BIRMINGHAM, Ala. — The six B.A.S.S. Nation anglers who are competing in the 2014 GEICO Bassmaster Classic presented by Diet Mountain Dew and GoPro are in Birmingham, amid the frenzy that accompanies the Classic.
"People have been asking me if I'm nervous," said Tim Johnston, the representative from the Western division, "and I say, 'no, I'm not nervous!'
"And I wasn't — until this morning," said Johnston.
All the Classic competitors did a run-through in the arena this morning as the show producers were doing a test run.
"That's when my heart started booming," Johnston added. "I just couldn't believe all of it — the videos, the lights, the audio. It's amazing. I'm so glad my family is here to see it."
The show is just one part, though: The more important part is the fishing.
"The weather just keeps changing," said Paul Mueller, the competitor from the East. "Every time you turn around, it's something different. It's going to be a little windy, then very windy. Cold, rain, sun — we're just not going to know until we get there."
Practice has been good according to all six — at least, they have the same things to say about it as all the pros do. They tend to shrug their shoulders and say, "It's been good" or "It's been OK."
Of course, not a single person competing in the Classic wants to give up much info. Many of them are sandbagging, which is to be expected.
Everyone starts from the same 'zero' mark. No matter how many times you've fished Guntersville — like Alabama's Coby Carden — or how little, no one will know until tomorrow who can find the goods.