Field of 50 set for 2007 Classic

The last one in was Russell Colwell.

Everyone else, if you haven't made the 2007 Bassmaster Classic by now, there's always 2008.

 Colwell punched his ticket to bass fishing's most prestigious tournament this weekend with a harrowing, come-from-behind victory in the ESPN Outdoors Bassmaster Series Championship in Guntersville, Ala., despite having his largest fish disallowed at the final weigh-in.

 He became the seventh angler this month to qualify for the Classic, slated for Feb. 23-25 on Lay Lake, near Birmingham, Ala.

 The others — Brent Long, Terry McWilliams, Kevin Waterman, Royce Dennington, Chris Novack and Shigeru Tsukiyama — also qualified on Alabama water, through the BASS Federation Nation National Championship on Lake Neely Henry, in Gadsden.

 Though the final field of 50 doesn't include Luke Clausen, last year's Classic winner, it is in all other regards plenty stacked.

 Last year's BASS Angler of the Year and 2003 Classic champ Mike Iaconelli joins four other anglers with previous Classic victories: Kevin VanDam (2001, 2005); Takahiro Omori (2004); Denny Brauer (1998); and Rick Clunn (1976-77, 1984, 1990).

Eight other anglers in the field hail from Alabama. One, Aaron Martens, placed second, behind Jay Yelas, in the last Classic held at Lay Lake, in 2002. Other anglers among the 2007 field who placed in that tournament include Kevin Wirth (8th), Todd Faircloth (12th), John Murray (14th), Terry Scroggins (16th), Timmy Horton (18th), Kelly Jordon (20th) and Alton Jones (23rd).

 Under BASS rules, Lay Lake is off limits to Bassmaster Classic participants until the three-day pre-fish period, Feb. 13-15.

 After that, anglers will again have to stay away from the fishery until the official practice day, Feb. 21.

 Competition begins Feb 23. Take-off each morning is 7 a.m. from Paradise Point Marina near Columbiana, Ala.

 The daily Bassmaster Classic festivities, featuring the weigh-in of the 50 competitors, will begin at 3 p.m. Feb. 23-25 at the Birmingham Jefferson Convention Center.