Living on the Edge

GREENVILLE, S.C. — His long sigh in the angler-lacking media room said it all.

Dave Wolak had just completed his Day Two weigh-in at the 2008 Bassmaster Classic. He leaned against one of the arena's concrete support columns and looked in the direction of a muted monitor as Tommy Biffle soon joined him. He wouldn't be alone in the wait for results, and it was still early.

"I just don't know if I made it or not," Wolak said. "But I can't sit here and watch this whole thing, I'll drive myself crazy. I'll drive myself nuts."

The North Carolina resident must be a glutton for punishment, even after his admittedly tough 10-pound day. He would bounce around computer screen after computer screen, monitor after monitor, until the weigh-in was over.

Biffle wasn't too sure his day's results would hold, either.

"There might have to be a few of them to not catch any for me to make it," Biffle said.

As more anglers weighed their bags and results came in, the population of the room grew. Groups of anglers gathered in discussion, some choosing chairs in semi-circles, some preferring to stand near the food table in the back.

Terry Scroggins was one of those who elected to hang out near the grub.

"I'm kind of disappointed," he said. "I kind of struggled today. Now, I just got to wait it out."

Scroggins would gravitate closer and closer to the monitor, like a magnet on a fridge, until he saw he made the cut. Scroggins completed the day in 22nd place, with just 4 pounds, 7 ounces.

A group of Classic first-timers found themselves in the blood pressure-raising position of waiting it out as well.

Mike Baskett, Jeff Freeman, Richard Watson and Jeff Freeman finished Day Two within two pounds of each other, close to the proverbial bubble.

"I'd rather be 27th than 26th," said Jay Fuller. Seemingly calm and collected, Fuller never did join his compadres at the monitor.

As time ticked away, this cast of newcomers soon learned their fates, dealing with the news in a variety of different ways.

Watching Todd Faircloth on the screen, Freeman noted one large fish.

"Good one," he shouted, as the reality set in that his Classic experience had ended. "I'm not going to make it. I'm not going to make it." The sick and sunburned man retired for the night.

With a quick "I'm out," South African Richard Watson also turned from his group to head for the door. Baskett finished a heartbreaking 26th place, while Freeman, Watson and Fuller ended in 28th, 29th and 30th place, respectively.

As the last few anglers made their way off the stage, those who would fish Sunday learned who they were.

The wait was somewhat painless for Brent Chapman, as he learned what he needed to do.

"Well, looks like I get to fish tomorrow," he said, after recently entering the room and posting a 10-3. Then Chapman disappeared.

Wolak smiled when he confirmed he was in line to fish the tournament's final day. He rose from his chair and finally went to grab a drink and a snack.

"Some years you're the dog, sometimes you're the hydrant," Wolak said earlier in the night about missing almost $30,000 last year by a mere 6 ounces; but Saturday night, Wolak was the dog.

Biffle took the canine form at this tournament, too: The smiling Oklahoman sprung to life with a newfound energy after he secured the 25th and final spot in the evening.

"Now, there's nowhere to go but up," Biffle said in his last interview of the night.