In case you're wondering, the coldest day in Bassmaster Classic history was a tie between Day 3 of the 2009 Classic in Shreveport, La., and Day 1 of the 2010 Classic on Lay Lake in Ala. Both mornings started at 28 degrees. Only six Classic days have dipped below freezing. Do northern anglers have an advantage in the cold? Maybe ... maybe not. Skeet Reese -- of California -- won in 2009 and Kevin VanDam -- Michigan -- took home the trophy in 2010. As long as they can launch their boats, most of these guys can catch 'em in just about any weather. That is, as long as they can find them. The extended forecast for this week calls for a low of 21 on Friday (Day 1). If it's right (and those predictions are usually a lot closer than we give them credit for), it'll be the coldest day in Classic history by a wide margin.
My boat driver Steve Meador and I sat down on Edwin Evers in the lighthouse point area. He circled his boat a number of times as he crossed over the point likely graphing the area. He entered into a small cove and is lobbing a jerkbait, most likely a Megabass 110, due to his new sponsorship with the Japanese luremaker. The goal for today? “Find as many good fish as I can.”
Snow is falling quite steadily here in Tulsa, Rooftops quickly turning white. As someone from Alabama, I'm a bit surprised no one is running to the store to buy all the milk and bread.
Here's a look at the Tulsa Convention Center (where the Expo will take place) from my room.
32 degrees as we begin the practice day.
Jason Quinn may have the hardware, but for several years Randy Howell has had the most blinged out boats with strips of blue LED lights. This year Jeremy Starks matched him with green strips and even KVD was outfitted in single red lights. "We need to hook him up with some brighter strips," Howell said of the four-time Classic champ. "He's definitely cool enough for them. He needs to be lit up better so we can follow him."
It's substantially colder at the ramp than it was at the hotel in Tulsa. Overstreet's taunting of the weatherman has come back to haunt us. Fortunately tournament director Trip Weldon made the executive decision to have everyone to come in an hour early. That may limit some competitors' practice plans, but if they don't have it figured out yet it may be too late. Looking forward to some heat in the truck and a hot cup of coffee.
Pre-tournament favorite Jason Christie is conspicuous in his Rayovac-wrapped boat, but don't expect him to play possum today. "I'll definitely be checking stuff out," he said. "I'm not going to be like Tommy Biffle and mow my grass."
He said he'll check out key areas looking for "one little bitty cast on one little bitty stretch:" he claimed that the off-colored water reduced the local advantage-- I'd like 3 feet of visibility and I can barely see the lower unit on my trolling motor."
After launching his boat this morning, Brent Chapman called over friend and fellow competitor Alton Jones: "Hey Alton, can I get a little bit of help." ,Jones motored over. "You'd think this was my first rodeo,&,p.quot; Chapman continued. "I left my transom saver on."
Jones helped him to get it off, then offered Chapman some words of advice: "If you ever win Angler of the Year, maybe you'll figure it all out."
Seems that even stars get a few jitters at the Classic.
Overstreet and I had planned to meet in the lobby at 4:30 for the drive to the lake. Then we changed that to 4:15. By 4:05 we were both there, ready to rock and roll. Walking out into the 37 degree air, he commented "this isn't bad at all." I'm happy he's punctual but not particularly thrilled that he taunted the weather gods.
Covering a Classic leads to obscene wake-up times, but you know what they say about the early bird … they miss out on sleep.
The Tulsa-to-Grove morning grind puts it even earlier this year. Manager of tournament coverage Steve Bowman has a 4 a.m. departure time from our downtown Tulsa hotel. He’s responsible for getting emcee Dave Mercer, who is needed at the Wolf Creek launch site to do the Classic dress rehearsal, there by 6 a.m.
The rest of the crew can sleep in ... another whole hour. Woohoo. We plan to meet up at 5 a.m. to make the 90-mile drive so our teams can be on the water by the launch time of 7 a.m.
James Overstreet needs to get there a bit earlier to do the gallery, then he and Pete Robbins will head out onto Grand Lake to follow the competitors. Expect blogs, Basscams and photos from our three teams on the water.
David Hunter Jones will do double duty with a camera and his blog-ready computer, while Darren Jacobson and I will team up with photos and blogs.
We caught a small break as the wintry mix forecast for Tulsa shouldn’t affect our morning commute. The Weather Channel said it could hit Tulsa around 8 a.m. as snow. As for Grove, the 7 a.m. temps are anticipated to be 28 degrees (Feels like 20) and the snow should hold off until 10 a.m.
The system is being called Winter Storm Q, and just a short distance north of us there are 12 to 18 inches of snow forecast in the Western section of Kansas.
It won’t be pretty, but it could be worse. Like it’s been said, this will be a Classic of mental fortitude … the anglers will have to pretty tough, too.
PS: Anybody up yet? How about our fine servicemen overseas? Comment below if you'd like to see anything in particular.
Bad things are coming our way.