Some anglers have won from the lead, while others have stormed back from behind to claim fishing's biggest prize.
Thirty-four-year-old Takahiro Omori, a two-time Classic contender now living in Emory, Texas, became the first Japanese angler to lead the prestigious three-day world championship.
"I have been totally shocked at the magnitude of what winning the Classic has meant." VanDam says. "Without a doubt, bass fishing is far more mainstream than ever before."
With air temperatures pushing the century mark each day and steamy water temperatures above 90 degrees, few bass experts believed the Classic's weight record would fall in the vast Louisiana Delta … except Hite, that is.
Brauer is recovering from back surgery earlier this month aimed at correcting a painful Sciatic nerve problem caused by a bone spur and a calcium deposit that had combined to virtually pinch the nerve off.
Davy Hite won the 29th Classic with a three-day total of 15 bass weighing 55 pounds, 10 ounces; 9-15 more than runner-up Denny Brauer. The Classic was held July 29-31, 1999, in Louisiana Delta, Louisiana.
Denny Brauer of Camdenton, MO., adds to recorded finishes of second, third, fourth and fifth places in his 15 previous Classics. Classic XXVIII (28) was held Aug. 6-8, 1998, in High Rock Lake, North Carolina.
Bryan Kerchal, 23, of Newton, Connecticut, ignored the odds to become the only "amateur" to claim the coveted Classic Champion title and the $50,000 prize that accompanied it. The 24th annual Classic was held July 28-30, 1994, in High Rock Lake, N.C.
Robert Hamilton Jr., caught a total of 21 bass weighing 59 pounds, 6 ounces, the third-highest Classic creel ever. The 22nd annual Clasic Championship was held July 30-Aug.1, 1992, on Lake Logan Martin.