Classic records come and go -- biggest bass, heaviest daily catch, etc. -- and Grand seemed poised to make a run at a few of them in 2013. Though heaviest bass (Preston Clark's 11-10 from 2006) was out of reach and heaviest total weight in the five-bass- limit era (KVD's 69-11 in 2011) seems unlikely, I thought Grand had a shot at heaviest average bag. The current record is 12.43 pounds per angler day set in 2009 on the Red River. Now I'm not so sure that Grand can make a run at it. The bass are probably here in the quality and numbers to do it, but if it keeps getting colder and the weather continues to deterioriate, I doubt that record's in jeopardy.
Several pros were late arrivals for the 7 a.m. CT take-off. The Lane brothers pulled up a few minutes after the official start. They'd taken the long route to get to the Wolf Creek launch site.
"I didn't get lost; the GPS got lost," explained Bobby Lane.
When asked if Wednesday's 30-degree weather had dampened his enthusiasm for a non-required day on Grand Lake, Chis Lane said, "That, and this is practice day."
As former NBA star Allen Iverson famously once said, "I mean listen, we're sitting here talking about practice, not a game, not a game, not a game, but we're talking about practice."
When asked if he was mentally engaged for the day, Chris Lane said, with no emotion, "Yeah, I want to go out there."
Brother Bobby busted out laughing, adding, "He doesn't sound very enthusiastic, does he?"
On a less humorous note, Bassmaster College Series champion Matt Lee was also late for take-off.
"I just called to check on him," said College Series Director Hank Weldon. "I figured the college kid had overslept."
Weldon discovered it was a bit more serious than that. Lee is diabetic, Weldon said, and he'd awakened with a very low blood sugar level. But Lee had remedied that and was on his way to the lake.
Again, it should be made clear, there's no penalty for a late arrival on the official practice day. You don't have to practice at all, if you so desire. Contestants are limited only by their official take-off and check-in times.
David Walker: "I've got so many layers of Cabela's Guidewear on, Louis Vuitton couldn't afford this outfit."
We sat down on Randy Howell as the snow is piling up in Meador’s Ranger. Howell caught a 6-pounder earlier – yes, he caught it – but he’s fishing with five of the six trebles of his jerkbait bent in.
“I just want them to pull on it a little bit so I can get a sense of how big it is,” he said. At the moment he’s doing legitimate practice, trying to find new water.
“I’ve got two spots at either end of the lake, and I’m looking for something in-between now,” he said. Howell’s observer Mike Drisko captured Howell’s fish.
As we ran through increasingly heavy snow looking for more boats, we came across two boats pleasure fishing. Begs the question....why would anyone be out here for less than a half million bucks?
There were many adventures on the drive back from Grove to Tulsa, including a stop for a snowball fight, led by Nanook of the North, Canadian Dave Mercer. He actually likes this weather. But Steve Bowman guided Mercer, Jim Sexton and me safely to our hotel, finally.
On the way back, Classic competitor Jason Quinn passed us at one point with his boat in tow. It was 9:30, and Quinn had concluded a very short practice day on Grand Lake.
"I'm from South Carolina," said Quinn. "I ain't used to this stuff."
The question now remains: How many more of the 53 Classic competitors have fled Grand Lake?
Surely, Russ Lane is long gone. He had to drag himself out there for the 7 a.m. takeoff.
"I've got pneumonia, and I had a reaction to the medicine they gave me," said Lane, as he readied his tackle. "I'm 40 years old. I don't know how many of these I'll get to fish. They'll have to carry me out of here."
Even before it started snowing, Lane knew his day would be short.
"I've got a few things I want to check out," he said. "Then I'm going to get off the water. I think I've got a pretty good plan (for the tournament)."
To give you an idea of what is taking place around our anglers, check out this map courtesy of The Weather Channel.
The red marker is Tulsa, Okla. All of the blue is snow, covering everything around Tulsa for a minimum of 150 miles, including Grove, Okla., and Grand Lake.
We're watching KVD now. Unlike some of the others, his body language is the same as it would be if it was 50, 70 or 90 degrees. It's snowing and he's a model of comfort, making extra-long casts.
Snow is starting to accumulate at the Bassmaster Classic service yard near the BOK Center in Tulsa, Okla., and it's still coming down.