Don Barone pens an open letter to Classic qualifier Tim Johnston, Mr. 150-to-1, as he prepares to fish the tournament of his dreams.
As we sat under the bridge waiting for the fleet to come in, one of those who passed us was David Walker's GEICO boat. We followed him to a nearby spot and he had by far the biggest grin of all of the competitors we've seen today. He's won on the TN River before, can he do it again?
Local angler Dave Roberts of Arab, Ala., likes that the Classic coming to town has meant some spiffying up at Tom Jackson Park, where he launches. It's so fresh you can smell the asphalt, and the new dock is good for old codgers, he said. On the other side if the point, City Park, where the anglers will takeoff, didn't even really exist, at least for boaters. The breakwall and new dock should serve the town well for years. "It was a dramatic improvement," Leary said.
For the better part of an hour it seemed to me like they'd canceled the Classic -- not a competition boat to be seen, just the occasional local. Now, as time comes to a close, there's movement afoot. As Overstreet and I worked our way back toward the launch, three wrapped boats passed us. We also saw Patrick Bone for the third time, in a new area but on the same type of structure as the other two. Perhaps he has a pattern that he can run in multiple areas.
You can navigate the Expo easily with a web-enabled application custom-made for Classic visitors.
Bassmaster.com staff member Mike Suchan has been busy working all day covering the practice at Guntersville.
Got "big heads"? Bring them to the Classic to show who you're rooting for! Your big head might get on TV!
Boyd Duckett is having a little work done to his new residence on Lake Guntersville -- the entire left wing, as well as updating the facade on the original structure to match. To get the whole thing on Darren's 300 mm lens, we had to back way off into the main channel. "Further ... More ... More ... " Leary was taking us to where he thought the Classic would be won. "Best grass left in the lake."
We found Gerald Swindle and Todd Faircloth in close proximity to each other both working lipless crankbaits. Both were also slapping grass off of the lures before each cast. The spots they're fishing are textbook prespawn spots; they're very near the main lake but also adjacent to shallower, flatter areas that the fish will move toward to spawn. Add a little bit of grass and bam, you've got a prime staging area.
With less than two hours left on the water, we're retracing our steps. We found Patrick Bone not far from where we saw him this morning and now we're watching Fred Roumbanis near where we previously saw some other competitors. He said he caught a limit today after only landing one a day on each of last week's three practice days.