Think you know a lot about the 2012 Bassmaster Classic? Well, maybe you do, but I'm willing to bet there are at least three things you didn't know about the 42nd edition of fishing's greatest championship. Luckily, you can find them right here.
Two B.A.S.S. Federation Nation qualifiers (Jamie Horton and Chris Price) have been here before, but it's been a while — 10 years, to be exact. That's not a record, but it's interesting that they both made it to the Classic through the Federation a decade ago and both are back again in the same year.
The record for longest gap between Classic appearances is shared by Danny Correia and David Gregg. Both went 16 years between trips to the big dance. Correia was runner-up to Charlie Reed at the 1986 Classic, but didn't get back until 2002. Gregg made it in 1983 and '99, but didn't shoot out the lights in either appearance.
The decade gap between their appearances ties Horton and Price for ninth longest in Classic history.
Controversy swirled around Nate Wellman's Northern Open victory on Lake Erie earlier this year, and rather than finish out the Open season and take an automatic berth to his first Bassmaster Classic, he opted to sit out the final tournament and thereby pass on the championship. It marked just the third time an angler has voluntarily missed the Classic.
The first was way back in 1971 at the inaugural championship. Florida's Johnny Adams qualified for the event but demurred, figuring he had better things to do with his vacation time than roll the dice at a winner-take-all fishing tournament. (By the way, Adams eventually did fish a Classic. He finished 37th in 1981, qualifying from the B.A.S.S. Federation Nation.)
The second time occurred in 2006. That was the year Luke Clausen won the Classic on Florida's Kissimmee Chain of Lakes. As the defending champ, all Clausen had to do to come back in 2007 was to fish the Bassmaster Elite Series. He declined, and missed the opportunity to defend his title.
The only other angler not to fish a Classic for which he was already qualified was Bryan Kerchal, who died in a plane crash five months after winning the 1994 championship.
In 2011, Brandon Palaniuk fished the Bassmaster Classic as an amateur, qualifying from the B.A.S.S. Federation Nation. In 2012 he's back ... this time as a professional, squeaking in with the final Elite Series slot.
Palaniuk is the 11th angler to make the Classic both as an amateur and as a pro. Missouri fishing legend Charlie Campbell was the first to do it back in the 1970s.
Art Ferguson III is the only angler to qualify multiple times from both the BFN and as a pro. He made it through the Fed Nation in 1990 and 1999 and as a pro in 2000 and 2004.
Michael Iaconelli is one of three anglers to win both the B.A.S.S. Federation National Championship (1999) and the Bassmaster Classic (2003). The others are Ken Cook (1980 and 1991, respectively) and Kerchal (both in 1994). Palaniuk, the 2010 Fed Nation champ, and Jamie Horton, the 2011 winner, have a chance to join them in 2012.
Palaniuk is the sixth angler to qualify for the Classic as a pro the year after making it as an amateur and the first to do it since Iaconelli and Ferguson both pulled it off in 1999/2000. The others were Blake Honeycutt (1981/1982), O.T. Fears (1983/1984) and Kenneth "Dusty" Pine (1986/1987).