It isn’t everyday that I write about other tournament bass anglers but at the same time I find it important to give credit where credit is due. On that note, the 2011 Bassmaster Classic just wrapped up minutes ago and the venue, the Louisiana Delta proved to be healthy as ever imagined.
This stretch of waterway from New Orleans to Venice, where the Mississippi dumps into the Gulf of Mexico has been under the gun lately by literally catastrophic events. First, the area gets slammed by Hurricane Katrina and if that isn’t enough a couple years later it gets attacked by a BP oil rig that exploded in the Gulf. People all over the world expected this massive waterway to be decimated beyond repair. Many thought the Classic would be relocated, not the case, in fact it was one of the best Classics I can remember. In fact, the final day pumped out sacks close to thirty pounds and the man holding the trophy at the end was the one and only, Kevin VanDam.
The dude’s simply unreal, by far the best stick in the world and there’s no question. Taking second was Aaron Martens, yes again, Aaron takes second to King Kong. I’m sure he feels like puking on himself right now but should hold his head high, very high. I dream everyday of just qualifying for a Classic, one day God willing I will, but hats off to a guy that not only qualifies but is in the thick of it year after year. There’s no doubt in my mind Aaron will hold that trophy over his head one year very soon.
From all the reports I heard, the top anglers were fishing an an area very close to the take off, literally fishing a cast length apart. While most anglers made super long runs, some claiming to have ran over 700 miles in the three days, for the most part just couldn’t find the fish that the others could. Fog delays may have been part of this but in the end it just seemed like the ones that stayed close were on the fish to do just what they did, whacked ’em.
The top five were KVD with 69-11, Aaron Martens 59-0, Minnesota’s own Derek Remitz with 56-8, rookie Brandon Palaniuk with a very impressive 55-7 and Brent Chapman with a very respectable 54-8.
Some notables were Mike Iaconelli took 11th place with 43-3, Skeet Reese finished 14th with 42-3 and local favorite Greg Hackney finished in a disappointing 42nd place with a weight of 15-1, going to show again that winning on home waters isn’t as easy as one would believe.
Early reports prove that attendance and interest in our sport is at in all time high. It’s said that over a million people were tuning into the live streaming to watch the weigh in. I can’t imagine how many will tune into ESPN 2 next weekend to watch all the on-water action!
Now that the Classic is officially wrapped and in the books, my anxiety to be on the water is through the frickin’ roof! As I write this we are being bombed by yet another snowmeggedon which is supposed to dump another twenty inches of the white stuff all across the Twin Cities. It’s easy to sit here and feel bad for myself but instead I’m going to be grateful it’s now and not two weeks from now when I’ll be headed to California’s Diamond Valley Lake to try my hand at whacking a ten plus pounder! This weather is also securing the move to Tennessee, trust me!
Congrats to KVD and all the rest of the Classic qualifiers and thanks to all of bass fishing sponsors that make our sport even possible!