When this year's Bassmaster Classic officially begins just after daybreak on February 19, the collective adrenalin rush of the 51 competitors will probably be enough to push over some of the pine trees surrounding Lay Lake. In the years I have been fortunate enough to attend the Classic, this one has already generated more excitement than any I remember in a long time.
In this photo gallery, you'll find images of several Elite Series anglers who name their picks to perform well in the 2010 Bassmaster Classic on Lay Lake near Birmingham, Alabama.
Today was the last practice day before competition starts on Friday. I had a pretty good practice, all things considered. At least I accomplished some of the things I wanted to get done. That's not to say it's getting much better out there, though. It's still really tough.
At the Classic qualifier level there isn't as much difference between these guys' fishing skills as you might think. Longtime competitors didn't get here by accident. You don't survive in this business if you can't fish.
The final practice day is now history. I can honestly say that despite the tough, nasty conditions I'm pumped and ready to go. I might have something going out there. You never know for sure but I think I have a couple of patterns that'll work for me.
Day 1 of practice was one of the few times I've fished in an absolute blizzard. Our predictions of this cold winter Classic are coming true.
In this photo gallery, you'll find images from the 2008 Federation Central Divisional held on Lewis & Clark Lake near Yankton, South Dakota.
In this photo gallery, you'll find images from the 2008 Federation Northern Divisional held on Lake Winnebago near Oshkosh, Wisconsin.
Weather has dominated the discussions about the 40th Bassmaster Classic that begins Friday on Lay Lake, as winter conditions continue to hammer the southeast to create what surely will be the coldest championship in history.
Kevin VanDam gives us his perspective on rookie qualifiers at the Bassmaster Classic. Why do so many of them struggle? What makes this one tournament so difficult? Is there anything they can do to lessen the challenge?