A Bassmaster Classic 40th birthday bash

Looking back, Victoria Centak says she pretty much knew without asking that her husband would choose to celebrate his 40th birthday by taking a trip to the Feb. 18-20 Bassmaster Classic. "I was hoping he'd say the Caribbean, Aruba — anywhere warm," she said. "But he competes in Bassmaster tournaments so I suspected he'd say 'the Classic.' He's such a big fan; it's so totally him.

"And you know what? I'm cool with it," said Centak. "I'm headed to Louisiana, to New Orleans, and you can't beat that." She's a registered nurse; her husband, Scott, who won't actually turn 40 until March 25, is a nursing home administrator. He competes in FLW events and in the Toyota Tundra Bassmaster Weekend Series operated by American Bass Anglers.

Hometown sweethearts from Wilkes-Barre, Pa., they now live near Philadelphia in Langhorne, where the snow was almost 3 feet deep the first week of February. She spent many of those cold winter hours designing a birthday dream trip for her husband. She mapped out where the Classic's launches will be in Westwego, La., and plans to get up before dawn to go with Scott. She said she will sit with him during all three weigh-ins. She'll be with him at the big fishing-gear show, the Outdoors Expo, that runs concurrently with the Classic. She booked a guide to take them out on the Louisiana Delta.

She even contacted B.A.S.S. to ask for ideas. B.A.S.S. offered — and the Centaks accepted — a special backstage tour of the New Orleans Arena, where the daily weigh-ins will take place. To top off the trip, she bought train tickets for their return journey; traveling by train was her husband's idea of the perfect way to top his dream trip. Naturally, she has mentioned the New Orleans trip to her co-workers. "They're like, 'What? The Bassmaster Classic? Fishing? And the train?' I'm like, 'Yup, we're doin' it all,'" she said.

She might not have let on to them, but she will admit to being a fan of competitive fishing. "I don't even tell Scott this, but I'm like a closet fan," she said. She was introduced to pro fishing in 2005, when she and Scott traveled across the state to see the Bassmaster Classic in Pittsburgh. "I'll be honest: In 2005, when he said he wanted to go, I was a little reluctant," she said. "Once I got inside the arena, into that atmosphere, felt that charge from the crowd, I was wowed. It's really exciting to be there in person for a big weigh-in."

*Bassmaster.com provides full details of the Feb. 18-20 competition on the Louisiana Delta out of New Orleans. Among the fan activities are the Bassmaster Classic Outdoors Expo presented by Dick's Sporting Goods at the Ernest Morial Convention Center; and the daily weigh-ins at the New Orleans Arena, where doors will open at 3 p.m. CST. All events are free and open to the public.