Denny Brauer (1995 and 2010), Al Lindner (1977), Stan Sloan (1974) and Forrest Wood (1972) all finished last in a Classic, and all are in the Fresh Water Fishing Hall of Fame. Lindner and Wood are also in the IGFA Hall of Fame.
Some other notables who finished last are B.A.S.S. legend John Powell, who took the last spot in the inaugural Classic (1971); Wendell Mann (1973), who was the first B.A.S.S. Federation angler to qualify; lure making giant Lonnie Stanley (1985); and Hank Gibson (1990), the first foreign national to qualify for the event.
In all, nine anglers from the B.A.S.S. Nation have finished last in the Classic, beginning with Mann. Most recently, Gerry Jooste and Dave Palmer tied for last in 2005 at the toughest Classic in history.
But it's not just the amateurs who have struggled. Plenty of pros have bombed along the way, including 10 current or former Elite Series anglers.
Brauer (1995 and 2010), Shaw Grigsby (2012), Greg Hackney (2005), Horton (2000 and 2009), Iaconelli (2006), Monroe (2005 and 2008), Clark Reehm (2011), Mike Reynolds (1999), Bernie Schultz (1998) and Brian Snowden (2005) all finished last in the most important tournament of the year.
This year, five of those anglers are back and hoping not to repeat their worst performances. Grigsby, Hackney, Iaconelli, Jooste and Monroe are looking for redemption and the trophy that will make everyone forget about the bad tournaments.
Can they do it? Of course they can! It's happened before. Twice an angler who finished last has come back to win a later championship. Bryan Kerchal was the first to do it — in back-to-back Classics, no less. He was last in 1993, but the champ in 1994. Woo Daves did it, too, though many years apart. After finishing last in 1979, he finally won the championship in 2000 — his 15th try.
Shaw Grigsby could make some history with a win in 2013. Like Kerchal, he'll be going for a worst to first finish. And like Daves, this is his 15th run at the title.
It could happen.