I qualified for my first GEICO Bassmaster Classic back in 1997, which coincidentally was held right here in Birmingham.
The Lee family dog seems less excited about a second Classic than any other member of the family.
The Japanese anglers' fans definitely put the most effort into signage.
Writers and photographers are swarming KVD's boat. He has 4 rods out on his deck. He's not shy about what is using. I see one of his Strike King KVD square bill crankbaits. There is also a Strike King Red Eye Shad. I also see some kind of a swimming jig. I don't believe I've ever seen that bait before. It might be a prototype.
Rick Morris is the current leader with rods out of the locker -- 12 of his own RPM sticks on the front deck and 4 in the passenger rod holder. He said he'll start with a variety of bladed baits, different weights to allow for different retrieve speeds. Then if he sacks a good bag he'll switch to swimbaits -- he's got a Bull Shad, Baitsmith and 3:16 on the deck. Big bait, big bite.
Skeet Reese pulls up to the official dock, and he is immediately swarmed by writers and photographers. He is one of the favorites to win the Classic because he has won a tournament here at Lake Gumtersville before. I notice that Skeet has no rods out on his boat's deck. He is playing it close to the vest. He doesn't want other anglers to know what he is going to be fishing with. I suspect that some of his rods will have jigs tied to the line. When Reese won here before, a jig was one of his primary lures. He is my pick to win this Classic.
Former Alabama resident Randall Tharp wishes it was "10 degrees and snowy and real crappy." He won't get that, but the changing weather will require some adjustments. One thing he may do is fish a lipless crankbait on both braid and fluorocarbon, depending on whether he needs the lure to "slow down and hover" a bit more.
What lure type will win the 2014 GEICO Classic? It's anybody's guess, but here's what the competitor's think.
Josh Bertrand, fishing his first Classic, said that getting off to a good start will be key. He expects to see a couple of 30 lb bags, and believes it will be critical to catch at least 20 today to stay in contention. He's glad to have endured the Classic pre-event festivities, and now he's ready to fish. "I'm ready to go catch 'em."
If you could win a lot of money by correctly predicting the winning weight of the Classic , what would your bet be?