Not the ending I wished for…

I did not get on the fish today that I needed. It doesn’t look like I’m going to make the cut.

I’m writing this one before the weigh-in is official. If things change I’ll add a little something at the end. But for now I think it’ll work best if I tell you how I feel right now. Sometimes that’s the right way to tell a story — raw, unvarnished and without the benefit of hindsight.

Today wasn’t really a bad day. It just wasn’t good enough. I had to make two tough decisions early. I’ll tell you about them now. We’ll see how they work out after all the weights are in and are official.

I hooked two keepers in the tongue this morning. I was afraid they’d die and I wouldn’t be able to cull them later. (For those of you who don’t know, you can’t cull a dead fish.) I thought I’d be able to catch some bigger ones later this afternoon. I didn’t want to take a chance on not being allowed to upgrade.

I’m guessing they might have given me a couple of extra pounds, but you never know for sure. It’ll definitely hurt if it looks like they’d have put me above the cut, but this is a professional sport. You have to make decisions. We’ll see in a little while.

It’s tough. I’ll not deny that. This is not the ending I wished for…

No matter all of that, this has been a wonderful Classic. I was told that there was something like 4,500 people at the launch this morning. That’s a heck of a lot of people to get up early in the morning to watch a bunch of bass boats leave the ramp.

We — all the anglers — appreciate it, or at least all the ones I’ve talked to anyway. Knowing that the crowd is behind you, and that they respect what you do, makes all the difference in the world. It creates a sense of pride that’s hard to describe.

This area of Alabama is where it’s at when it comes to bass fishing, and we showed that in no uncertain terms over the last couple of days. I couldn’t be prouder to be a resident of Guntersville and a near resident of Birmingham.

On behalf of myself, Holly, the kids and everyone in our family I want to say thanks. It couldn’t have been any better.  We all hope tomorrow that Lake Guntersville shows everyone what big sacks of bass look like. I know she’s capable.

I don’t know what to tell you about tomorrow. I’m being pulled in 500 different directions. I have family responsibilities, old friends and colleagues I haven’t seen in 20 years and sponsors at the EXPO. I’ll do the best I can to visit with everyone.

Final Note: It’s in the books. My cull decision didn’t make any difference. I missed the cut. Congratulations to all they guys who did make it, and I’ll see everyone somewhere around this great country of ours.

Chris Lane’s column appears weekly on You can also find him on or visit his website,

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