We now know where the 2013 Bassmaster Classic will be held, Grand Lake o’ the Cherokees in Oklahoma. I have to say I’m excited. It’s a challenging lake that’ll test our skills and make us work, especially in February when the water and the air are cold. That’s exactly the way I like it.
I say “our” and “us” because I’m part of the family, not because I think it’s a given that I’ll be there. That’s my goal, of course, but it’s not for certain. You have to earn every Classic appearance in this business by catching fish from lots of different kinds of water over a period of months. And you only have that opportunity if you stay healthy. Injuries, accidents and illness can put you out of the running in a New York minute, and through no fault of your own.
Nevertheless, just thinking about the challenge gets me all pumped up. If I make it, this will be my kind of championship event. I know that some of you like the big shootouts where nearly every angler has a limit of giant bass, the weights go through the roof and the pictures are extraordinary. As for me, however, I want it tough. In my opinion, that makes for a better test of skill.
The 2013 Classic won’t be one in which catching 15 heavyweights makes for a win, and it won’t be about catching fish after fish on every cast. This one will be claimed by the man or woman who can bear down under tough conditions and catch five good keepers every day. Only the very best anglers — culled from a group of the very best — will launch on Sunday. Fewer still will have a shot at the trophy.
As I say that I realize that the cold weather can create issues for both the anglers and the fans. I don’t want to launch my boat when it’s below freezing, and I don’t necessarily enjoy fishing in multiple layers of cloths. My fingers get numb and hurt just like everyone else’s. But this is bass fishing at its highest level. Being tough is part of the game. We deal with what’s there.
Grand Lake is a good venue choice for a Classic like this, too. There’s a good population of bass in it and it’s big enough for us to fish without banging rails and sharing water. Add to that the fact that it’s deep and rocky which will give us plenty of opportunity to put together a winning pattern, or maybe find the winning spot, and you have the makings of one heck of a good Classic.
What I’m saying is that cold is cool. I can’t wait.
OK, that’s enough about 2013. I need to get going and start practicing for 2012. Doing well (read: winning) on the Red River is more important to me right now. I’ll worry more about Grand Lake when the time comes.