria, she told the huge crowd that it would be useless for her to reveal the oxbow on the Red River from which she took the winning string. "I think I caught them all," she joked.
Her lures? She located the suspended bass in 9 feet of water with a crankbait during practice days. The chartreuse and blue Strike King #3 series crankbait fooled most of her winning catch. On the second day she found a huge bluegill in her livewell that had been regurgitated by one of the big bass. She tied a chartreuse and orange skirt onto a3/4 ounce spinnerbait fitted with a #41/2 gold willow blade and a small silver Colorado blade. She finished out her overwhelming take by alternating these two lures in a very small spot where the fish were holding.
Good luck reel
A representative of one of Judy's sponsors, Zebco/Quantum, called her just before she departed home for the Classic and shipped her a new reel a Quantum PT the same model reel with which Kevin Van Dam had just won the 2001 Bassmasters Classic in New Orleans. Judy used the reel to claim the equally prestigious WBFA World title.
The gracious lady praised her husband, Glenn, for supporting her through many years of pursuing her dream. "If I came home from a tournament in which I didn't do well, he would have a banner put up for me just as if I had won," she noted with obvious humility and gratitude.
The world title indeed was Judy's most aspiring dream. "And a part of my dream was if I finally won a tournament, I would have a dinner for the writers and others who have helped me." Today, she is planning the details of that dinner. A dinner that will celebrate not only her first tournament win, but a win in the biggest tournament of them all.