If you believe that numbers tell a story (and they do) and that a better understanding of the Bassmaster Classic can be had by studying the numbers (and it can), then you're in the right place.
With Day 1 of the 2014 GEICO Bassmaster Classic presented by Diet Mountain Dew and GoPro in the can, we're getting a clearer picture of what's happening in the championship. Here's how this tournament is shaping up, numbers-wise.
Though the giant numbers weren't there (no 30-pound bags), Randall Tharp (27-8), Edwin Evers (26-13) and David Walker (24-13) enter the record book with the sixth, seventh and 10th heaviest daily catches in Classic history. Luke Clausen's 29-6 from the first day of the 2006 Classic (Florida's Kissimmee Chain) is still tops.
Fred Roumbanis' 9-3 lunker in the opening round is the 5th biggest Classic bass of all-time. The top four all came from the Kissimmee Chain in 2006. Preston Clark's 11-10 leads the way.
There are a couple of areas where the Guntersville Classic appears poised to take over the top spot in the books.
Going into this championship, the Classic with the biggest average bass was 1980 at the St. Lawrence River. The average fish there weighed an impressive 2.93 pounds. That record is going down hard! On the first day of the 2014 Classic, the average bass weighed 3.61 pounds — 11 ounces heavier than 1980. Things should be pretty much the same on Day 2, and that average will likely go up a little on Day 3, so that one seems certain to fall.
With it goes the heaviest average catch record. Currently that number is 12.43 pounds, set on the Red River in 2009. Yesterday's average bag weighed 15.71, so that mark should get crushed here this week.
In the "I'm-not-quite-sure-it's-a-fair-comparison, but-here-it-is-anyway" department, the Classic anglers made a big assault yesterday on the Classic record for heaviest weight caught by the field. That record was set in 2009 on the Red River with 1,578-14. On the first day of the 2014 Classic, the field weighed in 863-15 (the heaviest single-day catch ever), so they're already more than halfway there.
The record is almost certainly going to fall. The reason I'm not sure it's a fair comparison is that there were 50 anglers in that Classic and 55 in this one. Still … it's the record.
And while we're talking about records that are certain to fall, Kevin VanDam needs just five pounds to pass Rick Clunn for most cumulative weight in the Bassmaster Classic. Clunn tallied 772 pounds, 2 ounces over 32 championships.
KVD entered the 2014 Classic with 751-1. The only question coming in was whether he'd break the mark on the first day or the second. A disappointing first round (27th place with 16-2) means it will be the latter.