ANDERSON, S.C. — Awaiting Day One's launch of the 2008 Bassmaster Classic, the brave stood stoically on docks and boat decks.
The cold winds jabbed those at exposed few as the sky dripped at a steady and pace while the majority of those assembled sought the refuge of the dock's corrugated roof.
This larger-than-normal band of press, camera crews and angler's family's all battling for a dry spot made for treacherous maneuvering for the ESPNOutdoors.com. Writers scrambling for their story had to negotiate observers blinded by raincoat hoods or umbrellas in addition to skating across the slippery dock to get their story.
When finally united with their targeted angler, the ESPNOutdoors.com staff asked the following questions:
• If you could have any one thing on your boat today to make you more comfortable what would that be?
• How many hours of actual sleep did you get last night?
Heaviest bag? "20, 22-pound class."
More comfortable? "I got a fishing pole, that's all I need."
Sleep last night? "About six hours last night."
Heaviest bag? 20, 21."
More comfortable?"I don't know, mine's set. I got everything I need."
Sleep last night? "When to sleep at 12 a.m. and got up about 3:30 a.m. to get my stuff ready. I'll be tired tonight."
Heaviest bag? "I expect big bags to be somewhere around the 20-pound range. If they get tough, they'll be 17-19 pound bags. A few in the mid-14's. If I can get the 20 pounds in the first 20 minutes or so, I might come back here and get breakfast."
More comfortable? "Something with an enclosure on it with a big heater in there. Something like that pontoon boat over there."
Sleep last night? "I was so sick yesterday. I fell asleep probably 8:30 p.m. or 8:45 p.m."
Heaviest bag? "I'm gonna say 19."
More comfortable? "A cover over my boat. But it'd be hard to cast through that."
Sleep last night? "I got to bed about 9:30 p.m. and got up about 3:30 a.m."
Heaviest bag? "It wouldn't surprise me at all if we saw 21, 22-pounds."
More comfortable? "Sunshine, I guess."
Sleep last night? "Got to sleep about 10:30 p.m. and woke up about 4:15 a.m."
Heaviest bag? "There will be several 20-pound plus stringers."
More comfortable? "I've got everything I need as far as clothing or gear-wise. I'm good. Maybe having one of your buddies or someone to talk to."
Sleep last night? "I went to bed about 10:30 p.m. and got up around 3:45 a.m. And I slept on the way to the boat ramp. That's one thing you learn going out when you get here, you try to find every chance you can to sleep."
Heaviest bag? "I think we'll see some low 20-pound bags. I bet the guy that leads this thing has 22, 23 pounds. I just hope I'm one of them."
More comfortable? "It would be nice to have not as much clothing on, but we got to do what we got to do to stay warm. If the rain will leave us alone, that would be a nice thing."
Sleep last night? "Not much, probably four or five hours. And I'm an eight-hour a night guy. You know first tournament of the year, hadn't done my tackle and you're getting every hook sharp and hooks replaced."
Heaviest bag? "Just guessing I'd say 18 to 20 pounds. Doesn't seem like they're getting a lot of bites out there, but when you get one, it's pretty quality."
More comfortable? "I do think the familiarity with the body of water. There's a lot of water to cover in four days and I've probably only covered a quarter of it. It's hard to narrow it down and know where the productive areas are."
Sleep last night? "Probably four hours. I got my kids with me and we've got one over a year, and he didn't sleep too well. But I'm glad they're here with me and I wouldn't have it any other way."
Heaviest bag? "I think they'll be some 20-pound bags. I've seen some big fish, but not a lot of them."
More comfortable? "If I can get a limit early I would feel real comfortable. Probably an iPod would be good, but it might be a good thing just not think about it and just go fishing."
Sleep last night? "I actually went to bed really early, but I got up at like about 2 a.m. I don't know … what's 7:30 p.m. to 2 a.m.?"
Heaviest bag? "You could see a bag up to 25, maybe a little bit more. These fish have been kind of holding off, and I think this rain, this overcast, it's going to get the water moving and it's going to get baitfish pushed back in the creeks."
More comfortable? "The Good Lord by my side."
"Dude, I'm so amped up right now. I went to bed at 7:00, woke up at 11:00 went back to bed about 11:30 p.m. and woke up at 3:00 a.m. So I got some sleep and I'm ready to go."