It’s once again B.A.S.S. Classic week and for the first time in a few years, I won’t be able to make it to the Classic or the associated Expo. Tulsa is just too far to go for the one day that I’d be able to spend there. That doesn’t mean that I won’t be following along pretty closely.
This year’s Classic should be an interesting one. Since B.A.S.S. moved the Classic to February, they’ve been limited in their choices for venue and it’s mostly been a deep south deal. This year, they’ve rolled the dice, decided to take a chance on the weather and headed to Grand Lake in Oklahoma.
Despite some snow flurries last weekend for the start of practice, it looks like they’ve gotten about as good of a forecast as they could hope for; but in typical B.A.S.S. fashion, the cold front is coming through the first day of the tournament. After a good chance of rain and a high of 68 on Thursday (Day 1), it looks like lows in the high 20’s and highs in the low 50s for most of the rest of the tournament.
But it shouldn’t bother these guys. They excel in tough conditions and even make it look easy. That ability to catch them in spite of the conditions is what makes them the best at what they do.
Overall, it should be a great tournament with a lot of fish being caught, but the question remains, who will come out on top. I’m not much of a betting man, but here’s my take on who I think will be some of the top contenders.
Let’s start with one of local guys, Tommy Biffle. Although locals don’t typically do well in a Classic, the tough conditions combined with local knowledge could play big in this one. Biffle is arguably one of the best out there who hasn’t won a Classic and this could be his chance. He knows the area and he does well in Oklahoma events. I think he could contend for this win.
Another local is Jason Christie. He has a lot of experience on Grand, but this is his first Classic. I think he’ll do well, but on this particular stage, I’d think he’ll be a top 10 guy but not the winner. He’d be a good fantasy fishing pick.
Two other guys that I’m sure will do well are Kevin VanDam and Aaron Martens. I’m not really going out on a limb picking either of these guys, but if you’re looking for two sure bets to be in contention, it’d be hard not to include these two. Kevin is always a threat and Aaron seems to always come up with a way to catch them regardless of the conditions. With the tough weather conditions, Aaron’s finesse skills could make this the year he finally comes out on top.
Another pair that have been red hot and might have a shot would be Ott Defoe and Brent Chapman. Defoe is another one of those guys who always seem to be up toward the top of the leader board and Grand should fish like a lot of the water near his Tennessee home. Chapman is coming off of winning the Angler of the Year title and has been on a year long roll of great finishes. He also won at Lewisville and I have to pick anyone who could catch a fish there, much less someone who could catch a limit.
All of these guys have a shot, but my bet is that it’s finally Edwin Evers year to win. He’s not only a local, but he’s been at the top of the fishing game for a number of years. I think his time has come and everything is lining up for him to take the title.
But who knows? Any one of the 53 competitors could take home the trophy. They’ve all proven that they belong and they’ve all got a shot. No matter who wins the tournament, the true winners are the fans. It’ll be a good show and I’m looking forward to seeing how it plays out.
Thanks to the sponsors who make this all possible: Lowrance Electronics, Phoenix Bass Boats, Denali Rods, Bryan’s Marine, BoatUS Angler, Power Pole, Costa del Mar Sunglasses and Mississippi Van Lines. Without all of you, none of this would be possible.