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.
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.
The #basschat with @theRandyHowell is about to begin! Post your questions with the #basschat hashtag.
If you could give just a few tips to an upcoming angler, what would you tell them?
There is no substitute for time on the water - fish as much as you can! Try new things!
Would you rather take 100 elite wins, or 1 classic win?
That's a tough one! Classic win right now. It's the biggest, most special deal of my life.
Got a lot of investments to make, but maybe on the next win!
Well played.. Well played.
What was your first bass boat?
18' dyna-trak when I was 13 years old, it had 150 mercury and ran 70 mph.
Always been a hulapopper guy but after seeing u slay w/ new Livingston lure I gotta try it-whens it coming out?
It will be out in three to four weeks! Check it out on the Twitter chat video later today!
Hey I bet everybody wants a jersey now lol. Congrats man. So awesome. I wore my phone out following.
How much pressure is off you coming into this season since winning the classic?
It’s amazing how much better I feel w/ weight lifted off. It also gives me the opportunity to go hard after AOY.
What fish do you want to catch that you haven't caught yet.
There's a lot of those! I want to catch a peacock bass, tarpon and other saltwater fish!
If limited to 5 rod/reel combos to fish entire season, what would they be?
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
Congrats on the win...can u explain why you chose a red/craw instead of shad color for those fish?
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!
No problem, buddy. Happy to help!
How's the cloud 9 ride been? Congrats again
It's been overwhelming and phenomenal! Very busy, but the best feeling ever - it's what all bass pros dream of!
No question for you. Just wanted to congratulate you on winning the Classic. pic.twitter.com/6ifgePe8UH
I like that one! I did keep calm and go fishing more than any other time at the Classic!
Awesome. I can't wait to watch some of the action when it airs. Sure wish they would air more coverage though!
Will the North Carolina follow your lead and pull off a miracle win in the NCAA tournament, or will the Kansas Jayhawks do it?
Since I was able to have a miracle catch, then anything could happen, the Tarheels could beat the Jayhawks this year!
You better be in the stands bringing them luck, for that game! If you are not, my Jayhawks will dominate! Seriously, proud of you!
Your family really seems to be a grounding force in your life. Describe how they kept you even-keeled going into the final day.
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!
Good morning. How did the lipless Crankbait play in your pattern searches?
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.
Do you get to fish recreationally... just for fun? If so, for bass or other species? #JustKeepReeling
We do get to fish a good bit! Robin and my boys love to fish, here in Alabama and up in Michigan too!
Did you ever switch to a shad color or any other hue while on the craw color bite during the Classic?
I threw a @LivingstonLures ginrin color tied on and threw it on the rocks, then grabbed the crawfish pattern.
Thank you so much! I appreciate it!
Which event of the 2014 @BASS_nation elite series do you think will be the most challenging?
Probably Delaware River because it's a title river and it's a city area - and it's new spot for us!
When did you get hooked into bass fishing?
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.
You sure have been gifted with a lot of talent! started young!
How much does following a set routine before a tournament factor into your decisions? Any superstitions?
No superstitions but I'm a routine guy. It helps eliminate bad habits, think clearly & make decisions.
What's the best advice you can give to young anglers who wanna fish for a living one day?
High School fishing and College Fishing with BASS makes it a lot easier. Stay in school and be a part of the team.
Are you planning on coming to hunt with me and Joe Durham on his plantation this year? @fishinlawyer
We are definitely planning on doing that! Thank you for the invite!
As you represent the world as champion, what role will your faith in Christ have?
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.
If you could only fish one lake or river system the rest of your life what would it be?
That's tough. I'd have to say Guntersville though.
You sure know how to catch ‘em there! Would love to go there one day. Have you ever heard of Badin lake in NC?
Yes, I have. Never fished there but when we lived in North Carolina we heard of it often.
Sweet!!! I fish badin lake a lot in summer also Randleman lake
What was the orange crank bait you was using around the bridge?
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.
Here's a photo of the lure. pic.twitter.com/FRHGJCMVlN
Has spring creek always been a favorite part of Gville lake for you? We took those pics (website 9 yrs ago) in spring creek.
Spring Creek has been a special place to me - it's right there in the city and the fishing's always been good.
When looking at a lake map how do you go about finding potential spots that hold bass?
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!
Alright thank you very much!
When bass fishing, what is your most frequent bycatch? Drum, catfish, sunfish, other? #JustKeepReeling
Depends on where we are. On TN River chain, it's drum. Most other places, it's catfish.
If limited to 5 bass baits to fish entire season, what would they be?
5' Senko, Yamamoto Flapping Hawg, @LivingstonLures winning crankbait & square-bill shalllow crank, Rattleback Jig
What is/was your driving force to become a pro angler and what was your backup plan should it not have panned out?
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.
How do you keep Oakley and Laker engaged in fishing when the bite is slow? Congrats to you and Robin!
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.
Just want to say congrats on the win! Your career will never be the same. Welcome to the legends club
Yeah that's pretty cool! It's got a good ring to it! Thank you very much!
Other than Guntersville, what's your favorite Bass Lake?
I really like Lake Oneida in New York. It's a good combination smallmouth/largemouth fishery.
Well Hopefully I will see you at Cayuga. Congratulations on winning the Classic!
Heck yeah! My home lake.
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?
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.
You've been my fav pro since I got into bassin. I'm a pastor in the Louisville area. Ever speak at churches?
Thank you very much! I do speak at churches and would love to speak at yours! Just email me at http://RandyHowell.com
Has it sunk in yet fully that you’re the champ? And what are your feelings about it?
It is slowly sinking in. It really makes me smile big when I hear someone say it. It's surreal & a dream come true.
Can't believe I called it when I tweeted that you were a "true champion" for visiting the children's hospital pre-tournament
Any insight into what you seen on your graph that really made you say "they're here, let's get em!" ?
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.
Cool! "Randy Howell's Miracle Classic" -- that's exactly what they should call it!
Don't shortchange yourself Sir, you have a ton of experience & knowledge. You know how to hook'um!! Great job.
Thank you so much, Tony! Let's eat some pizza!
Sounds great! If you come to NY to fish Lake Champlain or Onieda Lake, look me up for Pizza! You’re Welcome bud.
I'm bass fishing Guntersville in mid march, any advice?
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!
Thanks man! Appreciate it
What key change did you make on day 3 that lit the Classic up?
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.
Congrats! What was the weirdest thing someone yelled from the bridge?
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!
Why do you think your fish on the final day were stacked on that bridge, instead of going shallow? God bless
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.
What's your best advice for co anglers trying to advance to the professional level?
Learn to be versatile. Use every bait & every technique & fish different than the pro. Learn from everyone!
You spent all that money yet? haha
Not any of it! No time for spending money because we've been so busy; haven't even had time for food!
What did you key on to help catch the better quality fish?
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.
What is the key feature you look for when your trying to find fish on a new body of water?
I like to find areas that have plenty of hiding places, cover, and also places that have a lot of food sources.
What was the adrenaline rush like when they announced you the Classic Champion?
It was unreal - it started when I was on the hot seat and intensified. I wish I'd had a heart rate monitor on!
What was the first tourney you made money for winning?
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!
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?
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.
Yeah but you were grinning like a possum in the first interview u did off the water! #greatjob
Do you use your 7 ft. Med.Lt. Tatula rod for all your cranking? love you serving Christ thru the kings home kids
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.
What was going thru your mind during your victory lap? pic.twitter.com/CdVsjtV5al
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.
What's your biggest piece of advice for college anglers trying to make their way in the sport?
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.
Thanks for answering Randy and congratulations once again on the big win!
What are your favorite prespawn lures to throw? And congrats on the Classic, much deserved for a great guy!
Thank you! Shallow crankbaits and lipless crankbaits are my favorite prespawn lures, and plastics like Senkos
Who's the biggest prankster on the Elite Series?
I'm a big prankster myself, but Gerald Swindle and Jeff Kreit are big pranksters, too.
@LivingstonLures has a team full of pranksters! Hahaha
Were you bouncing that prototype off the bottom or just cranking?
I paralleled the rocks in 8 to 10 feet of water & tried to make contact with deepest rocks on the edge of the dropoff.
Your wife seems to be your biggest fan! How important is her influence in your career?
She is my biggest fan and my best friend! Without her, I definitely wouldn't have won that Classic!
Congrats Brother. The Lord watched over you For Sure.
My biggest challenge would have been the spectators. How were they and what advice do you have for future spectators?
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!
You're a class act, my friend. Congrats!
Did you save the last day spot or had you fished the previous two days?
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.
You ripped it! Congrats and good luck this year!
Biggest spotted bass??
6 1/2 pounds on Alabama's Logan Martin Lake
Ever fished Pickwick or Wilson in Alabama? Did you enjoy them if so?
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
Well come on! I’d be glad to go with you sometime! I know a few places!!
What's your favorite bed fishing bait and color? And what's your favorite bait to catch pre spawners?
Yamamoto flappin-hawg in bama bug color.
Thanks, Randy and Robin, for joining us today for the #basschat! Fans, we appreciate your questions.
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!