2007 Bassmaster Classic Lay Lake - Birmingham, AL, Feb 23 - 25, 2007

Paradise Point Marina quaint, but not easily found

It's not easy finding Paradise Point Marina if you're searching the web. Or at least it's not easy finding the one in Alabama.

 The launching spot of the $500,000 first-place prize Bassmaster Classic is a 1,000- square foot convenience store that offers Slush Puppies, sandals and sunglasses.

 The passerby can also purchase the majority of their basic tackle needs and a glass of Milos famous sweet tea.

 And if any visiting angler gets a late start, they needn't worry. Paradise Point Marina is complete with a big bass mailbox sitting on the porch for after-hour launch fees.

 On a Rowland

 Zell Rowland was killing time before takeoff on Wednesday by chatting with fellow competitors and observers.

 He started with Iaconelli's observer, ribbing him about what it might be like riding with the Angler of the Year.

 "I'm sure glad I'm not riding with Ike today," Rowland said. "When you see all those tree stumps coming, just close your eyes. That's just his way of getting his heart warmed up enough to dance."

 Then he moved on to Ish Monroe, talking about his poor selection of tackle.

 "You sound like you're a little worried," Monroe said.

 "Hell, I know you ain't swinging today," Rowland responded.

 "Oh, is that how it's going to be?" Monroe asked.

 "Yeah, but if you are swinging, I might just pull in behind you and do a little swinging of my own," Rowland said. "No, we all know this is the day where you just drive around and fish everything you haven't fished before."

 Rowland finished ruthlessly with Bill Lowen, who is fishing his first Classic.

 "You know what we used to do with guys like you?" Rowland asked, not leaving time for an answer. "We used take all your tackle and sell it."

 "Man this isn't right, you guys are used to this kind of stuff," Lowen said, shaking his head.

 The road less traveled
Timmy Horton was watching as Steve Kennedy was tying on his baits.

 "You can't take the chatter bait off Steve," Timmy Horton said jokingly to the 2006 Rookie of the Year.

 "Hey, I'm going deep if everybody else is going shallow," Kennedy responded. "And if everybody else goes deep, I'll go shallow."

 Mayne Attraction
When ESPN's Kenny Mayne, who was at the launch working on a piece for SportsCenter, asked Michael Iaconelli what type of fish he was looking to catch, the Angler of the Year answered quickly.

 "I'm looking for a nice blonde that's about 110 pounds," he said.

 Plenty of Seating
Lining the area where the boats are launched, and continuing along with a nice view of the docks where the anglers will sit, are four metal bleachers that can hold about 200 people each.

 "We should have enough seating for about 1,000 people," said tournament director Trip Weldon at the angler meeting on Tuesday. "We are expecting a nice crowd at the launch."

 Hungry?
Each angler was given a sack lunch … or at least a sack of food. Aaron Martens pulled his out at 6:30 a.m. and started hammering the ham sandwich.

 But when he gets hungry in the middle of the day, he might want to hit up Steve Kennedy for some pizza.

 "Man, I fished with Steve a while back and he had pizza in one hand and a rod in the other hand, and he was wacking em'," Timmy Horton said. "I brought in five fish that weighed about nine pounds and he caught three that weighed 12."

 To which Kennedy responded, "I've got pizza in the boat today, and I'll have it in there on the tournament day, too. I guarantee it."

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