The top 51 bass anglers along with Louisiana’s Red River are getting ready to throw down this weekend at the BASSMASTER Classic. The Classic in my mind is the most prestigious bass tournament available. We’re talking about the best going against the best and there is no better place to do it than the Red River. I’m expecting the weights to be pretty high for this tourney. The time of year is setting up a great prespawn bite and reaction style baits should just be the thing going. Consider those two alone and it should be obvious that the big girls will be biting. They are reporting a pretty dramatic cold front moving in but I see that as only helping insure bigger stringers. Anglers are reporting some good fish being caught shallow, showing that indeed the first wave of spawners are moving up. When this cold front moves in I would bet that they move back out to deeper water. The front won’t be drastic enough to effect the deeper fish, meaning the bite should be steady and all the good ones will be schooled up together waiting to move up. Get on a good school and the possibility of a 20+ stringer becomes a lot more likely.
Going with that way of thinking, I have selected a pretty solid group of power fisherman to lead my Fantasy Fishing campaign. Of course I sold out and picked Kevin Van Dam as my first pick. I’m a firm believer in the phrase,”the numbers never lie”. Take into consideration that KVD has finished no worse than 5th in his last 5 Classics, that includes to seconds and a first. Not to mention he’s coming of his 4th season as Angler of the Year and not only has the one Classic win from ’05, but also has another one from the ’01 Classic on the Louisiana Delta. I’d be stupid not to have him as a starter. I’m expecting KVD to contend for this years title. The scary part for the other 50 is that, he expects to win it.
I also added Mike Iaconelli to the starting roster. Ike has both an Angler of the Year and a Classic victory to his resume. He’s no stranger to winning big events and Louisiana seems to set up nicely for the New Jersey native. ESPN reports that he’s claiming he’s on ’em good, even going as far as saying he has a “magical area”. This doesn’t fair well with his competition, because a confident Mike Iaconelli is a tough one to beat. I’m sure we’ll be hearing A LOT of what Ike has to say this weekend!
I also went with Lake Fork’s own, Kelly Jordan. Kelly is a great fisherman, that often excels in deeper water but he’s also known for catching big ones in and around the spawn. Plus he quotes the Red River as “being in his own backyard”. Jordan is one of my favorite anglers on the tour and I’m thinking we will be watching him put in work on the final day.
When I think of Louisiana and bass fishing the name Greg Hackney instantly comes to mind. You would naturally think the Red River would be considered his home lake, that isn’t the case at all. In fact he has spent very little time fishing this body of water. Don’t let that fool you, he still knows Louisiana fishing, and the Hack Attack also knows how to work a jig for gorilla bass. Add in a cold front and schooled up toads, you can expect the bayou fisherman to have heavily stuffed livewells.
My dark horse pick goes to Iowa’s Terry Fitzpatrick. This is a river rat true and true. Terry qualified through the BASS Federation Nation, and although this is the biggest tournament he has ever been involved in, I expect to see some surprising results. He understands current and he’s proven at running extensive backwaters in search of good fish. If he keeps his nerves under control I wouldn’t put it past Terry to contend against the very best.
Also for those of you that are not signed up yet be sure you do it very soon. Click here to be directed to the BASS Fantasy Fishing Page to register and put in your starting lineup. Also once registered look for teams like Tackle Warehouse to join. Their giving away tackle, rods, reels, and gift certificates. Be sure to tune into ESPN2 on both Saturday morning and evening for highlights of both days 1 and 2. Then absolutely make sure your tuned in Sunday evening for the third and final day highlights and see who gets to be titled World Bass Champion!