The results from this week’s Bassmaster Classic Wild Card presented by Star Tron could create a really unique Bassmaster Classic on Lake Guntersville next February.
Let’s take a look.
Putting aside the obvious Elite Series angler stories, and the fact that I’m rooting for myself and my roommate, Terry Segraves, there are two anglers that could literally change the face of things.
Arnie Lane’s one of the two.
He’s the third brother — Bobby and Chris round out the trio — of the Lane family. The Lane brothers come from a Florida-based family with, arguably, the deepest bench in our sport. Bobby and Chris fish the Elites and their father is one fine tournament angler in his own right. (Grandpa was a pretty good bass fisherman, too.)
If Arnie wins later this week, and that’s a real possibility given his Florida skills, that will put all three brothers in the Classic.
I can’t say for sure but I don’t think that’s ever happened before. If it has, I don’t remember it. What a story. What if they all made the cut on Saturday? Can you imagine three brothers battling it out for the trophy and the title of Bassmaster Classic champion on Sunday? What a weigh-in that would be!
Another guy who would make a good story if he wins is Roland Martin. He might be the greatest angler of all time. I know others have been placed in that category. Nevertheless, his inclusion is reasonable and defensible.
According to B.A.S.S. statistics, he’s won 19 times and has 94 Top 10 finishes out of 288 events. That means he finishes in the Top 10 in roughly one out of every three tournaments he enters. That’s the very definition of being a competitive angler, guys.
Along with that he has nine Toyota Bassmaster Angler of the Year titles, but has never won a Classic despite competing in 25 of them.
But Roland hasn’t fished a Bassmaster Classic since 2003. What a year it would be to see him get back into one after a decade long absence. That’s a real possibility, too. This is an angler with tons and tons of competitive experience, and there may not be an angler on the planet who has more experience on, and knowledge of, Lake Okeechobee.
There are others, as well. The two I’ve mentioned here are simply the ones who come to mind first. This is an exciting week, one that’ll determine the direction and quality of more than one career. It’s a last chance to make a good year out of a not so good year for some of us.
In many ways it’s the most import tournament of the year for us. Every professional angler fishing B.A.S.S. will admit, if he’s honest, that their season isn’t a real success unless they qualify for the Classic. This is the last chance to do that.
So anyway, when you follow the action later this week, think about what’s on the line for some of us. And think about what stories will be told in future years about how things turn out.