Casey Ashley, Terry Scroggins, Gerald Swindle and Gary Klein answered independently to the same five Bassmaster Classic related questions at Media Day. Their answers differed, of course – except when asked what lure will be most popular on Lake Guntersville this weekend during the 44th Bassmaster Classic.
Name one lure that will get the most work among the entire Classic field?
Ashley: lipless crankbait
Scroggins: lipless crankbait in some shade of red/orange craw
Swindle: ½-ounce lipless crankbait
Klein: lipless crankbait
Estimate the daily average weight the winning angler will need to catch to win this Classic?
Ashley: 25-pounds a day
Scroggins: 27-pounds a day
Swindle: 25-pounds a day
Klein: 27-pounds a day
Your favorite personal Classic memory thus far in your career?
Ashley: The 2008 Classic at Lake Hartwell, SC. It was 40 miles from my hometown, and it was my very first Classic to qualify for– it doesn’t get much better than that.
Scroggins: I’d say Day Two in the 2006 Classic at Lake Toho, FL. I caught a 30-pound limit that day pitching a YUM Dinger to lily pads. The next day, the wind blew 40-mph and messed-up the whole area where I caught ‘em the day before.
Swindle: Can I choose two? First, would be the very first Classic I qualified for at High Rock Lake, sitting there in that tunnel, backstage at the weigh-in, hearing that loud music, and the fans cheering. You never forget that. Second, 2011 - learning what it feels like to share the weigh-in stage with a true champion – Kevin Oldham.
Klein: 2003 in New Orleans, the tournament officials checked our livewells backstage, and indicated they were pretty sure I was going to win. I allowed myself to believe that long enough to experience all the emotions of finally winning a Classic – before reality came moments later when I finished second.
Amid the sensory overload of the Bassmaster Classic, what do you do in the 10 minutes before your boat number is called at morning take-off to clear your head?
Ashley: I clear my head on the way to the ramp by listening to Kenny Chesney or Eric Church.
Scroggins: Ten minutes before take-off, I’m thinking about whether I need to go to the restroom – that depends how strong the coffee is that morning.
Swindle: I pray. And not for fish. God has way more to take care of than me catching a bass. I pray for peace and safety during the competition day.
Klein: Idling out to blast-off is one of the greatest parts of my job. The loud music fades, Dave Mercer’s voice fades - and mentally you start leaving it all behind.
There are a lot of weather risks associated with having a Classic in late winter. If you were a 1-man planning committee, what week of the year, and on what fishery, would you host a Classic?
Ashley: The second week of September, anywhere in the southeastern U.S., except Florida.
Scroggins: Mid-June. The kids are out of school, so more families could attend the Classic. We could go anywhere that time of year and the fishing should be good, but if I was picking one – it might just be Guntersville.
Swindle: Early April on Lake Guntersville. The weather would be better. It’s my favorite lake. And just about anybody could win on Guntersville at that time of year because there are a lot of patterns that work well then.
Klein: There are so many factors to consider when picking a Classic site – hotels, weigh-in arenas, the fishery. But, honestly, aside from the long commute and the added expense of tow vehicle fuel – this one right here is hard to beat. Birmingham is a great host city – and it’s a privilege to compete for a Classic title on Lake Guntersville.