Bassmaster Notebook: Big crowd
BY ERIC BAILEY World Sports Writer
Monday, February 25, 2013
2/25/13 at 3:24 AM
Watch slideshows and videos, read blogs and much more on the 2013 Bassmaster Classic
A capacity crowd welcomed the 25 anglers returning from the Grand Lake O' the Cherokees on Sunday afternoon.
The BOK Center can fit 12,000 in its setup for the tournament and capacity was reached about 30 minutes after the doors opened for Sunday's weigh-in at the Bassmaster Classic presented by Hard Rock Hotel & Casino. When the weigh-in finally began about 5 p.m., a line of about 500 people grew outside the door.
"Thank you Tulsa, Okla., for bringing the Bassmaster Classic here," said veteran angler Dean Rojas. "The people at Grove, the people at the take-off in the morning and coming in the afternoon, with 1,000 people there waiting for us ... it's so fun to come to a new venue like this and showcase the fishing.
"It's been a wonderful week."
OU captures title: Oklahoma's bass fishing team defeated defending champion Oklahoma State and Arkansas to be named Bassmaster College Classic champion.
The Sooners were represented by Landon Dixon, Alex Edgeman, John Haines, Caleb Masters, Paul Muzljakovich and Jared Paris. OU's two-man teams boated more than 27 pounds.
Oklahoma will get the opportunity to defend its title at the 2014 Bassmaster College Classic at Lake Guntersville in Alabama.
"It's just another step to help us get to the level that we need to get to," said Muzljakovich, a senior from Wagoner.
Muzljakovich mentioned the capacity crowd at the BOK.
"This was a good experience," he said. "We've never been in front of that many people or have been conditioned for this.
"If we can handle this, we can handle anything."
Missing number five: Kevin VanDam had a tough weekend in his pursuit for an unprecedented fifth Classic championship.
After reaching a limit of five fish Friday, he only caught four fish Saturday and four Sunday.
"The first day was unreal," VanDam said. "I caught a bunch of fish and surely thought I'd catch a lot every day. It just didn't work out ...
"You just can't have a bad day at the Classic and I just didn't get it done."
Tough transit: The drive was the thing, said Hughson, Calif., angler Ish Monroe.
"Three hours every day you can't get back," he said about the 91-mile ride from the BOK Center to the Wolf Creek Park and Boat Ramp.
Monroe was one of several anglers who spent his nights at Grand Lake rather than downtown Tulsa.
It was a good strategy, he said. Saturday night he got back to the lake around 8 p.m. and was in bed by 10.
"I got seven hours sleep," Monroe said. "But the guys at the hotel didn't get to bed much sooner than that and they had to get up and drive an hour and a half in the morning."
It was about the only downside to the tournament, and it came with a price tag.
"I spent $200 a day in gas for my boat and my truck," he said.
I-K9-elli: Michael Iaconelli left his mark in Oklahoma. Not only on the water, but also with a spirited attitude.
The first hint came in the Bassmaster program and media guide. The 40-year-old says in his bio that his hobby is "graffiti, aka street tagging."
He was faced with a tough dilemma Saturday when his second trolling motor died and he had to switch boats. He lost an hour of competition.
"I'm pretty much a nut case and I can't keep it together," he said. "At one point, I was yelling at a dog on the bank. I was cursing a dog. That poor dog didn't do anything to me. It was just a dog. It was not the dog's fault."
Countdown to next year: The next Bassmaster Classic will be on Lake Guntersville, just outside Birmingham, Ala., between Feb. 21-23, 2014.
It is the eighth time Birmingham has been named the host city and Alabama will host its 12th Classic.
OU's bass fishing team topped defending champion OSU to win the college championship. MIKE SIMONS / Tulsa World