The Bassmaster Classic is a special event for me and one I’ve thought about since I was a 15-year old poring over Bassmaster Magazine.
I’d marvel at the articles and pictures and learned quickly that it was – and still is – the biggest stage in bass fishing.
Like any avid bass angler fan that follows the pros, it has been a longtime goal to compete in it.
It’s amazing what the Classic has grown into over the years and how the public has embraced it. It’s been held in so many iconic arenas and stadiums, and the event attracts thousands of people every year. It still blows me away that we had a Classic weigh-in at Soldier Field in Chicago, a place with a lot of history.
And, of course, there is Houston Astros’ Minute Maid Park and the Superdome in Louisiana. Seeing the enormity of the New Orleans facility and the confetti falling from the top on championship day is unforgettable.
I’ve been to all of them as an exhibitor since 2012 when Chris Lane won on the Red River at Shreveport, La. I was sitting close to the stage the day he won it. He is a good friend, and I was so happy for him.
Since then, I have worked a lot of booths for boat companies, including mine in recent years, and oftentimes didn’t get to see the entire weigh-in.
When I did see it in entirety, I was overwhelmed at how it truly is the biggest spectacle in bass fishing. The crowd noise is deafening at times and sends chills down your spine, especially when the champion is crowned.
The tournament is arguably the most important, but it’s the fans that help make it such a huge success and they show up at the Outdoors Bassmaster Classic Expo as well. It is the biggest display of bass fishing gear, boats and tackle you will see anywhere in the world.
If you’re in the bass fishing business, you need to be there. Thousands of fervent fans are there just to see many of the hottest products first-hand and many are buyers.
Sure, winning Bassmaster Angler of Year may be harder, but to quote Greg Hackney, “The Classic is the deal!” It’s certainly the most prestigious and typically provides a huge financial benefit to the winner.
As much as I enjoy seeing old friends and meeting new people in our Phoenix Boats booth at the Classic, I’m tired of working the floor.
I’m hoping – and certainly ready – to work the Classic as a contender on the water and fulfill that lifelong dream.