OUT: OUTside Connection Column February 18, 2009

Bassmaster Classic turns 39

Cabin fever? Not when it’s Super Bowl time.

This isn’t your usual Super Bowl, with over-fed guys “wearing helmets on their melons,” as sportscaster Mike Golic once said.

Rather, this is the Super Bowl of bass fishing, the 2009 Bassmaster Classic.

This year’s classic, the 39th, takes place Friday through Sunday on waters around Shreveport and Bossier (say that “Bo-zher”) City, La., and features 51 anglers, including the first woman to qualify for the Bassmaster Classic, Australian Kim Bain-Moore of Alabaster, Ala.

The Bassmaster Classic was conceived in 1971 when Alabama promoter Ray Scott touted a special tournament by inviting 24 top bass anglers to fish on a secret lake. The lake eventually proved to be Lake Mead, Nev., but reports from that initial tournament say Scott was so successful in keeping the lake a secret that not one spectator showed up.

Here is some Bassmaster trivia: The first classic was won by Bobby Murray of Hot Springs, Ark., who weighed nearly six pounds of fish more than the next competitor and pocketed $10,000 for his efforts.

Last year’s Classic winner was 44-year old Alton Jones of Waco, who in three days of fishing caught 49-pounds, 7-ounces of bass and won a cool half-million dollars. He returns this year in an attempt to win consecutive classics.  The classic’s only back-to-back winner has been Rick Clunn in 1976-77.

Among the many changes during the 39 years of Bassmaster Classics you’ll find anglers now wearing enough sponsor tags to compete as bulletin boards, total prize money topping $1.2 million plus endorsements and an estimated 70,000 spectators are expected this year.

WHAT: The 2009 Bassmaster Classic

WHERE: Shreveport and Bossier City, La.

WHEN: Friday through Sunday, with 13 hours of live coverage on ESPN television and radio.

WHO: Fifty-one of the biggest names in professional bass fishing, including a few not-so-well
known anglers, any one of which may upset the leaders.

WHY: Inside the circus atmosphere are some dedicated anglers offering plenty of tips you can use this summer at Lake Powell.

INFORMATION: http://sports.espn.go.com/outdoors/tournaments/classic/index.


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