By Luigi De Rose
On the eve of any main sporting event there is always water cooler talk about who will win? Making predictions is fun but it takes a bit of educated guessing to get it right. Here are my choices. These anglers are selected for a variety of reasons. All are very skilled and could easily win. Winning the most important bass fishing tournament in the world is not a simple matter. This is the BASS MASTER CLASSIC.
If this becomes more of a pre-spawn situation with some colder weather blasting in, Mr. Klein is my man. Why? Past history and his determination. If Gary feels he is on the right fish to win he might be unstoppable. This is the guy who got shot at during a Delta Classic and didn't even flinch. He's tough!
His past wins speak volumes. During the 1993 Bassmaster Alabama Invitational (Feb 17 to 19) on Lake Eufaula he won by flipping and pitching in river eddies to edge out everyone during a very cold and stingy tournament. Same again at the 2003 Bassmaster Lake Seminole (Feb 6 to 9) event where Gary punched matted weeds. This was before anyone at the national level was punching mats. Both were February win during poor conditions.
Also, he is Yoda with a flippin' rod. He was swinging one at the 1979 Classic and almost won; so how can you not pick Gary Klein. I might not bet the farm on him but if he has a heavy limit on Day One, I might have to look under my mattress for an extra $50.
Why I like him? Two main reasons: history and mind set. He seems to always do well early in the season. There are hundreds of photos of him screaming with a toque on his head and a lunker in his hands. His mind set excudes determination. This time around his life is stable and full. A focused angler who has nothing to worry about is just as dangerous as the old Iaconelli who had the worries of the world and nothing to loose. In my opinion I expect a top showing. I give him 40% chance of winning but 80% for a Top 5 place.
Kevin Van Dam
Well there are my choices. As I write this I feel ill-equipped to really judge some of the meeker Classic qualifiers. I just don't know them well enough to call one a sure winner. Bill Lowen is someone who catches my eye. He loves shallow water river systems. He might be one I should pick but I don't know him well enough. If Takahiro Omori qualified for this Classic I would have him in my top picks for sure. Even with his busted hand. There are a few others but that's the fun of guessing.
We'll have to wait for Day 1 of the 2011 Bass Master Classic.