"Cowboys, Indians and A-rigs, there's the title for your story," said Sawhney, as we drove back to northwest Arkansas late on a Saturday afternoon.
That sounded about right to me. If you want to learn something about umbrella/A-rig fishing or how to quell bass fishing fever when stuck in the middle of New York City, stay with me here. Billy Lemon and Tej Sawhney have some stories to tell.
But mostly this is a story about how bass fishing brings together people from around the world and all walks of life. See photos from our day on Grand Lake.
"If these guys could use that A-rig out here right now, they'd be tearing it up," Lemon said after we started that conversation in the food tent outside the BOK Center on Feb. 24, the final day of the Classic.
He knew, of course, that umbrella rigs are banned from the Classic and Bassmaster Elite Series events. He was simply stating what was producing best in the frigid waters of Grand Lake at that time.
I asked Lemon that day which umbrella rig setup he preferred. His answer was Yum's Yumbrella outfitted with Gene Larew Sweet Swimmer swimbaits.
Although I was surprised a week later when I heard that a new lake record bass had been caught on Grand, and astounded by the fact the guy who'd caught it had been the same person I'd visited with outside the BOK Center, it wasn't a shock to learn how Lemon caught that fish – on a Yumbrella rigged with Larew Sweet Swimmers.
Through a series of bass fishing contacts, I got Lemon's phone number, learned the details of his catch, and we had a good laugh about our chance meeting at the Classic.
Classic champion Cliff Pace would appreciate Lemon's reaction after he caught the 12-pounder that day. Another angler in a nearby boat offered to put it on a set of scales. Lemon said he didn't have time for that; he and Smith were trying to win the tournament, and it was going to take more than one big bass to do it.
He was right. Their 24.95-pound total took first place by only 1.24 pounds.
Lemon stole the show that day when he brought the 12-pounder to the weigh-in stage.