Bassmaster Classic practice begins on Grand Lake
BY KELLY BOSTIAN World Outdoors Writer
Saturday, February 16, 2013
2/16/13 at 6:59 AM
Tulsa World Outdoors Weigh-in Challenge:
Fans can now enter the Tulsa World Outdoors Weigh-in Challenge. In this challenge, you must guess the biggest bag weight for each of the three days of the Bassmaster Classic, Feb. 22-24.
There will be one winner for each day of the
Bassmaster Classic. You have until Thursday, Feb. 21 at 11:59 p.m. to submit your guesses for each day of the tournament. Winners will be announced on Monday, Feb. 25.
Get ready for the Super Bowl of bass fishing: Find everything you need to know about the Bassmaster Classic, which comes to Grand
Lake and Tulsa on Feb. 22-24. This site will be home to news, videos, maps, schedules and guides to follow the event.
Bassmaster Classic anglers are at it already on Grand Lake O' The Cherokees.
The lake officially opened for practice at dawn Friday, and the 53 competitors are allowed to fish and explore the lake until dark on Sunday in preparation for the Super Bowl of bass fishing set for Feb. 22-24 on the lake and at the BOK Center in Tulsa.
Each year the Classic venue is off-limits in the months heading into the competition. Prior to that cut-off, anglers can use any and all means to learn what they can about the lake, including going fishing with locals or hiring guides.
Grand Lake was declared off-limits on Dec. 10. From that point on they have been on their own with regard to lake information, said Bassmaster Tournament Director Trip Weldon.
"They can not solicit information to help them locate or catch fish until the end of the Classic, unless it comes from another competitor," he said. "Some of them do kind of help each other out."
It is OK for anglers to view publicly available information, such as checking lake levels on the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers website or reading about results of a jackpot tournament in a local newspaper.
These three days of practice they are allowed to be on the lake from morning light to sunset, Weldon said.
"I imagine most of them are going to be out there daylight to dark every day," Weldon said. During the tournament they will fish from 7 a.m. to about 3 p.m.
Oklahoma angler Jason Christie of Park Hill said he will use every minute of available practice time.
"I'm dividing it into sections," he said of the lake. "I did one section today, I'll do another tomorrow and the next day and on official practice day I'll come back and hit the places I liked the most."
Christie said he was somewhat surprised at lake conditions Friday.
"It's not quite as clear as I expected for this time of year," he said. "It's not muddy. I would say it's off-color."
Angler Mike McClelland from Bella Vista, Ark., said some of the larger arms of the lake are off-color but overall the lake looks good.
"I think we're in for a really, really cool Classic, as long as Mother Nature doesn't turn the other way and rears her ugly head," he said. "I think we're going to make the lake show her true colors."
He's practicing 10 to 11 hours a day just like the others. "I'm going to pour every minute into it I can," he said.
Elite Series Angler of the Year Brent Chapman of Lake Quivira, Kan., said wind conditions made the first day long and chilly.
"It was long because I never took my hood off," he said. "Usually as the day progresses you can drop your hood or shed a jacket, but with the wind today I was bundled up as I could be all day."
Water temperatures in the lake are in the mid-40s and as long as that holds the fishing could be very good, he said.
"I don't see any major weather blips in the forecast," he said.
As the Classic week progresses, Monday will have the anglers moving downtown to the Doubletree Hilton Hotel and parking their boats in the BASS service yard near the BOK Center. Many of the anglers will have sponsor visits and other business to attend to, Weldon said.
Tuesday is a BASS business day with sponsors, official registration and the Classic briefing meeting on rules and other details about the event.
On Wednesday the anglers get one final shot at practice. The official practice day is a dry run with a launch from Wolf Creek Boat Ramp and check-in in the afternoon just as it will happen during the tournament. After the dry run, BASS and community officials and volunteers will compare notes and make sure they're ready for the real thing Friday morning.
"It's also a practice day for us," Weldon said. "Typically it's a smooth operation. Sometimes we make a few tweaks here and there."
Thursday has the anglers at a freshwater conservation summit and participating in media day with dozens of print, internet and broadcast journalists.
Friday morning, it's show time.
Check out the World’s 40-page
preview on the Bassmaster Classic,
which will be held Feb. 22-24. For
more coverage online, visit
Original Print Headline: Anglers get started on Grand Lake practice
Kelly Bostian 918-581-8357
Bassmaster Classic qualifier Edwin Evers launches his boat Friday at Grand Lake in Bernice in practice for next week's tournament. MIKE SIMONS/Tulsa World