2013 Classic: The one that got away

By now we’ve all read the stories of victory and triumph at the 2013 Bassmaster Classic. We have a winner and any number of anglers who are satisfied — more or less — with their performance.

But, there are also stories of heartbreak at this Classic. Most are about fish that might have made a difference if they’d only made it to the livewell, but some serve only to remind us that sometimes the fish win.

Brent Chapman (Day 2)

I didn’t have a fish until probably 11:00 a.m. I finally pulled out my spinning rod with 8-pound-test line and a shaky head. I hooked a 2 1/2-pounder. I got it to the boat where it bounced off the side of the boat. It fell back into the water, still hooked. Instead of lipping it I tried to swing it into the boat. It broke off.

That fish would have increased my bag by at least 6 or 8 ounces. I missed the cut by 1 ounce. That one hurt.

Boyd Duckett (Day2)

This morning I pulled into a new place. I fished a Rat-L-Trap in shallow water. I immediately caught a couple of keepers but lost one that was around 4 pounds. I didn’t do anything wrong as far as I know. She just jumped off. I left and ultimately weighed a limit to make the cut.

If I’d landed that 4-pounder, I’d have been up in the standings and would have had a chance for a decent finish — not close enough to win but a heck of a lot closer than 23rd place puts me.

Shaw Grigsby (Day 3)

This one’s on me, all the way. In practice, I found a dock and cable that run out into the lake about 6 inches or so off the bottom. I caught a fish there. So today I went back. But, instead of getting the right angle on the cable so that I could pull the fish out, I went lazy and threw over the cable.

Of course, I hooked one. He ran under the cable and broke me off. I could live with that except that I know better than to throw across something like that. That was just plain stupid. There’s no excuse for it.

Greg Hackney (Day 2)

I fished around a dock today with a big cable that runs out into the water. A 5- or 6-pounder came out from underneath it and grabbed my crankbait. It didn’t take long for her to wrap my line around a cable. It was the only cable that didn’t run to the bank. It ran out into the abyss. I didn’t want to put a lot of pressure on her because I was using fairly light line. That was a mistake.

I pulled one way. She pulled the other. Then she opened her mouth and the bait fell out. If I had that fish I’d have an outside chance tomorrow. The way it is, I’m just going fishing. I did get my lure back, though. That’s a positive.

Jared Lintner (Day 1)

A giant ate my jerkbait at a big old pine tree. It was in the same place I’d caught a 4-pounder in practice. I played her up and down the bank until I finally got her to the boat. She wallered around on top for a minute. I couldn’t believe how big she was — a good 7 or 8 pounds. Then she came off. Nothing spectacular, the lure just fell out of her mouth.

I was down on my knees in disbelief for a couple of seconds before I started fishing again. On my second cast I hooked one about 3 1/2 pounds. I was still angry and frustrated and had lost my composure. I tried to boat-swing her into the boat. She got off, too. I laid my rod down, turned my back on that spot and never looked back as I left.

Aaron Martens (Day 1)

My day sucked. I had seven bites and only landed three fish. The water was cold where I was fishing. The bite was funny. I couldn’t get a good hook set. If I’d have caught them all, I’d probably have 13 or 15 pounds. Instead I don’t even have 7 pounds. My day sucked.

Jason Quinn (Day 1)

This is the toughest fishing day I’ve had in a while. I don’t usually lose too many but today I lost two in the last 10 minutes. One was around 3 pounds and the other was around 7 pounds. I weighed four fish today. Either one of the two I lost would have made a big difference, especially that big one.

Gerald Swindle (Day 2)

First thing this morning, I headed to a stretch of riprap where I thought I could catch one cranking. Within five minutes, I had a 4-pounder in the boat. In the next 30 minutes I had two good ones pull off. I thought I was on something. I stayed on that bank until 11:00 a.m. without another bite, doing nothing but wasting time.

Sometimes catching fish, and getting bites like that, can be a bad thing. It’ll cause you to chase a ghost. Losing those fish gave me a false sense of hope. Thank goodness I had enough sense to leave when I did, but I still didn’t make the cut.