At the start of competition in the 41st Bassmaster Classic, 50 men are gunning for the win. Only one will wear the championship ring, of course, but all 50 have their eyes on the prize.
NEW ORLEANS -- For professional fishermen, the Bassmaster Classic is widely regarded as the be-all end-all in competitive fishing. Why? For starters it's got a $500,000 purse, winning it will give your career a degree of longevity and qualifying for it is one of the most daunting tasks in bass fishing. The only thing more difficult than qualifying for the Classic is winning it. Win or lose, first time or 29th, the Classic makes an impression on all who compete.
This album features photos taken from the 2011 Bassmaster Classic media day, Mardi Gras World.
The Bassmaster Classic is a tournament full of tradition and lore. With the 41st Classic this weekend, it's a good time to explore some of the old bromides about fishing's greatest championship.
This gallery is a compilation of photos featuring all 50 of the 2011 Bassmaster Classic competitors.
Texas' Bryan Schmidt wins Federation Nation Championship
Angler Hometown No./lbs-oz Total $$$ 1. Gene Lowrey Dalhart, Texas (TX) 5 15-05 2. Jamie Laiche Gonzales, La. (LA) 5 15-00 3. Zachary King Clarksville, Ark. (AR) 5 14-05 4. Dale Hightower Sand Springs, Okla. (OK) 5 14-00 5. Greg Cooper Monroe City, Mo. (MO) 5 12-15 6. Keith Hendrix Monroe City, Mo. (MO) 5 12-09 7. Travis Tunnell Benton, Kan. (KS) 5 12-07
Day Three Southern Divisional Results
The last time Denny Brauer competed in a Bassmaster Classic on the Louisiana Delta he took second place in 1999. The 1998 Bassmaster Classic champion and 20-time qualifier missed out on this year's Big Show, so the Missouri pro has been enjoying his winter residence at Lake Amistad in Texas.
As a veteran of 16 previous Bassmaster Classics, Tommy Biffle knows all about fishing's biggest stage. As a two-time runner-up, Biffle also knows about being so close to your dream that you can almost taste it.