My Steelers did not even make the playoffs, so the upcoming Superbowl is of little interest this year. However, I am eagerly awaiting another Superbowl of sorts: The Bassmaster Classic.
This year, the giant event is held on Grand Lake in Northeast Oklahoma on February 22-24th. Weigh ins will be held in the new BOK Center in downtown Tulsa. This marks the westernmost Classic held in the modern era. 53 competitors will compete for the first prize of $500,000.
That is a lot of zeros, but the anglers are going to have to work for it. The average temperature in Oklahoma in February is about 40 degrees, cold enough to don insulated overalls and snow mobile helmets for the frosty boat ride.
These anglers know how to catch bass under any conditions, even with a camera in their face. I am sure during the 15 hours of nationally televised coverage on ESPN and ESPN2; we’ll see plenty of hefty bass in the 3-4 pound range.
I’ll be curious what technique will triumph on this cold 73-year-old flood reservoir. It is a fairly unique fishery because it one of the few lakes that is very productive, without aquatic vegetation. It is so productive that these waters also are home to a thriving paddlefish population. However, no tournament angler will be allowed to weigh in one of those strange 120-pound filter-feeding fish if snagged.
The Expo is the part of the Classic I look forward to most. Besides the chance to see lures and fishing tackle from exhibitors, it is easy to bump into some of those familiar faces you’ve seen on fishing shows, commercials, even on lure packaging. These anglers love what they do and are very approachable, freely share tips and advice.
About 70,000 attend the average Bassmaster Classic, with 10,000 to 20,000 hotel rooms filled during the tournament.
Which reminds me, I’d better book mine.
Andy Whitcomb is a columnist, outdoor humorist, and stressed-out Dad living in Pennsylvania. Visit him at www.justkeepreeling.com.