February 15, 2019

Rick Clunn Proves Old Farts Are Still Kick Ass Anglers

Rick Clunn eats millenials for breakfast on the world's most elite tournament trail. Read on to learn how he pulls it off at the ripe young age of seventy two.


No, that is not a typo. 

Seventy-two, as in 72. Seven. Two.

And yes, this is about bass fishing, not speckled trout or redfish.

So, take a deep breath, shut the lid on your bucket of live shrimp, put down the spinning combo and I'll explain why you need to learn about the Chuck Norris of fishing.

Rick Clunn & Bass Fishing Set The Standard

The most popular and cutting-edge fishing that exists is, without a shadow of doubt, recreational bass angling.

This is because bass are easily accessible and are the gamest, most discerning fish available to bite a line.

Learn how to consistently catch bass from shallow swamps to deep reservoirs and you'd be one hell of an angler.

But, if you could do that on demand, in a competitive tournament environment, well...that's a whole other ball game.

And that's a ball game Rick Clunn has been playing for a long time now. 

Who is Rick Clunn?

Born during the Cretaceous Period (aka 1946), Rick Clunn got to witness the invention of fire and, soon afterwards, the beginning of big-money bass tournaments.

In a nutshell, Rick Clunn became a professional angler who has been jacking bass in the face since before the Bee Gees were stayin' alive.

Rick Clunn World

Why is he such a badass?

Because he won the Super Bowl of bass fishing not once...

...not twice...

...but four times.

Two of those Bassmaster Classic wins were back to back, in '76 and '77, the same time you were conceived in the back of an Oldsmobile Omega with Night Fever playing on the radio.

bee gees

Attention millenials, this is called "album art" and was once painted on a primitive vinyl disc containing "music".

But those days were just the beginning (not for you, but for Clunn) as he went on to seize the Classic in 1984, named Angler of the Year in 1988, won the Classic again in 1990 and eventually inducted into the Bass Fishing Hall of Fame in 2001.

He Didn't Stop There

Not satisfied with having lived the best years any human being could ask for, good ol' Rick went on to outlive two thirds of the Bee Gees, your dad's Omega and the concept of anything competitive being a young man's game.

Even now in 2019, he is still seen winning arm wrestling matches in local watering holes (rumor claims Over The Top was based on Clunn's late-night exploits) and didn't shed a tear as he stomped "those damn 40 year old kids" in last week's Power-Pole Bassmaster Elite at St. Johns River.

Let's Put This Into Perspective

I'm getting the vibe everyone may not be following me, so let's be clear.

Rick Clunn, a seventy-two year old geezer...

  • Drove 15 hours from his home to Palatka, FL
  • Pre-fished for three days
  • Spent the next four days competing
  • Kicked the dogsh*t out of everyone
  • Drove 7 hours to Lake Lanier to do it all over again

Most people whimper over their two hour drive to Hopedale to catch fish for fun, only to tuck tail and run at the first sign of a grind.

And those young whipper snappers could be Rick Clunn's grandkids.

What We Can Learn From The Original GOAT

There's much we can learn from the first angler reckoned the "Greatest Of All Time":

1. Take Care Of Your Body

While most view fishing trips as a leisurely pastime, the kind of fishing Rick Clunn does requires stamina and discipline. 

Most anglers cannot be on their feet and make 1,000 precision casts in a day for an entire week without throwing in the towel, but Clunn is able to pull it off because he practiced martial arts and physical fitness at a young age.

That's why we will never see him on a Life Alert commercial and, even if we do, we'll know he's faking.

Too Young For Life Alert

2. Be Open Minded

Believe it or not, there are still inshore anglers who cry, scream, whine and moan when the subject of casting tackle arises.

It's okay to not know how to do something, but intentionally dismissing an angling skill as being stupid is a fool's errand.

Do you think Rick had to adapt to the ever-evolving fishing tackle and electronics available to his competition?

Yes, he did.

3. Fishing Is Purely Mental

Mental strength is the greatest strength one can have.

Be mentally strong and everything else will follow.

make you stronger

That very fact could be one reason you love fishing so much, because every day is a new challenge.

How many times have you caught fish because you refused to give up and just had to hit a few more spots?

How often does Clunn think "my hip is killing me" or "where are my reading glasses" or "why do I pee a lot at 3am?"

Surely he does, as most in their 70s do, but the difference is that he sucks it up and drives on.

4. Your Best Days Are Not Behind You

It's not too late to kick ass like Clunn.

Throwing in the towel and saying "I can't" is a bad attitude whether you're 21 or 51. 

Are you breathing? Great, you can still set and achieve goals.

Clunn does that in spades.

time waits for rick clunn

It's Time To Launch The Boat

Rick Clunn is such an inspiration for me, because I love fishing and want to keep doing it as long as I can.

I'm sure you do, too.

Now, I don't need to win bass tournaments to be happy, but being healthy enough to cast a line and work a jig is more than enough, right?

On that note, I hope you find this tidbit of news gratifying and, regardless of your age, are motivated to hit the water and give the fish hell!

Tight lines, y'all.

Captain Devin

About the Author

Devin is a former fishing guide and lifelong inshore angler. He founded Louisiana Fishing Blog in 2012 to share his ideas as a charter captain and still writes in it today. Since then he's created a fishing university — LAFB Elite — where he teaches inshore anglers how to safely navigate Louisiana's coast and catch more fish.

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