Do you believe in miracles — and, in particular, bass tournament miracles?
I do. I've seen them happen … or watched them on TV or read about them in magazines. When Rick Clunn came from 14th place and more than nine pounds behind to win the 1990 Bassmaster Classic on the James River it was a miracle — nothing less.
But miracles don't happen very often, and expecting a miracle is a good way to wind up disappointed.
With Ken's Comeback Formula, I've said that any anglers trailing by more than the weight of the tournament big bass going into the final round (third or fourth day) of a tournament with a five-bass limit is done. Put a fork in 'em. For an angler in that position to come back and win, it would take a miracle.
So what exactly is a miracle in bass tournament terms? They have at least two and sometimes three parts.
The requisite first part of a miracle starts with something pretty mundane — a great catch by an angler fairly near the lead (a bit more than the weight of a tournament big bass behind the leader). That "great catch" needs to be the biggest of the day by anyone in the field and it probably needs to be the biggest single day catch of the entire tournament.
The second requisite part of a tournament miracle is that the leader stumble. If he keeps his pace, he's almost certainly going to win, but if he slips — and especially if he slips a lot — he opens the door for another angler to take the win away.
The final element of a miracle — and it's not necessarily a part of every miracle; it only happens when the eventual winner comes from way back in the pack — is when everyone between the eventual winner and the leader also stumbles, clearing a path to the win. This was the amazing part of Clunn's miracle win in the 1990 Classic and the most surprising part of Jason Christie's win from 11th place this year at Bull Shoals.