A popular saying goes "there are lies, damn lies and statistics." Here are some statistics that offer a precision look at what's going on at the 2011 Bassmaster Classic on the Louisiana Delta.
The fishing's good! The Delta is on pace to produce 1,482 pounds, 5 ounces of bass. That would be third best all-time behind 2009 (Red River, La.) and 2006 (Lake Tohopekaliga, Fla.).
The average weight brought in by a competitor was 11.11 pounds — fourth best all-time, behind the Red River (2009), Toho (2006) and Alabama's Lay Lake (2007).
The average bass so far in this year's Classic weighed 2.5023 pounds — sixth best in history. The biggest came from the St. Lawrence River in 1980 and weighed nearly 3 pounds.
Day 1 leader, Aaron Martens, is on pace to weigh in 61-5, the heaviest Classic total in the 5-bass-limit era.
Greg Hackney, a pre-tournament favorite and the only Louisiana resident in the championship, is currently in 46th place. If he stays there, it will be the second worst performance by a resident of the host state, just behind Boyd Duckett's 49th-place finish last year.
This is the second time Aaron Martens has led the championship at the end of a competition day. He also led after Day 2 of the 2005 Classic on Pittsburgh's Three Rivers before finishing second to Kevin VanDam. This year, KVD is third after the first round; in 2005, he was fifth.
Day 1 marked the second time in his career that Martens had the heaviest catch of a round. On Day 3 of the 2002 Classic, won by Jay Yelas on Alabama's Lay Lake, he also had the top daily weight. Martens finished second in that Classic too.
Marten's 20-pound, 7-ounce limit is the heaviest ever weighed in a Delta Classic, eclipsing Brent Chapman's 19-15 from Day 3 of the 1999 championship by half a pound.
Day 1 also marked the second time that Martens had the daily big bass in a Classic. He did it before on the first day of the 2009 Classic with a 7-1 largemouth. The 5-9 bass he caught today is about average for big bass winners in Delta Classics. The lunkers, 8 pounds and more, that many predicted have not shown themselves yet.
With a win, Martens can join Mark Davis, Michael Iaconelli, Skeet Reese and VanDam as the only anglers in B.A.S.S. history with a Classic victory, a Toyota Tundra Bassmaster Angler of the Year title, $1 million in career prize money and a tournament catch of better than 100 pounds (Century Club). He would also become the 13th angler to have won both the Classic and AOY.
If Dale Hightower can hang onto sixth place and Brandon Palaniuk can move up one spot in the final standings (he's currently 11th), it will mark the first time since 1994 (and only the fourth time ever) that two B.A.S.S. Federation Nation anglers finished in the top 10 at the Classic.