By B.A.S.S. Communications Staff
Bassmaster’s first “Million Dollar Man,” Larry Nixon of Bee Branch, Ark., is stepping away from the Bassmaster Elite Series in 2024. The 73-year-old Nixon decided at the end of the 2023 season that his health would not allow him to compete at his usual high standard.
“The Elite Series grind is more than most people could ever imagine,” said Nixon. “The elements of professional bass fishing are some of the toughest things in all of sports. Over the course of my career I’ve worn out two thumbs, a shoulder, a heart, a knee and an elbow due to competitive repetition.
“My health is OK, but, believe me, everything is just worn out. It’s become really difficult to just do normal things like tie knots and other little things.”
Nixon’s return to the Bassmaster stage in 2023 was much anticipated by the fans of the sport, the anglers and Nixon himself.
“Coming back to B.A.S.S. was one of the highest points of my career,” he said. “Year 46 – or whatever year this is – was absolutely fantastic. The fans at B.A.S.S. are unlike anything else in the sport. It was honestly like I never left.
“The camaraderie, the kids (and) the other Elite competitors all made me smile a lot this year because of the reception I got all year.”
With 14 B.A.S.S. wins and over $1.66 million in career earnings, Nixon cemented his legacy as one of the all-time greats in professional bass fishing. He also won four times and collected nearly $2 million on the FLW Tour. He was inducted into the Bass Fishing Hall of Fame as part of its inaugural 2001 class.
Nixon’s consistency on the trail has been unmatched. For 12 seasons between 1977 and 1988, Nixon never ranked lower than 8th in the Angler of the Year points standings. For nine consecutive years – 1979-1987 – he was in the Top 5, with AOY titles coming in 1980 and 1982. In addition to winning the 1983 Bassmaster Classic on the Ohio River, the 25-time Classic qualifier finished in the Top 10 an astounding eight times.
In any sport, the athletes who walk away on their own terms are the most fortunate, and they are even more fortunate when they have accomplished as much as Nixon has over his legendary career.
“There is absolutely nothing in this world that I would trade for my career in professional tournament fishing,” said Nixon. “This entire journey – from being in Bassmaster Magazine for exposure, to being on television on TNN, to where the sport is today – has been truly amazing.
“I’ve had the chance to educate fans and anglers across every state in the United States except for one in my time and (have) also been to Japan three times, which is really cool to say.”
While this may be the end of Nixon’s career fishing the Elite Series, he plans to take this time to relax and fish more with friends.