Holding a Classic at the Red River has proven to be controversial among anglers. Some believe a new Classic weight record will be caught, and others feel the drive to Shreveport isn't worth the gas. No one will know how it will fish for sure until later this week.Watch out, Clausen
You'd be hard pressed to find someone more optimistic about the Classic being held on the Red River than Boyd Duckett. The 2007 Classic champ is predicting Luke Clausen's record weight of 56 pounds, 2 ounces from Lake Toho in 2006 will be not only broken, but smashed. He predicts he will beat Clausen's number himself, but doubts it will be enough to win.
"I think, depending on the weather, that if the conditions are right, we could see 60 pounds. Think about it — 19 a day is 57 pounds, and local tournaments there are won with low 20s. This could be a great tournament."Duckett is reluctant to extend the same optimism to the Red River if rains have fallen."Heavy rains mean it'll be high and muddy, closing off 80 percent of the good fishing. That means everyone will be in the remaining 20 percent. No records will be made then because they'll be split up evenly."Familiarity breeds contempt
On the opposite end of the spectrum sits Peter Thliveros. This Classic will be his 13th, and the first one he is not happy to be a part of. Unlike many other pros, Thliveros will not go to practice before the official practice period.
"Whoever picked this location for the Classic wasn't thinking about fishing," the Florida pro said. "I know it's supposed to be 'the test of the best,' but I can't think of a worse place to have it in February. It just won't be a stellar fishery by any stretch of the imagination."Thliveros cites the treacherous conditions the River can pose when flooded as a reason for his disdain.
You can't navigate easily at all. If you want to fish a back area, you've got to devote at least an hour to it, otherwise it's useless. You can spend 15 minutes fishing it then have to spend a half hour getting back out."
Love it or hate it, the Red River Classic will be a historic one. Kim Bain's appearance, Alton Jones defending his title and Rick Clunn making history with his 32nd berth are just a few things to watch for and remember.
The Red River and BASS:
- The Red River Starts in northern Texas, defines its northeast border with Oklahoma, passes through Arkansas and Louisiana and drains into the Mississippi River. It is 1,360 miles long.
- The 2009 Classic will mark BASS' 12th event on the river, the first being the 2000 Louisiana Invitational.
- The heaviest winning bag on the river was Billy McCaghren's 54-0 posted in April 2008 in a Central Open. McCaghren is also the most recent winner on the river.
- The smallest winning weight in a three-day tournament is O.T. Fears III's 31-15 caught in October of 2000 during Bassmaster's Louisiana Invitational.
- The WBT has visited the Red River once. In September of 2007, Laura Gober bagged 34-9, good enough for the win.
- Two Elite Series pros from the 2008 season call Shreveport their home: Randy Allen and David Sherrer. Neither qualified for this Classic.