2014 GEICO Bassmaster Classic presented by Diet Mountain Dew and GoPro
Lake Guntersville - Birmingham, AL, Feb 21 - 23, 2014

Setting the records straight

Roger Maris got an asterisk next to his name when he hit 61 home runs. Maybe we need some asterisks for the 2014 Classic

The number is ... 5 ... for now

Much of the confusion results from the fact that the Bassmaster Classic hasn't always had a five bass daily creel limit. In fact, it hasn't even always been called the "Bassmaster Classic." (That's a story for another day.)

The creel limit has been five, six, seven, eight and 10 bass per day ... depending on which Classic you're talking about. It wasn't until 1994 that the five bass limit actually "stuck," though it was five in 1980 and a few times in between. Before that, it had mostly been seven or 10.

Kevin VanDam holds the mark for heaviest total catch in a Classic with a five-bass limit (69-11 in 2011), but Rick Clunn still has the overall mark with 75-9 (1984).Seigo SaitoKevin VanDam holds the mark for heaviest total catch in a Classic with a five-bass limit (69-11 in 2011), but Rick Clunn still has the overall mark with 75-9 (1984).

Five makes sense for a lot of reasons, but it's no magic number (all "Schoolhouse Rock" fans know that three is a magic number). For one thing, five is a good number for conservation reasons. For another, it's a manageable number for livewells — especially on extremely productive fisheries. And it's usually well within state creel regulations, so you don't have to change the tournament limit from venue to venue.

But the lower you drop the creel limit for tournaments, the more luck is involved. The same is true for tournament rounds or competition days. (More competition days = less luck.) Think about it this way: It's more challenging to catch 50 bass than 10 bass, and it's tougher to catch 10 bass than it is to catch five. Make it four ... or three ... or two and you've essentially turned it into a big fish contest. Make it one and the entire competition boils down to a single cast.

How often has a less talented, less experienced angler in your boat caught the biggest bass of the day?

So let's have some respect for the records. Let's put them in perspective. And let's realize that the sport (and the Classic) didn't always have a five-bass limit, didn't start with a five-bass limit, and it may not always have a five-bass limit moving forward. The same forces that brought us here, may one day take us somewhere else. Our sport is always evolving. The same is true for baseball, basketball and (especially) football.

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