Crain counts his way to the Classic

Second place is a great finish, especially if it could help you into your second Bassmaster Classic.

And once is not enough for the Bassmaster Classic. That’s what 2011 Classic qualifier George Crain says. He wants to fish his way back into the world championship.

On March 30, Crain took a giant step toward a second Classic entry. He finished second overall in the Cabela’s B.A.S.S. Federation Nation Southern Divisional, and claimed the top spot among all Alabama anglers in the Divisional. That gave Crain a ticket to the Cabela’s B.A.S.S. Federation Nation Championship, Oct. 25-27 on Wheeler Lake in Alabama, his home state.

The Monday after the Lake Okeechobee Divisional, Crain was feeling euphoric, even though he led the divisional for two days before Raymond Trudeau of St. Cloud, Fla., put on speed and passed Crain by 6 ounces on the final day.

“I’m on top of the world. What I wanted to accomplish was to make it to The Nationals,” said Crain. (“The Nationals” is what Federation members often call their annual championship.)

Sure, he felt a twinge of disappointment when he missed the overall win, “but not much,” he said.

“I fished as hard as I could,” he said.

He’s already looking forward to the Wheeler championship, for which he has built-in advantages. From Cropwell, Ala., Crain lives about two hours from Wheeler and has fished there several times. Because the Southern Divisional was the first of five such qualifiers, he will have time to make scouting trips before the official off-limits period begins.

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