Monday, February 21, 2011

Bass Master Classic 2011 Day 3: Classy Classic Moments

Bass Master Classic: Post Classic
Classy Classic Moments
Sunday,  February 20, 2011
Louisiana Delta
New Orleans, La.
By Luigi De Rose

By now, everyone has learnt that Kevin Van Dam smashed records on the Delta. But what might have been missed with all the cheering were the many classy moments. Many claim that professional tournament fishing is the best sport ever. True sportsmanship, honour and friendships are made and displayed on and off the water. Here are three cool things you need to know.

A Touching Toot
Kerchal's Fish Whistle.
Photo: James Overstree (BASS)
Brandon Palaniuk finished in fourth. A great achievement for any pro but he isn't a pro. He is a Federation member from Idaho. Also, he was in the mix with the rest of the Top 10 fishing Lake Cataouatche (Lake Cat) so to pull off such an amazing performance in front of the best anglers in the world is pretty cool. What is even cooler is that after he weighted his final limit he spoke of Bryan Kerchal. Bryan Kerchal is the 1994 Classic Champ and the only Federation angler to win a Classic.  Unfortunately, Bryan died in a plane crash a few months after his victory. 

One quirky element of Kerchal was that he blew his fish whistle every time he boated a bass during the 1994 Classic. It was Bryan's lucky charm.  So, in memory of Bryan and in honour of all Federation Nation anglers, Brandon blew into a Kerchal fish whistle. The packed house roared with excitement and clapped as for this classy young angler's appreciation for all the Federation Nation's support.

Leading the Way
Gary Klein needs to be honoured for his classy act of allowing Brett Chapman, a fellow competitor to follow him down to bass rich Venice area on day 2. Without Gary's help, Chapman wouldn't have had any time to fish and might have killed himself or someone else without the aide of Klein's leadership and radar unit. (Learn more about Vinson's near death experience on his foggy run on Day 2 in a future post) Why help Chapman, a fellow competitor? Probably the pure act of kindness and respect for the welfare of Brett and others. Actually, this kind act hurt Klein because Chapman's day 2 limit went 20 pounds, launching Brett into 2nd place. Many felt this was Gary's Classic to win and the pressure of obtaining a life time goal could of swayed Gary's mind. It didn't and that is why Gary Klein will always be a true Bassmaster legend.

A Helping Hand and Bait

Cranking it out.
Photo: James Overstreet (BASS)
 The story of this year's Classic was the Tank Pond area of Lake Cat. Fishing nose to nose, Van Dam, Aaron Martens and Scott Rook were 1, 2, and 3 after day 1.  During his victory press conference, Van Dam acknowledged that he had given Scott Rook the exact same Strike King coloured crankbait that he was using to Rook to use on day 3. Why would anyone on the verge of winning the most prestigious title in all of bass fishing give a fellow competitor the perfect lure? Kevin explained the two were good friends. The story gets better. The strangest thing is that they were fishing boat to boat. Any bass Rook would catch would be detrimental to Van Dam's possible success.  Kevin topped that gracious act by giving Rook additional advice on Day 3.

Seeing Rook struggling, he mouthed instructions to slow the retrieve down as the two passed each other while competing. Van Dam's instructions did help as Rook's afternoon catch improved greatly. Not only is Van Dam the best bass angler ever he might be the kindest too.

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