The 2014 Bassmaster Classic could be the greatest ever. I was fortunate enough to have media credentials for one of the greatest classics ever in 2011 when KVD tied the great Rick Clunn with 4 classic wins. He also shattered the weight record in a 3 day classic with 69 plus pounds. The 2011 classic was also Brandon Palaniuk’s pro debut and he did very well finishing 4th. Brandon made it to the classic by way of the Federation Nation and blew a fish whistle on stage in honor of Bryan Kerchal the only Federation Nation classic qualifier to win the classic. Yet another story line for the 2011 classic was Aaron Martens leaving his crank baits out of his boat on the second day when he needed them most. All these story lines help to shape the sport of bass fishing and make it more and more interesting for bass anglers as well as non-anglers around the world. It’s the history, and B.A.S.S. has plenty of history, that truly propels anything into greatness and I have to say competitive bass fishing has definitely entered that realm.
Having said all that was to say this. Each classic bears a little more history as well as story lines or as many like to call drama. Bass fishing has increased its drama a bit over the past several years and that drama has turned off a few folks but it has proven to grow the sport tremendously. Thankfully bass fishing drama hasn’t increased to the level of WWE or Swamp People and hopefully never will but it is the history, often compared somewhat to Nascar, that creates the drama. It’s real drama that anglers like to see and be a part of and it is the real drama and history rich stories that attract non-anglers to the sport and that can only be good for those that make their living doing it.
This years classic has its share of story lines. You have Chris Lane that now lives on Guntersville and made the classic in dramatic fashion winning the Plano Championship Chase event on Lake St. Clair. This was the last tournament of the season and Chris, being way down in the points, needed a win to return to the classic in 2014 on his home lake and he did it pulling off a dramatic final day to win. Probably the most dramatic story line in this classic would have to be Brandon Palaniuk’s DQ at the Mississippi River Rumble due to a fishery violation by culling in Minnesota waters. The oversight probably did cost Brandon $100 grand and could have cost him a classic berth as well. However; Brandon was determined to win the next event on the St. Lawrence River. Brandon won that event by more than 7 pounds despite a 2-pound penalty on day 2 for having six bass in his livewell. Brandon was down in the points and had to win to get to the this years classic and after the DQ Brandon vowed he would win the next event and he did. An open letter from Don Barone to Brandon says it all and you can read it here http://www.bassmaster.com/blog/dq-open-letter-brandon-palaniuk I printer the letter to use as motivation anytime I have a bad tournament or make a bad decision that costs me.
This article started out as my picks for the classic and really turned into an article of what the Bassmaster Classic is and means to me and many others. I remember meeting Ray Scott when I was a little boy. I was almost 5 years old and I recall standing at the holding tank for the bass and Ray asking me to get back so I didn’t hurt myself. My granddad lived on a houseboat there and I was at Percy Priest a lot in those days before moving to Lynchburg Tennessee when I was 13. I met Ray again in Louisiana during media night for the 2011 Bassmaster Classic. It was a great time mingling with other media types and where I met Don Barone as well. Ray Scott always felt that the media was the way to grow his organization and it worked as the classic is a great venue for the whole family and continuous to grow every year.
The 2014 Bassmaster Classic does have the potential to break classic records. Lake Guntersville is a great fishery and with the grass coming on the past several years is producing not only big bass but also numbers of big bass. Anybody that makes it to the Bassmaster Classic knows how to catch bass and while many think that February is a little early for bass fishing these guys know that it is a great time to catch big bass and with the numbers that Guntersville has now there is sure to be some schools of those big bass and some of these guys will find them during the 2014 Bassmaster Classic on Lake Guntersville I can guarantee that.
About The Author
Ken McBroom is a freelance outdoor writer/ photographer and active member of Hoosier Outdoor Writers. For more information please visit www.ramblingangler.com