Smith Mountain Lake, will be home to the fourth Elite Series event of the 2009 season. The lake spans a little over 20,000 surface acres with more than 500 miles of shoreline, most of it characterized by coves, docks and boathouses.
In this photo gallery, you'll find weigh-in images from Day One of the 2009 Elite Series Blue Ridge Brawl on Smith Mountain Lake, near Moneta, Virginia.
In this photo gallery you will see images of the 2008 elite series Citrus Slam on the Kissimmee chain of lakes in Florida.
In this photo gallery you will see the anglers make last minute preparations before the take off. The first group of anglers makes their way onto Lake Wheeler for the start of the Evan Williams Bourban Dixie Duel.
In this photo gallery, you'll find weigh-in images from Day Two of the 2009 Elite Series Diamond Drive on Lake Dardanelle, near Russelville, Arkansas.
In this photo gallery, you'll find images of the anglers as they prepare to launch on Day Three of the 2009 Elite Series Battle on the Border on Lake Amistad, near Del Rio, Texas.
The biggest prize is now out of reach. Your expectations for the Bassmaster Classic were not even close to fulfilled. You are disappointed. You are more disappointed the more you think about it. It is very difficult to pull back and look at the big picture. Once you get to that point, you can see how lucky you really are.
Is it over or has it just begun? About 10 anglers usually have just begun their Classic after the first day. The rest are done. If you are in or around the Top 10 in the standings after day one, you are now in the hunt to win the biggest bass tournament on earth. If you are out of roughly the Top 10, you don't have a shot to win. Take your money and enjoy your experience. I can tell you that fishing on the third day beats the heck out of working the Bassmaster Classic Outdoors Expo. Being that I have never been in the Top 10 after day one, I can only tell how the rest feels.
After all a Classic angler has been through, here is the big day. You have a grueling process to qualify. You come to pre-practice and scout. You buy and/or order extra and new baits. You have to wait and think about it all the time. You practice more. You find yourself in a whirlwind of media, excitement, jitters, and the best bass anglers in the world. Now the first day of the Bassmaster Classic is here. It has all culminated to this.
Bryan Schmidt is fishing his first Bassmaster Classic. He qualified for the Classic by winning the BASS Federation Nation Championship. He is from Olney, Texas. About 3,500 people live there. Many more people will attend the weigh-ins for the Bassmaster Classic than live in his hometown. You would guess that nerves are running high through Bryan's whole body this week. You would guess right.