2010 Bassmaster Classic Lay Lake - Birmingham, AL, Feb 19 - 21, 2010

2010 Classic pictures of redemption

Swindle and Lane have shots at redemption

It was a picture not easily forgotten.

Gerald Swindle held his wife in a dark hallway beneath the Birmingham-Jefferson Convention Center before going to address the media. His day's catch had just been disqualified from the Bassmaster Classic for unsafe boating and just had to break the news to a group of fans chanting his name.

He was emotional on stage. He was emotional with the media.

"It was my first time to fish the Classic at Birmingham," Swindle said. "I just wanted it so bad."

It was a picture not easily forgotten.

Russ Lane, the golden local who knew Lay Lake better than anyone in the world, had just swung and missed on the final day, completing what was a disappointing tournament.

All the attention leading up to the event was new to him, but it wasn't lost on him. He wanted to do well for a lot of people, including himself. He emotionally apologized on stage to those he thought he had let down.

"Leading up into that tournament, I really wasn't used to the media attention and it probably made me pretty nervous," Lane said. "I think it takes an angler a while to get used to what comes along with all the hype."

Swindle had two top-10 finishes in his next 23 tournaments with BASS after that Classic. Lane had one top-10 in his next 34 tournaments, and failed to qualify for the Classic in '08 or '09.

"For several tournaments after that, I probably let my emotions get the best of me," Lane said. "I was bound and determined that I was going to fish to win and I let my emotions get the best of me.

"I was really in a funk, making some bad decisions at the wrong time. But I think I've gotten through that. I'm a lot calmer than I used to be."

Swindle also said he's a changed man. The emotion he had coming into the '07 Classic is gone. He's looking for redemption, but he said it's not for himself.

"I'd like redemption more so for the fans," he said. "I'm looking at this tournament as another fishing tournament. I'm coming into this one not emotionally stressed, not any pressure. I'm like Pink Floyd, I'm comfortably numb. I'm not stressed on the redemption side of things.

"I'll do what I do best -- just junk fish around and see what happens.

Neither can place exactly what it is, but both say it's definitely different. Lane said some of it was learning to deal with the media, and Swindle said it could be maturity.

And despite downplaying the home-lake advantage, both are looking forward to a tough tournament. Swindle maybe a little too much.

"These are the type tournaments I really like," he said. "You can outduel people in the cold because the cold will beat them down.

"Now that part of me is a little sick. I don't even want to explain that part. Sometimes I like hunting in the rain -- I don't know why."