I'm going to share quick updates and thoughts about the 2012 Bassmaster Classic, which blasted off this morning. So be sure to check out this thread often:
8:40 p.m. Sunday
During the post-weigh-in press conference, Chris Lane gave credit where credit is due when he related how things just lined up this weekend in ways that blew his mind (such as his boat running faster than it's ever run, even against the current and after slamming a stump at 40 mph): 'When you listen to the Lord ... good things happen to you.'
8:25 p.m. Sunday
Don't forget to jump over to http://www.louisianasportsman.com/communities/bassmasters/results.php
to check out the complete leaderboard.
8:20 p.m. Sunday
As previously mentioned, the Lane brothers had a bet in which Elite Series fees for both would be paid if one brother won the Classic. They said that was not only going to be honored, but Bobby Lane said he upped the bet from the $43,000 fee to a 'nice round number.' When asked about it, Chris Lane said, 'I'm honored to pay him $50,000!'
6:55 p.m. Sunday
2012 Bassmaster Classic champion Chris Lane said he didn't have a fish in the boat at 11 a.m. Wow!
6:51 p.m. Sunday
Chris Lane was confident after the first day, and that obviously translated through the rest of the tournament. Check out the attached vid to hear him forecast what he'd do in the succeeding days.
6:45 p.m. Sunday
Chris Lane has clinched the 2012 Bassmaster Classic title, and it couldn't happen to a nicer guy. He looks like he's about to pop right now. That's what that big trophy, not to mention a $500,000, will do for you!
5:56 p.m. Sunday
A matter of ounces
Word is this is going to be a squeaker, with the eventual winner taking the 2012 Bassmaster Classic by mere ounces. Sounds like it's going to be between Vinson and Chris Lane.
5:15 p.m. Sunday
KVD won't be winning his third Classic championship in a row: He weighed in 15-11, which gave him 40-10 overall and the lead - but it won't last long.
5:07 p.m. Sunday
Wirth retirement party
Kevin Wirth is hanging it up after the Classic, retiring from the Bassmaster Elite Series. He finished in style, putting 16 pounds, 4 ounces on the scales of the final day of the 2012 Bassmaster Classic.
4:54 p.m. Sunday
Greg Hackney finished with a final-day stringer going 10-11. Sounds like he had an even shorter day because of lock problems. More on that later .... His final weight was 34-8.
4:53 p.m. Sunday
Why didn't Mike Ike fish the final day, since he tied for 25th with Tak Omori? There is a tie-breaker with several steps, and the one that knocked Ike out dictates the tie goes to the angler with the heaviest stringer of the event.
4:49 p.m. Sunday
Apparently the top weights are going to be very, very close: They've just announced that if there's a tie for first, there will be a fish-off tomorrow! That would be a first in Classic history.
3:52 p.m. Sunday
The LSU fishing team caught some fish on notoriously tough Cross Lake (see the vid at http://www.louisianasportsman.com/communities/bassmasters/details_video.php?id=8207)
, but it wasn't enough to overcome Arkansas' effort. LSU weighed in 18-7, while Arkansas won the 2012 Bassmaster College Series with 26 pounds (Photos below).
3:25 p.m. Sunday
The Bassmaster College Series weigh-in is about to start, and I've heard it could be close. Sounds like the LSU boys snapped the line on several over-the-slot fish, but so did the Arkansas anglers. Watch the weigh-in on www.bassmaster.com.
3:16 p.m. Sunday
Out of pocket
Sorry, guys, I've been at the Expo all day grabbing video clips of some of the pros sharing some tips for success (be looking for them to show up on the site), so I've been out of pocket. The stream of consciousness now continues ....
8:53 p.m. Saturday
Check out the full standings at http://www.LouisianaSportsman.com/communities/bassmasters/results.php
to see how your favorite angler fared today.
8:50 p.m. Saturday
Brothers Chris and Bobby Lane are in the top six going into the final day, and no matter what they both win. The siblings made a deal that if one of them wins the Classic, the winner would pay for the other's Elite Series entry fees.
7:20 p.m. Saturday
All over but ... the last day
Weigh-in has concluded, and Chris Lane rose to the top. Greg Hackney, in his words, 'slipped into' the top-25 cut. I'm off to the top-six interview: Front-page story to follow.
5:20 p.m. Saturday
Texas pro Todd Faircloth speaks softly (and not often) but is swinging a big stick: He weighed in 18 pounds, 12 ounces - currently the heaviest sack of the event.
5:17 p.m. Saturday
Alabama's Gerald Swindle from the scales: 'Nobody is fishing in there. Nobody is watching me. There's no fish in there. I am totally lost.'
4:25 p.m. Saturday
Just talked with someone who watched Aaron Martens today, and Martens is fishing the same waters he fished in during the 2009 Classic - and apparently he's doing something completely different from the field. BassTrakk shows Martens in seventh, but the observer said he thinks the estimated weight might be a bit low.
As reported earlier, BassTrakk shows some anglers with big fat eggs, but I just heard that some units acted up. For instance, Timmy Horton's zero is apparently way off - the Alabama Elite Series pro apparently caught about 17 pounds today.
4:15 p.m. Saturday
Change of names (tentatively)
Predictably, there looks to be some juggling in the leaderboard. Day 1 leader Keith Poche looks to be in sixth, while Greg Vinson may have bumped up to the No. 1 spot. Dustin Wilks fell from third to eighth, according to BassTrakk. Bill Lowen, who went into the day in 10th reportedly jumped to No. 2.
4:05 p.m. Saturday
Hack not attacking?
If BassTrakk is correct, Greg Hackney had a very, very tough day. The tracker shows five fish in the livewell, but only 6 pounds of weight.
3:40 p.m. Saturday
Ups and downs
The Red River looks like it was really generous to some, but harsh to others. BassTrakk shows Elite Series pro Greg Vinson with 20 pounds for the day (which would also put him the lead by more than 2 pounds). On the end of the spectrum is Stephen Kennedy, Ish Monroe, Timmy Horton, Denney Brauer, Mark Tucker and Shaw Grigsby - each of whom apparently didn't put a fish in the boat.
3:20 p.m. Saturday
Go to http://louisianasportsman.com/communities/bassmasters/details_video.php?id=8198
to watch a vid about just how cool the Bassmaster VIP Experience giveaway turned out.
2:48 p.m. Saturday
Word has arrived that Brent Chapman is now culling fish, but there's not much time left. Photo in the comments.
2:35 p.m. Saturday
New recording-artists Bush Hawg is going to kick off a concert in the CenturyLink Center at 3:15, and it's supposed to be a great band. So if you haven't headed to the weigh-in site, jump in the car and get going.
Be prepared to stand in a line: Folks already were lined up into the parking lot an hour ago - and the doors don't open until 3 p.m. (see photo below)
12:40 p.m. Saturday
Almost a limit
Word from Brent Chapman's boat just came in: He apparently has his fourth fish of the day safely in the live well. Of that's any indication, the Red River might be stingy today. Picture of Chapman's fish is in the comments thread.
B.A.S.S.'s Eric Nichols just told me that the mornin weighin was packed. He said word is that several thousand folks were turned away because there was nowhere for them to park or stand at Red Rive Marina South. So if you plan to attend the final-day launch tomorrow, set that alarm early!
11:20 a.m. Saturday
Mark Menendez is working the show, and he said his Elite Seies year is in doubt because of an elbow injury. He's trying to avoid surgery, but he might be out for the season.
11:05 a.m Saturday
I'm at the Convention Center, and it's PACKED! It's a great show, so be sure and get out to see all the new offerings for the year.
Just talked to one of the LSU fishing team members. The team is fishing the Collegiate championship tomorrow on Cross Lake, which is notoriously tough. But Rhine told me there wer 5- and 6- pounders caught during yeaterday's practice.
Home state love
First-day leader Keith Poche said his intial showing in the 2012 Classic was made even more sweet because of its host location. 'It's great to be home, to be right down the road from where I was raise,' Poche said.
5:57 p.m. Friday
Louisiana native Keith Poche just took the lead of the Classic with 17-13, putting him a mere 1 ounce ahead of Greg Vinson. He's set himself up to win one from his home-state fans!
5:53 p.m. Friday
KVD in a hole
Defending Classic champion Kevin Van Dam has a huge challenge tomorrow: He brought only 11 pounds to the scales, putting him well behind the leader. Can he make it up?
4:45 p.m. Friday
Inattention to detail
Mark Tucker weighed only two fish worth 5 pounds, 7 ounces but he lost two fish. One of those because he lost focus and chunked a spinnerbait that still had a hook guard from practice. A 4-pounder slammed it, only to shake off at the boat. 'I felt like packing up and leaving,' Tucker said.
3:57 p.m. Friday
All over but the weigh-in
Fishing has ended for the day, and indications are that Greg Vinson has held he lead with 17 1/2 pounds. The top 20, according to BassTrakk, includes three former Classic winners: Davy Hite (1999), Alton Jones (2008) and Takahiro Omori (2004).
3:15 p.m. Friday
South Carolina's Dustin Wilks said yesterday that he didn't have a good practice, but BassTrakk now shows him in third with 15 1/2 pounds.
3:03 p.m Friday
A little something special
A little bird told me one of the pros is going to 'do something special' during the weigh-in, so be sure to tune into the streaming video at http://www.bassmaster.com/video/2012-bassmaster-classic-weigh-ins!
The first fish should hit the scales about 4:30 p.m.
2:35 p.m. Friday
There's been a big leaderboard change, according to BassTrakk: Elite Series pro Greg Vinson has jumped to the top with 17-8, Florida's Bobby Lane looks like he's in second at 15-8 and Josh Polfer remains in third with 15-7.
Bassmaster's BassTrakk is cool to watch and provides at least some idea of what's going on on the water, but it's not a guarantee, by any means. Case in point: David Walker had been reported to have put 18-10 in his livewell, but only minutes later that weight was changed to 15-01. It's all an estimate by observers, so things could really change once the weigh-in gets started.
2:06 p.m. Friday
Tennessee's David Walker has reportedly taken the lead with 18-10, and Keith Combs has edged into a third-place tie.
Doors to the CenturyLink Center open in less than an hour for the weigh-in, and the line already is forming. And more folks are streaming in. The facility seats about 13,500, so make sure you are here early enough to get one of them. NOTE: The doors were shut by the fire marshals during the 2009 Classic here, and many late-comers were turned away.
1:15 p.m. Friday
OK, so I was wrong: The crowd isn't at the launch area: They're south near Caspiana. Sorry, guys, I just got discombobulated.
1:04 p.m. Friday
Federation Nation strong
The Federation Nation anglers aren't intimidated by the likes of KVD: Josh Polfer and Tom Jessop are currently sitting in the second and third spots with 15-7 and 15-0, respectively. At least that's where BassTrakk puts them.
More on the Hack
Just heard more from Lyle Johnson, who apparently switched out of Hackney's boat. But he said the estimate he heard from Greg's final observer of the day was that the Hack has 13 to 15 pounds. That would put him at least in the top 10 if BassTrakk weights are anywhere close to accurate.
12;57 p.m. Friday
BREAKING NEWS: I just got word from Greg Hackney's observer (Lyle John of Ascension Sportsman) that Greg Hackney has a limit and is already on the way back from his fishing area in Pool 3 near Natchitoches. That's a short fishing day ....
12:15 p.m. Friday
Elite Series pro Greg Vinson looks to making a big move: He's jumped to tie David Walker for first place on BassTrakk.
Hackney building steam
After the long run to Natchitoches in Pool 3, Greg Hackney seems to be on fish. He's currently in 10 pounds - just more than 7 pounds out of the lead. Of course, he's got limited time before he'll have to head back so he can make it through the two locks.
11:40 a.m Friday
Hack Attack strategy
We just looked up Greg Hackney up on the BassTrakk system, and he's apparently he's found productive waters WAAAAY down the river: The GPS locator is showing him fishing just outside of Natchitoches. He told me privately last night that he was thinking about locking twice ....
Looks like at least half the field stayed in Pool 5, with just a pile of anglers stacked in one backwater just north of Red River Marina South. They're certainly close to the landing, which means more fishing time, but that could be counterbalanced by the sheer amount of pressure on the fish.
11:20 A.M. Friday
David Walker is shown as the leader as of about 11:30, posting 17 pounds, 8 ounces on the BassTrakk system. Other top pros in the leaders pack include Florida's Chris Lane, South Carolina's Davy Hite and Dustin Wilks, Arkansas' Steven Browningand Matt Reed.
Federation Nation showing strong
The Federation Nation is being represented well, with Idaho's Josh Polfer currently showing the second-place weight (15-07) and Texas' Tom Jessop showing up in eighth with 12-04.
With about half of the first fishing day gone, there are at least anecdotal indications that fishing could be tough for most of the field. According to BassTrakk (the on-the-water reporting system), only the top 19 anglers have moved into double-digit weights.
The chances of Kevin Van Dam defending his 2010 championship looks pretty slim right now, with BassTalk logging him in at 4 pounds. Of course, he's KVD, and can catch 20 pounds quick.