Classic champ on his miracle win

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. — A few days ago, everyone wondered who would be the champion of the 2014 GEICO Bassmaster Classic presented by Diet Mountain Dew and GoPro.

Many of the pundits picked recent Classic winners, such as Kevin VanDam, Skeet Reese and Mike Iaconelli.

Others picked locals, such as Aaron Martens and Gerald Swindle.

Few focused on Randy Howell.

But Howell showed everyone who's boss.

And he called his win a "miracle" today during a Twitter chat in the B.A.S.S. headquarters office. You can see photos from the visit here and watch the entire chat as it took place here.

Below is the transcript from the lively Twitter chat. You can also read transcripts from other Bassmaster Elite Series pros here

Follow @BASS_Nation on Twitter to keep up with pros, fishing industry news or hot fishing tips.

 

Bassmaster ‏@BASS_nation 

The #basschat with @theRandyHowell is about to begin! Post your questions with the  #basschat hashtag.

 

Brandon Howard™ ‏@OReOs_No_MiLk 

If you could give just a few tips to an upcoming angler, what would you tell them?

Randy Howell ‏@theRandyHowell 

There is no substitute for time on the water - fish as much as you can! Try new things! 

 

Brandon Howard™ ‏@OReOs_No_MiLk 

Would you rather take 100 elite wins, or 1 classic win? 

Randy Howell ‏@theRandyHowell 

That's a tough one! Classic win right now. It's the biggest, most special deal of my life.

 

Zach Helton ‏@zachhelton09 

Can I borrow $100,000?  @acstarks @brandonlyon1022 #bassmaster

Randy Howell ‏@theRandyHowell 

Got a lot of investments to make, but maybe on the next win! 

Zach Helton ‏@zachhelton09 

Well played.. Well played.

 

joe mahan ‏@fhonik 

What was your first bass boat?

Randy Howell ‏@theRandyHowell 

18' dyna-trak when I was 13 years old, it had 150 mercury and ran 70 mph. 

 

Phil Braun ‏@playazball 

Always been a hulapopper guy but after seeing u slay w/ new Livingston lure I gotta try it-whens it coming out? 

Randy Howell ‏@theRandyHowell 

It will be out in three to four weeks! Check it out on the Twitter chat video later today! 

 

Mitchell ‏@BIGOJRTARPON 

Hey I bet everybody wants a jersey now lol. Congrats man. So awesome. I wore my phone out following.

 

Mike Maloney ‏@BassinFireman 

How much pressure is off you coming into this season since winning the classic?

Randy Howell ‏@theRandyHowell 

It’s amazing how much better I feel w/ weight lifted off. It also gives me the opportunity to go hard after AOY.

 

Spotmonkey ‏@sptmnky 

What fish do you want to catch that you haven't caught yet.  

Randy Howell ‏@theRandyHowell 

There's a lot of those! I want to catch a peacock bass, tarpon and other saltwater fish! 

 

Bass Fishing Tips ‏@BassFishnTips 

If limited to 5 rod/reel combos to fish entire season, what would they be?

Randy Howell ‏@theRandyHowell 

For rods, the Daiwa Tatula 7ft med-light & 7ft med-heavy, 7-2 med-heavy, 7-4 heavy & 7-2 med-heavy spinning and for reels, the Tatula 6.3, 7.3, 8.1 and a Certate spinning reel 

 

JJ Patton ‏@bassbaronjj 

Congrats on the win...can u explain why you chose a red/craw instead of shad color for those fish?

Randy Howell ‏@theRandyHowell 

I chose it because the water was so muddy. That color was key. Shad and other colors didn't give me a bite. By the way, thanks for being my doctor on the road and a great friend of mine! 

JJ Patton ‏@bassbaronjj 

No problem, buddy. Happy to help!

 

D Rose ‏@paducahdave 

How's the cloud 9 ride been? Congrats again

Randy Howell ‏@theRandyHowell 

It's been overwhelming and phenomenal! Very busy, but the best feeling ever - it's what all bass pros dream of! 

 

GodfatherOfPigtails ‏@fishingchiver 

No question for you. Just wanted to congratulate you on winning the Classic.  pic.twitter.com/6ifgePe8UH

 

Randy Howell ‏@theRandyHowell 

I like that one! I did keep calm and go fishing more than any other time at the Classic! 

GodfatherOfPigtails ‏@fishingchiver 

Awesome. I can't wait to watch some of the action when it airs. Sure wish they would air more coverage though!

 

Jon Stewart ‏@Jahawkjon 

Will the North Carolina follow your lead and pull off a miracle win in the NCAA tournament, or will the Kansas Jayhawks do it?

Randy Howell ‏@theRandyHowell 

Since I was able to have a miracle catch, then anything could happen, the Tarheels could beat the Jayhawks this year! 

Jon Stewart ‏@Jahawkjon 

You better be in the stands bringing them luck, for that game! If you are not, my Jayhawks will dominate! Seriously, proud of you!

 

Matt Birmingham ‏@MR_Birmingham 

Your family really seems to be a grounding force in your life. Describe how they kept you even-keeled going into the final day.

Randy Howell ‏@theRandyHowell 

Family for me is everything. Without them all of this success would be meaningless. Robin keeps me grounded with our tournament schedule needs! I'm a needy person, so Robin helps me out a lot! 

 

Bruce Callis ‏@BassFishinNNVA 

Good morning. How did the lipless Crankbait play in your pattern searches? 

Randy Howell ‏@theRandyHowell 

I keyed in on it early in the week but didn't work as well b/c the grass had died due to the cold. 

 

Andy Whitcomb ‏@andywhitcomb 

Do you get to fish recreationally... just for fun? If so, for bass or other species?  #JustKeepReeling

Randy Howell ‏@theRandyHowell 

We do get to fish a good bit! Robin and my boys love to fish, here in Alabama and up in Michigan too! 

 

WetaWorm ‏@WetaWorm 

Did you ever switch to a shad color or any other hue while on the craw color bite during the Classic?

Randy Howell ‏@theRandyHowell 

I threw a @LivingstonLures ginrin color tied on and threw it on the rocks, then grabbed the crawfish pattern.

WetaWorm ‏@WetaWorm 

Thanks for the time and BIG CONGRATS on the win! Tight lines and God bless! #fishon  #bassmaster

 

Sean Frederick ‏@SFBassFishing 

Can I get a boxed filled with @LivingstonLures prototypes? Hahaha congrats on the win again! #TeamLivingston

Randy Howell ‏@theRandyHowell 

Thank you so much! I appreciate it! 

 

Mike Maloney ‏@BassinFireman 

Which event of the 2014 @BASS_nation elite series do you think will be the most challenging?

Randy Howell ‏@theRandyHowell 

Probably Delaware River because it's a title river and it's a city area - and it's new spot for us! 

 

Jeremy Jennette ‏@NCbassfreak 

When did you get hooked into bass fishing? 

Randy Howell ‏@theRandyHowell 

My whole life. I was born with that passion and the gift to do it. I was fishing when I couldn't even hold the rod. 

Jeremy Jennette ‏@NCbassfreak 

You sure have been gifted with a lot of talent! started young!

 

Bruce Callis ‏@BassFishinNNVA 

How much does following a set routine before a tournament factor into your decisions? Any superstitions? 

Randy Howell ‏@theRandyHowell 

No superstitions but I'm a routine guy. It helps eliminate bad habits, think clearly & make decisions. 

 

Hayden Tilley ‏@Spuddster22 

What's the best advice you can give to young anglers who wanna fish for a living one day? 

Randy Howell ‏@theRandyHowell 

High School fishing and College Fishing with BASS makes it a lot easier. Stay in school and be a part of the team.

 

Chandler Ray ‏@Chandler_A_Ray 

Are you planning on coming to hunt with me and Joe Durham on his plantation this year? @fishinlawyer

Randy Howell ‏@theRandyHowell 

We are definitely planning on doing that! Thank you for the invite! 

 

Greg Sellers ‏@brogregsellers 

As you represent the world as champion, what role will your faith in Christ have? 

Randy Howell ‏@theRandyHowell 

I think it will play a big role & the way I won, coming from so far behind was orchestrated by God to show the world He is in control. I want to be the Tim Tebow of bass fishing. 

 

Jeremy Jennette ‏@NCbassfreak 

If you could only fish one lake or river system the rest of your life what would it be? 

Randy Howell ‏@theRandyHowell 

That's tough. I'd have to say Guntersville though.

Jeremy Jennette ‏@NCbassfreak 

You sure know how to catch ‘em there! Would love to go there one day. Have you ever heard of Badin lake in NC? 

Randy Howell ‏@theRandyHowell 

Yes, I have. Never fished there but when we lived in North Carolina we heard of it often.

Jeremy Jennette ‏@NCbassfreak 

Sweet!!! I fish badin lake a lot in summer also Randleman lake 

 

Chase ‏@whitechase15 

What was the orange crank bait you was using around the bridge? 

Randy Howell ‏@theRandyHowell 

Two different ones! Be sure to check http://Bassmaster.com  for the photos and GoPro videos. 

They were a DT6 and the Livingston Lure medium diver. 

Bassmaster ‏@BASS_nation 

Here's a photo of the lure.  pic.twitter.com/FRHGJCMVlN

 

james whitaker ‏@bwhitaker45 

Has spring creek always been a favorite part of Gville lake for you? We took those pics (website 9 yrs ago) in spring creek. 

Randy Howell ‏@theRandyHowell 

Spring Creek has been a special place to me - it's right there in the city and the fishing's always been good.

 

Samuel Davis ‏@sdavisgolf 

When looking at a lake map how do you go about finding potential spots that hold bass? 

Randy Howell ‏@theRandyHowell 

If people only new how simple I am, I rarely even look at a paper map! I just try to figure out the puzzle of seasonal patterns on my Lowrance electronics! 

Samuel Davis ‏@sdavisgolf 

Alright thank you very much!

 

Andy Whitcomb ‏@andywhitcomb 

When bass fishing, what is your most frequent bycatch? Drum, catfish, sunfish, other?  #JustKeepReeling

Randy Howell ‏@theRandyHowell 

Depends on where we are. On TN River chain, it's drum. Most other places, it's catfish. 

 

Bass Fishing Tips ‏@BassFishnTips 

If limited to 5 bass baits to fish entire season, what would they be?

Randy Howell ‏@theRandyHowell 

5' Senko, Yamamoto Flapping Hawg, @LivingstonLures winning crankbait & square-bill shalllow crank, Rattleback Jig 

 

JaySkinner™ ‏@Jas_Skinner 

 What is/was your driving force to become a pro angler and what was your backup plan should it not have panned out?

Randy Howell ‏@theRandyHowell 

I grew up on a lake in N.C. and around a marina business my parents had, so all I ever wanted to do is fish. 

 

Kevin Orr ‏@bassanglr 

How do you keep Oakley and Laker engaged in fishing when the bite is slow? Congrats to you and Robin!

Randy Howell ‏@theRandyHowell 

We used to bring toys to keep them occupied. You can't expect their attention to be on fishing so we stick to things that are easy to catch & will keep biting.

 

Dominic F. Turcott! ‏@Dturcott27 

Just want to say congrats on the win! Your career will never be the same. Welcome to the legends club

Randy Howell ‏@theRandyHowell 

Yeah that's pretty cool! It's got a good ring to it! Thank you very much! 

 

FishShotsPhotography ‏@TheBassPunk 

Other than Guntersville, what's your favorite Bass Lake?

Randy Howell ‏@theRandyHowell 

I really like Lake Oneida in New York. It's a good combination smallmouth/largemouth fishery. 

FishShotsPhotography ‏@TheBassPunk 

Well Hopefully I will see you at Cayuga. Congratulations on winning the Classic!

Jim Root ‏@JJ7712 

Heck yeah! My home lake.

 

Matt spell ‏@mattspell6 

What changes did you make in the final day to bring in a big bag? And what bait worked the best for you all weekend?

Randy Howell ‏@theRandyHowell 

A lot of changes the first day, but changing to the area that had the right size fish and also changing to the Livingston crankbait was the right bait to make the bigger fish in the dirty water bite. 

 

Cameron Debity ‏@camerondebity 

You've been my fav pro since I got into bassin. I'm a pastor in the Louisville area. Ever speak at churches? 

Randy Howell ‏@theRandyHowell 

Thank you very much! I do speak at churches and would love to speak at yours! Just email me at http://RandyHowell.com 

 

Bassmaster ‏@BASS_nation 

Taking questions during the #basschat! @theRandyHowell @rarahowell pic.twitter.com/W4gMUizc33

 

Kenny Elkins ‏@RossXD_Hunter 

Has it sunk in yet fully that you’re the champ? And what are your feelings about it? 

Randy Howell ‏@theRandyHowell 

It is slowly sinking in. It really makes me smile big when I hear someone say it. It's surreal & a dream come true. 

Kenny Elkins ‏@RossXD_Hunter 

Can't believe I called it when I tweeted that you were a "true champion" for visiting the children's hospital pre-tournament

 

WetaWorm ‏@WetaWorm 

Any insight into what you seen on your graph that really made you say "they're here, let's get em!" ?

Randy Howell ‏@theRandyHowell 

Each time my Lowrance sidescan and structure scan showed there were big bass there, they were deep & suspended over shad. I couldn't make them bite because it was too cold, but the last day it showed what I wanted to see.

 

Tony Arno⚾ ‏@Tonester5 

I just got my @BASS_nation newsletter and look who is on the cover!! ~~~>> @theRandyHowell  pic.twitter.com/dnegSLufIN

 

Randy Howell ‏@theRandyHowell 

Cool! "Randy Howell's Miracle Classic" -- that's exactly what they should call it! 

Tony Arno⚾ ‏@Tonester5 

Don't shortchange yourself Sir, you have a ton of experience & knowledge. You know how to hook'um!! Great job. 

Randy Howell ‏@theRandyHowell 

Thank you so much, Tony! Let's eat some pizza! 

Tony Arno⚾ ‏@Tonester5 

Sounds great! If you come to NY to fish Lake Champlain or Onieda Lake, look me up for Pizza! You’re Welcome bud.

 

Zachary Marksbury ‏@ZakMarksbury54 

I'm bass fishing Guntersville in mid march, any advice? 

Randy Howell ‏@theRandyHowell 

Take some big line! You're going to catch a lot of fish - it should put a lot of fish in shallow. A 6-inch Senko will be good! 

Zachary Marksbury ‏@ZakMarksbury54 

Thanks man! Appreciate it

 

Greg Powell ‏@g_powe 

What key change did you make on day 3 that lit the Classic up? 

Randy Howell ‏@theRandyHowell 

The location I went to & the bait took me from 20lbs. or so to the 29 I needed. It seems subtle but it was a big deal. 

 

Travis Twigg ‏@Slimshad2010 

Congrats! What was the weirdest thing someone yelled from the bridge?

Randy Howell ‏@theRandyHowell 

My aunt was there and this guy kept yelling “Your aunt is going to make you a homemade chocolate chip pie!” - & she doesn’t cook! 

 

bill dowler ‏@billdowler 

Why do you think your fish on the final day were stacked on that bridge, instead of going shallow? God bless 

Randy Howell ‏@theRandyHowell 

There was a shad kill in January, and the only shad left were in the deep water around that bridge. When it warmed up, the shad came up more shallow and the bass followed. 

 

fishingtheback.com ‏@fishingtheback 

What's your best advice for co anglers trying to advance to the professional level? 

Randy Howell ‏@theRandyHowell 

Learn to be versatile. Use every bait & every technique & fish different than the pro. Learn from everyone! 

 

Justin Raughton ‏@JustinRaughton 

You spent all that money yet? haha 

Randy Howell ‏@theRandyHowell 

Not any of it! No time for spending money because we've been so busy; haven't even had time for food!

 

Slick Longcast ‏@JacobFoutz 

What did you key on to help catch the better quality fish? 

Randy Howell ‏@theRandyHowell 

I keyed in on the deeper fish I saw on the side scan on my Lowrance. The Livingston Lure crankbait went deeper with a wider wobble. 

 

Tristan Powell ‏@t_pow97 

What is the key feature you look for when your trying to find fish on a new body of water? 

Randy Howell ‏@theRandyHowell 

I like to find areas that have plenty of hiding places, cover, and also places that have a lot of food sources.

 

Greg Powell ‏@g_powe 

What was the adrenaline rush like when they announced you the Classic Champion? 

Randy Howell ‏@theRandyHowell 

It was unreal - it started when I was on the hot seat and intensified. I wish I'd had a heart rate monitor on!

 

joe mahan ‏@fhonik 

What was the first tourney you made money for winning? 

Randy Howell ‏@theRandyHowell 

I did one with my dad when I was 10 and we won big fish money and won $400 and got a trophy! I still have that trophy!

 

Dave Mercer ‏@FactsofFishing 

Congrats again Randy, It was an honor for me to be there and announce it, but I want to know when was the 1st moment you started to think maybe I won the #bassmasterclassic?

Randy Howell ‏@theRandyHowell 

Thanks, Dave! You did an awesome job to make it special. But when you weighed Mueller and said 24 pounds instead of 25 & you looked at me with those big eyes, that's when it hit me that it might be about to happen. 

Fish Catchmore ‏@Catch_more_fish 

Yeah but you were grinning like a possum in the first interview u did off the water! #greatjob

 

Glenn Akins ‏@birdmane85 

Do you use your 7 ft. Med.Lt. Tatula rod for all your cranking?  love you serving Christ thru the kings home kids

Randy Howell ‏@theRandyHowell 

I helped design that rod for Daiwa esp. for shallow cranking, lipless cranking and jerkbaiting. When I go to larger cranks with bigger hooks, I go to heavier action. 

 

Emily Hand ‏@ejhand 

What was going thru your mind during your victory lap?  pic.twitter.com/CdVsjtV5al

 

 

Randy Howell ‏@theRandyHowell 

It was the most unreal feeling & moment of my life. It was living a dream I've had many times but hard to put into words.

 

Justin Lundborg ‏@JustinLundborg 

What's your biggest piece of advice for college anglers trying to make their way in the sport? 

Randy Howell ‏@theRandyHowell 

A college fishing team is probably the best route. Try to compete as much as possible outside of your college tournaments as well to get more experience. And get to know as many people as possible. 

Justin Lundborg ‏@JustinLundborg 

Thanks for answering Randy and congratulations once again on the big win!

 

Chase Van Cappellen ‏@doofmain 

What are your favorite prespawn lures to throw? And congrats on the Classic, much deserved for a great guy! 

Randy Howell ‏@theRandyHowell 

Thank you! Shallow crankbaits and lipless crankbaits are my favorite prespawn lures, and plastics like Senkos 

 

Sean Frederick ‏@SFBassFishing 

Who's the biggest prankster on the Elite Series? 

Randy Howell ‏@theRandyHowell 

I'm a big prankster myself, but Gerald Swindle and Jeff Kreit are big pranksters, too. 

Sean Frederick ‏@SFBassFishing 

@LivingstonLures has a team full of pranksters! Hahaha 

 

Brad ‏@bbonner83 

Were you bouncing that prototype off the bottom or just cranking?

Randy Howell ‏@theRandyHowell 

I paralleled the rocks in 8 to 10 feet of water & tried to make contact with deepest rocks on the edge of the dropoff.

 

Dave DeHondt ‏@DaveDeHondt 

Your wife seems to be your biggest fan! How important is her influence in your career? 

Randy Howell ‏@theRandyHowell 

She is my biggest fan and my best friend! Without her, I definitely wouldn't have won that Classic! 

Bill Marra ‏@WMWcom 

Congrats Brother. The Lord watched over you For Sure.

 

Jasper Reynolds ‏@BabyJTate 

My biggest challenge would have been the spectators. How were they and what advice do you have for future spectators?

Randy Howell ‏@theRandyHowell 

They were awesome in my area but you have to communicate with people, and that's the biggest key. No one was there to bother us; they just wanted to see. Spectators should bring binoculars to watch from afar! 

Jasper Reynolds ‏@BabyJTate 

You're a class act, my friend. Congrats!

 

Tom Greenwood III ‏@mrducks99 

Did you save the last day spot or had you fished the previous two days?

Randy Howell ‏@theRandyHowell 

I had fished that area all three days. But, the first two days without success. Except for the last 15 minutes of Day 2, I stopped there. I had no idea how good it would be Day 3. 

Tom Greenwood III ‏@mrducks99 

You ripped it! Congrats and good luck this year!

 

Justin Collar ‏@collar_justin 

Biggest spotted bass?? 

Randy Howell ‏@theRandyHowell 

6 1/2 pounds on Alabama's Logan Martin Lake

 

Brandon Howard™ ‏@OReOs_No_MiLk 

Ever fished Pickwick or Wilson in Alabama? Did you enjoy them if so? 

Randy Howell ‏@theRandyHowell 

I love both! I've fished them in Bassmaster tourneys & I'd like to go back again. I came in 2nd in one on Pickwick 

Brandon Howard™ ‏@OReOs_No_MiLk 

Well come on! I’d be glad to go with you sometime! I know a few places!! 

 

Taylor Burtram ‏@tburtram 

What's your favorite bed fishing bait and color? And what's your favorite bait to catch pre spawners? 

Randy Howell ‏@theRandyHowell 

Yamamoto flappin-hawg in bama bug color.

 

Bassmaster ‏@BASS_nation 

Thanks, Randy and Robin, for joining us today for the #basschat! Fans, we appreciate your questions. 

Randy Howell ‏@theRandyHowell 

We have enjoyed our time here at @bass_nation today! I want to thank all these lovely ladies for typing all of these crazy answers. We hope to be back very soon! Now, everyone get back to work! 

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