It's that time of year again — time to list the top-notch anglers who will not qualify for the 2015 Bassmaster Classic and shake our heads in collective wonder about what happened.
Of course, any such list has to begin with Kevin VanDam. After 24 consecutive Classic appearances (second only to Rick Clunn's 28 straight), it's hard to believe the run is over, but it seems to be. Only a miracle will save KVD now.
But he's not alone. This year (like every other) there are lots of talented pros who will be watching the Classic rather than fishing it. We won't know the full list until after the AOY Championship, but here's a partial rundown and it looks like a bass fishing all-star team. For now, I'm listing only those anglers who cannot qualify for the Classic on points.
Brent Chapman is one of those guys. Just two years removed from his AOY season, the Kansas pro needs to win Cayuga to get back to the Classic. It'll be the first he's missed since 2007.
Rick Clunn, Gary Klein and Shaw Grigsby are out. They've all missed some Classics recently, but the championship is definitely better when they're in it. They'll be missed.
Ish Monroe has made a lot more Classics than he's missed over the past decade, but one of the toughest years of his career will put him on the sidelines for 2015. Ditto for Boyd Duckett, the 2007 Classic champ.
A couple of guys are on the bubble to qualify for the AOY Championship and keep their Classic hopes alive for a while longer. Terry Scroggins and Davy Hite are on the fence now. Hite, at least, controls his own fate and can get in with a good Day 3 at Cayuga. Scroggins has already been eliminated from the regular season finale and will be watching the weekend weigh-ins with more interest than most.