The 2014 Bassmaster Classic hits Alabama in two weeks, so here’s a quick preview.
The 2014 Geico Bassmaster Classic will run from Feb. 21 to 23 on Lake Guntersville in Guntersville, Alabama. A total of 56 competitors will hope for more fish weight than the rest, and vie for the championship of the top bass fishing tour.
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$300,000 goes to the winner, but a $1 million purse os spread out among top finishers. And of course, there are endorsement deals, notoriety and recognition as the greatest bass fisherman after winning the greatest bass event in the world.
The 2014 Bassmaster Classic will be the 44th of its kind, and the second time it will be held at Lake Guntersville. The last time it was in the same Alabama location, in 1976, organizers kept the location a secret until all competitors were gathered on a plane and airborne.
Eight former Classic winners will be in the field, featuring Mark Davis, Michael Iaconelli, Alton Jones, Chris Lane, Takahiro Omori, Cliff Pace, Skeet Reese and Kevin VanDam. With some overlap, eight Classic competitors have won the Toyota Bassmaster Angler of the Year award.
AL.com ran a piece on the recently held Alabama Bass Tour, which may end up being a rather revealing event. Top competitors in the inaugural ABT event dropped their lines in Lake Guntersville, and reported success with rattlebaits, jerkbaits and swimbaits. Classic participants were undoubtedly paying attention to the fact that anglers reported using Rat-L-Traps or X-Calibur Rattlebaits, most with a hint of “Guntersville red” or crawfish coloring.
According to the AL.com piece, if weather patterns continue with average and typical weather, the same principles used in the ABT could apply to the Classic. But, a rapid warm up could flip things on its head, then fish that were at 4 to 8 feet weeks ago will be more likely to move back into the coves and check out the shallows where they’ll bed.
For those planning to attend the Bassmaster Classic, you’re in for a treat. Onlookers are allowed to observe by boat, and at times popular competitors like Iaconelli and VanDam can be followed by 50 or more spectators. Of course, the unwritten rules say they should keep their distance, use binoculars and not approach or disturb the anglers. Nonetheless, it could be your best opportunity to get up-close and witness some of the greatest anglers in the world execute their craft.
Stay tuned to Wide Open Spaces for plenty more coverage leading up to the tournament, and be sure to add facts or ask questions in the comments below.