The hottest topic of today's Classic angler briefing was the new edition of BASSTrakk we are planning to launch this week. The new version of BASSTrakk includes a map where the public can see where anglers are fishing-- not exact GPS locations, but the general vicinity.
The anglers were fine with the public seeing the BASSTrakk map. They agree this will generate more interest in the sport. But when Tournament Director Trip Weldon mentioned that competing anglers would be able to look at the BASSTrakk map during competition, several anglers voiced dissenting opinions.
The angler viewpoint, at least the ones who spoke up, felt it would be unfair for the competitors to view everyone's location. Several said that if a guy finds a great spot, and has it to himself, showing the other competitors his location on a map could be a game changer.
The BASS management team listened to the various points of view. We're going to sleep on it, and decide in the next day or two how to proceed.
Tournament Director Trip Weldon asked if any competitors in the field fished the coldest event in B.A.S.S. history. Qualifiers including Shaw Grigsby, Alton Jones, Kevin VanDam and Mark Davis raised their hands.
It was here on Grand Lake, in 1991. On one competition morning the mercury read 9 degrees. Weldon had just started at B.A.S.S. but was absent from the tournament to fish another event he’d qualified for on Kentucky Lake, where it was a balmy 15 degrees at blast-off. The 1991 Invitational here was won by Ron Shuffield.
The next year B.A.S.S. returned and it was only slightly warmer – Jim Morton won that tournament with a buzzbait, a seemingly unconventional technique given the conditions. Do you think any of this week’s competitors have a buzzer in their boats? How many are likely to throw one?
Two-time Classic qualifier Tracy Adams hopes that it’s cold on tournament day, partly because he believes it will deter additional boat traffic (“You don’t see too many recreational fishermen out when it’s 38 and snowing”) and partly because he has a secret weapon: Battery-powered socks.
With registration day keeping him inside and off the water, did that give him time to charge those batteries for what promises to be a frigid tournament?
“I don’t need to do that,” he said. “I’ve got the ones where you put the batteries in.”
And he claims he has plenty of extras ready to go.
The official Bassmaster Classic angler briefing begins with a word from B.A.S.S. Tournament Director Trip Weldon.
Shaw Grigsby is loaded down with SWAG. (Steve Bowman photo)
SWAG. Politely put, it stands for the "Stuff We All Get."
At the Classic, the anglers are loaded down with gear and products from the various and numerous sponsors. It's all part of qualifying for bass fishing's grandest show.
A quick run-through of the Bass Pro Shops in Broken Arrow, Okla., about 15 minutes from the tournament venue and Expo, and lo and behold, there’s Ott DeFoe pulling some last-minute lures from the aisle.
“I’m just getting a few things I forgot at home,” DeFoe said before checking out with about $100 of tackle.
A known river fisherman, DeFoe was asked if he headed north to check out the more riverine sections of Grand Lake O’ the Cherokees.
“I went up there and checked it out, but it’s not the deal right now,” he said, then estimated that probably 75 percent of the field will fish south of the takeoff point in Grove. “The ones that go north won’t go far.”
Overall, DeFoe reported he had a good overall practice period over the weekend.
“I can get bit,” he said, “ … catching the big ones is the thing here.”
Brian Mason sets the trophy in the front of the angler meeting room (Steve Bowman photo)
B.A.S.S. officials are setting up for today's registration, and the prize of this week's derby made an appearance in the room where tournament director Trip Weldon will be going over the rules.
Brian Mason took the 2013 Classic trophy out of a case and set it up for all the anglers to see what they hope to take home this week.
We have arrived. The crew providing coverage of the 2013 Bassmaster Classic has converged on Tulsa, and are beginning our full-press coverage.
The Little Rock contingent hit the road early Tuesday to arrive for today’s registration and the angler meetings. Steve Bowman, Steve Wright and James Overstreet were on my tail, and since I had some extra time, I decided to check out the Bass Pro Shop in Broken Arrow, Okla., to see what they might have going on for the Classic.
Besides appearances by Roland Martin, Rick Clunn and Timmy Horton, among others, the 130,000-square-foot Bass Pro Shop will be providing free shuttle service to the Expo and weigh-in on each tournament day.
Shuttle service beings at 11 a.m. on Friday and 10 a.m. on Saturday and Sunday. With downtown parking at a premium, expect a good number of people to take advantage.