A Classic Marshal's day

by Gary Robin

Sitting hunkered down in a bass boat, a hard rain fell as a line of thunderstorms passed by. The start of the second day of the Bassmaster Classic was delayed for 20 minutes as the storms passed. “This day is going to be miserable,” I thought as the water dripped from my rain hood and we waited. My Day 2 pro was Brandon Coulter, and he was sitting down the list around 40th place. “Not much excitement today,” I thought. Boy, was I wrong.

We blasted of,f and the first place we run to is a point about one mile from the launch. After one hour of fishing, Brandon has one spotted bass for 12 ounces. This would be a good time for one of the Coronas advertised on the side of the boat. Coulter then fished an area on a small point inside a marina. It’s 9 a.m., and the party has already started for some as an extremely vulgar 80s hair band knockoff is playing in the background. Me and Brandon both agree we left that type of music in college. The revelers come out to watch Mr. Coulter work and change over to a better taste of 70s music. Bam, Brandon catches a 1-5 spot. Bam, he catches a 2.5 pounder, three in the box. I guess those fish hated the music as much as we did.

We cut out and make a run down lake to Brandon’s “juice,” a deep water hump. In tow are his fanbase - his father, his son and a family friend. Brandon starts fishing and proceeds to give me a deep water lesson I won’t soon forget, as he culls all but the 2-5 pound fish from his box. I learn the fine art of Neko rig, Ned rig and Damiki rig, as he picks them off from brush tops using his graph. This is not something we do a lot of in my home state of Texas and was worth three times the Classic marshal price. We run to another spot, and he culls a 2-2 pounder from the box for a little bigger fish. Brandon now has 15 pounds, and little do we know he is well into contention.

At 2:55 p.m. he decides to run down lake back to the marina area because he had caught bigger fish there in practice. At 3:05 approximately 1 mile from the launch ramp, he has a mechanical issue and we’re stranded. He calls B.A.S.S. Tournament Director Trip Weldon and gets the OK to run his fish in with his dad. He looks at me and asks if I will stay with the boat…of course. His dad runs him back to the ramp; Cliff Pirch comes by and stops to see if I’m good. These guys are all willing to lend a hand to their fellow competitors. His dad comes back and tows Brandon’s boat (and me) back to the ramp. Little did we know that Brandon would wind up 23rd position for the day and make it to Championship Sunday of the first Classic he had ever fished. Wow! You just never know what’s going to happen when you’re out with the greatest bass fishermen in the world. A gloomy, rainy day turned into a sunny and super exciting day I will never forget.