LAKE LOGAN MARTIN, Ala. Dion Hibdon's final day tally of 11 pounds, 12 ounces was enough to give him a 1-ounce victory over BASS Federation angler Dalton Bobo.
Hibdon brought in 15 bass weighing 34-13, which was enough to elevate him to champion and earn him $101,000.
Hibdon won by skipping a soft plastic skirted grub made by Luck "E" Strike and named "Dion's Secret 20-25 feet under boat docks.
Feisty spotted bass frequently picked it up off the bottom in about 10-12 feet of water. He fished it on a 1/4-ounce leadhead of his own design and 14-pound-test line.
The bait combo is compact and light enough for long-distance skipping by an expert like Hibdon. He also used a medium/heavy action 6-foot, 3-inch Daiwa rod designed by his father just for this type of fishing.
It was the closest finish in the 27-year history of the Bassmaster Classic, and as fate would have it, the final result hinged on lost fish.
Bobo brought in one dead bass and was penalized 4 ounces: third-place finisher David Fritts came up 7 ounces short after a 3 1/2-pounder jumped free. Ron Shuffield, who finished fourth with 33-15, lost a 2 1/2-pounder at the boat; and fifth place Denny Brauer lost a 4-pounder the first day to finish with 33-3.
• Since his father Guido was a professional angler with experience on Lake Logan Martin, Dion Hibdon was not permitted to fish with his father in practice. Instead, he practiced with his mother, Stella, who out-fished him every day of the practice period.
• With Dion's victory, the Hibdon's became the first ever father-and-son Classic champions. Dion's father Guido won the 1988 Classic.
• The 1997 Classic was the closest ever. First and second place were separated by a single ounce.
Top 6 finishers
1. Dion Hibdon Stover, Mo. 34-13
2. Dalton Bobo Northport, Ala. 34-12
3. David Fritts Lexington, N.C. 34-06
4. Ron Shuffield Bismarck, Ark. 33-15
5. Denny Brauer Camdenton, Mo. 33-03
6. Woo Daves Spring Grove, Va. 32-06