Missing the first cut for the first three Elite events of the year isn’t a death sentence for your season, but your Bassmaster Classic hopes are definitely on something more severe than just life support. Only one angler in Elite history missed each of the three first cuts and still made it to the championship. That was Aaron Martens last year.
This year, plenty of anglers missed the first cuts at the Sabine River and Falcon, most notably Tommy Biffle, Paul Elias, Davy Hite, Tim Horton, Randy Howell, Mike Iaconelli, Jared Lintner, Brandon Palaniuk and Greg Vinson. Of course, Vinson (leading after the first day) and Randy Howell (tied for fourth) are turning things around in a big way here at Bull Shoals.
Biffle (88th after Day 1), Hite (94th) and Palaniuk (98th) are still struggling, and even a strong day today isn’t likely to put them inside the cut and fishing tomorrow.
If they miss the cut and finish deep in the 80s or 90s, their Classic hopes are dwindling fast. Yes, they could average a 20th or 25th place finish for the final five events, but that's an AOY-type pace and few anglers achieve it for such a long run. Another bad finish at Bull Shoals probably means they need to win an Elite event (or an Open) if they hope to qualify for the 2014 Classic.