The tournament hadn't even started and Bill Lowen has already had a visit from an emergency medic. In the Birmingham boat yard this morning, preparing for practice, Lowen closed his livewell lid and a small piece of gravel popped up and lodged in his eye. BASS staff called an ambulance and they quickly got it out. At takeoff this morning Lowen said the vision in that eye was still a little blurry but he thought he'd be fine. "Wish I'd had my Vicious Fishing sunglass on at the time," said Lowen with a smile.
Choose anglers with low percentage ownership for a chance to beat the rest of the field.
Mike Iaconelli said that this is not a typical Classic practice day: "Usually at this point I'm expanding and rechecking my areas, in more of an expansion mode," he said. "I got very little information last week, so my plan today is to take those little bits and pieces of information and find new stuff. I only caught 10 keepers in three days so I'm in hunting mode."
Fred Roumbanis said his key goal today is to find 4 or 5 potential starting spots. "I'm not saying it'll definitely be won in the first few hours, but you'll have to catch a couple of key fish early," he said. He'd like multiple places in case there's a boat sitting there when he arrives, also because he expects to have to "fish on the fly" and "abandon stuff every day."
It's been almost 19 years since Mark Davis won the Classic at High Rock Lake in North Carolina. What would a second title mean to him? "It would allow me to retire," said the Arkansas pro, who recently turned 50. "A lot more deer hunting and crappie fishing."
John Crews is one of the first pros to pull up to the dock. He said the water temp is right at 45 degrees. He's surprised that it didn't warm up more but "I don't care what it is as long as they bite."
I may have unnecessarily tempted the weather gods with my earlier report of balmy temperatures. We had a few unexpected raindrops on the way into town. They've stopped, but the clouds are barreling across the sky and the wind is howling here at the take-off site.
As we caravan to the lake, we just passed a small town bank with a large sign announcing the temperature -- 59 degrees. That's warmer than it ever got last year at Grand Lake. It means that all of the heavy outerwear I brought will likely stay in the hotel room all week. That's fine with me. I'd rather focus on sunblock and short sleeves than insulated boots, dry gloves and face masks.