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2012 Bassmaster Classic

Preview

The 2012 season kicks off with the 42nd Bassmaster Classic — the Super Bowl of bass fishing — on the Red River out of Shreveport, La. It’s the second time Shreveport and the Red River have hosted a Classic. In 2009, Skeet Reese bested the Red and 50 other competitors on his way to a $500,000 payday.

The 2012 Classic will be the first in Shreveport-Bossier City since 2009, when Classic attendance records were broken. Daily weigh-ins will take place at Bossier City’s CenturyLink Center, and the 2012 Bassmaster Classic Outdoor Expo presented by Dick’s Sporting Goods will be at the Shreveport Convention Center.

Tour Review

KVD finishes in 11th for the Basmaster Classic

Defending champ Kevin VanDam of Kalamazoo, Mich., finished with 40-10 in 11th place, pulling up from 18th place on Saturday.

“I just had a tough first day as far as executing,” VanDam said. “Today I caught all the bites I had, so I had a better day, but you just can’t have a bad day at this level against these guys."

VanDam is a four-time Classic winner who has qualified for 22 consecutive championships. After winning in 2010 and 2011, VanDam had been trying for a record third consecutive Classic title.

day 3 weigh in
Die hard KVD fan

KVD may be in 18th place, but he's still a fan favorite. This morning a fan asked him to sign his forehead with a sharpie.

Overstreet has taken hundreds of thousands of pictures of these guys over the years so he's rarely shocked by anything that happens but he declared the shot of Kevin signing the man's head one of his all-time favorites.

 

KVD with a couple early catches

Mike Reeves, my man on the launch ramp, reported in on the action near take-off. By his count, over 100 spectators are currently watching Kevin Wirth and Stephen Browning fishing the mouth of a small backwater near the take-off. Davy Hite and Kevin VanDam went back into the cut already. As everyone watches, Wirth catches a 3-pounder.

"Instant replay from yesterday," Reeves said.

He also reported KVD with two small keepers in the well. Sounds like the best seats in the house might be back at the boat ramp. That's a lot of star power right there.

Day 1 Classic updates

11:20am - This is about as pretty of a picture as you will find: both Evers and KVD are fishing the back of the same pocket. The best two anglers in the world can duel it out in sight of one another and I've got 

a front row seat.

KVD is doing his fast, power-fishing thing and Evers is doing his slow methodical thing. I'm not sure which is working better right now, but KVD decides he has had enough and straps up his rods to make a move. As he starts idling away, Evers hooks up with a fish and quickly swings it into the boat. That's a little shot of redemption with his biggest nemesis looking over his shoulder...literally.

 

 

This is getting fun. The water temperature is the warmest we've seen: 62 degrees. It lightly stained, not bad for fishing at all. Still, for many reasons we've talked about, the bite just hasn't been strong. I expected them to at least be catching more fish, but one angler told me the numbers might not be there, but the size is.

 

 

8:50am - KVD leaves smaller crowded spot for clearer waters. Water temp reported at 58 degrees

 

7:33am - KVD sighted with the first catch of the tournament as he puts a fish in the live well

KVD's thoughts heading into the Classic

“It’s the Super Bowl. It’s Game 7 of the World Series and NHL Finals. It’s the Daytona 500,” said four-time Classic champion Kevin VanDam. “If you’re a competitive bass fisherman, this is the pinnacle. Every bass fisherman who’s ever fished a tournament has dreamed of fishing in the Bassmaster Classic. It’s everything.”

 

“The weather’s changing, and that changes the fish and the bite,” VanDam said. “It’ll throw some people for a loop. I guarantee you everybody here is worried about the changing weather, thinking about how it’s going to affect the fishing. But at the same time, we’re extremely happy it’s been 80 degrees for two days.”

VanDam will be looking to win his record fifth Classic. He won his fourth title last year on the Mississippi River Delta outside of New Orleans to tie legendary bass pro Rick Clunn for all-time Classic victories. The 2011 Classic was also VanDam’s second consecutive Classic victory, another feat accomplished by only VanDam and Clunn.

“I want to win this one as much as the first one,” VanDam said. “There is no mountaintop. You’re always climbing.”

Kevin unveils his brand new Toyota Tundra
KVD on Bassmaster Classic practice

 

"I'm still not sure what I'm going to do yet. I don't have a place where I can just pull up and catch five or anything like that. You've got to work for them.

"I feel good about today – I covered a lot of water and looked at a lot of different areas and the warming water is very encouraging, without a doubt. I got a few bites, but not anything earth-shattering."

KVD quotes from Classic awards banquet / 2-22

 

“For 22 years I’ve been doing this, and I’ve seen a lot of changes,” VanDam said. “In the early days, when Ray (Scott) and Helen (Sevier) owned B.A.S.S., we did this kind of thing a lot more. But somewhere along the way, we kind of got away from that. We got away from this kind of intimate setting to honor everybody that’s involved in the sport. Now it seems like we’re getting back to that. It reminds me of my early days in the sport.

“Here tonight, you’ve got the sponsors, the B.A.S.S. staff, the anglers and their families. Everybody works hard all year long. We all love the sport, and this is the time when we come together to tell the world how great bass fishing is.”

B.A.S.S. owners Jerry McKinnis, Don Logan and Jim Copeland were on hand to honor 2011 Elite Series winners. So were the vast majority of B.A.S.S. staff members and the entire 2012 Classic field.

“This is a party for everybody involved with the sport,” VanDam said. “You’ve got people from the B.A.S.S. staff, the guys from Bassmaster magazine, the people from the TV production crew, the anglers and their wives. We don’t get to do this stuff very often. It’s a big homecoming.”

KVD relives some Classic memories

 

VanDam has taken the victory lap four times now, having won the Classic in 2001, 2005, 2010 and 2011. It never gets old. He competed in 10 Classics before winning that first one in New Orleans in 2001.

“As a fan, because I am a fan first, I’ve always watched that moment,” VanDam said. “From the very first one I went to, when Ken Cook won at Chesapeake Bay (in 1991), it’s just a surreal moment to watch.”

VanDam thinks the victory lap makes the Bassmaster Classic unique in the sports world.

 “I’ve been to a lot of big sporting events, and to me there’s nothing else like it,” he said. “It seems to carry on more than, say, after a Super Bowl or a Game Seven of the World Series. In a Super Bowl, when one team is up like 14 points, you sort of have a sense to be prepared for it. But there have been a lot of Classics where you really didn’t know who was going to win. That shock (after the winner is declared) seems to last longer.”

VanDam savors all his Classic victories, but none more so than the first.

“You just don’t believe it,” he said of that instant, on stage for the final weigh-in, when he knew he’d won.  “It’s still one of the most memorable moments of my whole career. I really didn’t pay any attention to what Trip (Weldon) or David Walker or anybody else around me was doing. I just remember the place erupted.”

In VanDam’s mind, the mute button hadn’t been pushed.

Kevin gets his new Nitro Z9 in preparation for the Classic.
2012 Bassmaster Classic
Red River, Shreveport-Bossier City, Louisiana
Feb 24 - Feb 26, 2012

Leaderboard

1
Chris Lane - 51-5
1. 16-4, 2. 19-4, 3. 15-14
2
Greg Vinson - 47-15
1. 17-12, 2. 16-12, 3. 13-7
3
Keith Poche - 45-15
1. 17-13, 2. 11-8, 3. 16-10
4
Alton Jones - 45-14
1. 13-13, 2. 17-14, 3. 14-3
5
Ott DeFoe - 44-14
1. 16-4, 2. 14-8, 3. 17-7
6
Timmy Horton - 44-13
1. 10-11, 2. 17-14, 3. 16-4
7
Dustin Wilks - 44-12
1. 16-9, 2. 13-10, 3. 14-9
8
Edwin Evers - 43-8
1. 16-3, 2. 14-14, 3. 13-1
9
Todd Faircloth - 40-15
1. 9-9, 2. 18-12, 3. 12-10
10
Bill Lowen - 40-15
1. 14-13, 2. 13-13, 3. 11-5
11
Kevin VanDam - 40-10
1. 11-0, 2. 13-15, 3. 15-11
12
Aaron Martens - 40-10
1. 13-14, 2. 15-11, 3. 11-1
13
David Walker - 40-8
1. 16-8, 2. 12-14, 3. 11-2
14
Kevin Wirth - 40-8
1. 8-15, 2. 15-5, 3. 16-4
15
Takahiro Omori - 39-3
1. 13-14, 2. 9-14, 3. 15-7

History & Notes;

Big Bass

Day 1 - Keith Poche 6-13

Day 2 - Edwin Evers 6-4

Day 3 - Chris Lane 6-10