If Grand has a cold winter, could that weight be lower? Possibly: The November weight range is low- to mid-teens.
But don't forget the "Elite Factor." In other words, these guys are such great fishermen they often have higher-than-average weights – particularly the winners, who also often catch the winning fish doing something different than most fisherman on a particular water body have done.
Anglers To Watch
Picking anglers who should do well in any event is an educated guess that can depend on many different factors. In this case, we'll pick five using what BassGold tells us.
Jason Christie is first on the list. He definitely knows the lake, and if you scroll down the list of March patterns in BassGold he is the only Classic competitor to show up – three times, for consecutive mid-March BFL wins (2006-08).
"BassGold's guess is as good as mine for the amount of time I've had on the water in February at Grand," he says. "I really don't know what to expect. Most of the guys who fish there tend to fish shallow, but there definitely will be some fish deep."
Next on the list is Brent Chapman, about to fish his first season as the reigning Toyota Tundra Bassmaster Angler of the Year. Brent grew up in Kansas, but in his formative years spent a lot of time fishing upland reservoirs in Oklahoma and Missouri. "I've spent a lot of time at Grand, but not in February," he says.
He feels "great" about the Classic, and one reason for that is a lot of practice – on other upland reservoirs. "I've fished Lake of the Ozarks and Table Rock in February, and my home lake (Quivera, in Kansas), and they all fish fairly similarly. So I have a pretty good idea of what I'm doing and what I need to look for."
In other words, he knows what BassGold shows to be true: waters of the same type, even far apart, fish very similarly, and he's counting on that to help him in the world's most important fishing tournament.
Aaron Martens, arguably the best fisherman never to have won a Classic, is next. He thinks fish will be deep "and probably on the bank too. If you can figure out both [patterns], that's the ideal situation."
Edwin Evers – another semi-local favorite also due for a Classic win – feels the same way about it: "If we've had a normal, cold winter, I think it's going to be a matter of just trying to get some bites" whether shallow or deep. He's scouted the lake extensively and says, "If I get something going, I'll be able to duplicate it all over the lake."
Lots more anglers could be on this list – like Mike McLelland, whom Zona notes is a jerkbait master, and Tommy Biffle, who has a little-known jerkbait-filled past on Grand. But we just can't leave out Kevin VanDam. Why? How about three Top 10s, including two wins, in the last five Classics. And one was a third-place finish on an upland reservoir, Georgia's Lake Hartwell.
Even though "Grand Lake is extremely diverse even from one end to the other," he says, bass "don't ever get real deep there. But the big variable is going to be what happens in the 14 days before the Classic. That's the thing, paying close attention to the weather and water conditions."
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