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Bass Angler Magazine

Classic Rookies Trying to Ignore the Pressure

By Tim Tipton

While Edwin Evers and Randall Tharp sit atop the leaderboard at the show at the GEICO Bassmaster Classic presented by Diet Mountain Dew and GoPro on Alabama’s Lake Guntersville, 14 anglers took to the water this weekend for their first Classic experience. Being on bass fishing’s biggest stage can cause anxiety, but once the fishing starts, the Classic rookies have one goal in mind.

Veteran Gary Klein is fishing his 30th Classic and still remembers the first time he took to the water in the big event.

“I remember every cast I made in my first Classic,” Klein said. “I honestly went in the tournament thinking I was going to win and so do these guys.  “You have to be confident in your abilities and I was. As a matter of fact, they asked me at media day who I thought was going to win and I told them I was. You have to have that confidence.”

Among the first-timers is former BFL All-American Champion Adam Wagner. The Cookeville, TN native qualified by winning the Bassmaster Weekend Series championship and says nothing really prepares you for the hype of the Classic.

“It’s really been overwhelming with the hype leading up to the tournament,” Wagner explained. “All the media and all the fans here can be a little bit intimidating, but once I got on the water it was okay. I’m in my comfort zone on the lake and you forget about the rest of it. Then it is just fishing.”

Wagner weighed a five fish limit of 14-14 on day one that has him sitting in 37th. Place. It was not the start he was hoping for to his first ever Classic.

“I had one spot I started on this morning where I had been catching 3-to 5-pounders on it during practice,” Wagner said. ”I pulled up there first thing in the morning and caught my first three fish, but they were all 2-pounders. I left, went to another spot on a jerkbait, went back to the first spot and caught a 4-pounder and that was all I caught there.”

On day two Wagner made a big move. He landed a five-fish limit that pushed the scales 24-3. The weight moved him into ninth place going into tomorrow.

Another Classic Rookie is Jordan Lee, who qualified through the college series. The Cullman, AL resident said pressure didn’t affect him, but said a lack of bites was his downfall on day one.

“I didn’t really feel any pressure at all,” Lee observed. “I just went out and did all I could and that’s really all I can do. It’s just all about getting the bites for me.”

Lee brought in four bass weighing 13-7 which landed him in 40th place going into Saturday.

“It was a tough day for me,” Lee said. “I just didn’t get enough bites today. I stuck with a jig because I really thought I could get some quality bites on it, but it ended up they I just didn’t get the number of bites I needed.”

Still Lee is enjoying his Classic experience and was optimistic that he could rally on day two.  And rally he did. Lee came to the scales with 24 pounds –including an 8-pound, 8-ounce largemouth- that elevated him firmly inside the top 25 to fish day three.  His big bucketmouth was the big bass of the day.

“I really wasn’t stressing a lot after yesterday,” Lee said. “I know this lake very well and I know that you can make up some ground. I just kept my head and fell back on something I did here a couple of years ago and it worked again.”

The rookie who has made the biggest splash was Paul Mueller. The Naugatuck, CT native broke the 2006 record for a five fish limit, bringing 32-pounds, 3-ounces to the scales.

“I went out with the intention of trying to catch enough weight to make the cut,” Mueller said. “I really was just fishing to try to get enough weight to make sure I could fish on day three.”

Fishing continues for the top 25 anglers on Sunday at the Birmingham Jefferson Civic Complex.

2014 GEICO Bassmaster Classic presented by Mountain Dew and GoPro

(ANGLER) Standings Day 2

Angler                   Hometown              No./lbs-oz  Pts   Total $$$

1.  Edwin Evers            Talala, OK              10  47-06    0
Day 1: 5   26-13     Day 2: 5   20-09
2.  Randall Tharp          Port Saint Joe, FL      10  47-05    0   $2,500.00
Day 1: 5   27-08     Day 2: 5   19-13
3.  Ott DeFoe              Knoxville, TN           10  43-05    0
Day 1: 5   20-10     Day 2: 5   22-11
4.  Jason Christie         Park Hill, OK           10  42-14    0
Day 1: 5   22-03     Day 2: 5   20-11
5.  Paul Mueller           Naugatuck, CT            8  41-13    0
Day 1: 3   09-10     Day 2: 5   32-03
6.  Casey Ashley           Donalds, SC             10  41-12    0
Day 1: 5   23-02     Day 2: 5   18-10
7.  Chad Morgenthaler      Coulterville, IL        10  41-03    0
Day 1: 5   19-05     Day 2: 5   21-14
8.  Jonathon VanDam        Kalamazoo, MI           10  39-05    0
Day 1: 5   20-11     Day 2: 5   18-10
9.  Adam Wagner            Cookeville, TN          10  39-01    0
Day 1: 5   14-14     Day 2: 5   24-03
10. Terry Scroggins        San Mateo, FL           10  38-12    0
Day 1: 5   16-15     Day 2: 5   21-13
11. Randy Howell           Springville, AL         10  38-06    0
Day 1: 5   20-03     Day 2: 5   18-03
12. Todd Faircloth         Jasper, TX              10  37-09    0
Day 1: 5   16-06     Day 2: 5   21-03
13. Brandon Palaniuk       Hayden, ID              10  37-09    0
Day 1: 5   16-11     Day 2: 5   20-14
14. Jordan Lee             Vinemont, AL             9  37-07    0
Day 1: 4   13-07     Day 2: 5   24-00
15. Aaron Martens          Leeds, AL               10  37-05    0
Day 1: 5   15-10     Day 2: 5   21-11
16. Dean Rojas             Lake Havasu City, AZ    10  36-05    0
Day 1: 5   20-14     Day 2: 5   15-07
17. Morizo Shimizu         Osaka JAPAN             10  36-02    0
Day 1: 5   16-11     Day 2: 5   19-07
18. David Kilgore          Jasper, AL              10  35-10    0
Day 1: 5   18-15     Day 2: 5   16-11
19. Bobby Lane             Lakeland, FL            10  35-07    0
Day 1: 5   12-15     Day 2: 5   22-08
20. Doug Thompson          Mabelvale, AR            9  34-14    0
Day 1: 4   12-07     Day 2: 5   22-07
21. Fred Roumbanis         Bixby, OK                8  34-12    0
Day 1: 5   23-02     Day 2: 3   11-10
22. Coby Carden            Shelby, AL               9  34-07    0
Day 1: 5   22-04     Day 2: 4   12-03
23. Ish Monroe             Hughson, CA              9  34-05    0
Day 1: 5   18-08     Day 2: 4   15-13
24. David Walker           Sevierville, TN          9  34-03    0
Day 1: 5   24-13     Day 2: 4   09-06
25. Keith Combs            Huntington, TX          10  34-02    0
Day 1: 5   20-03     Day 2: 5   13-15
26. Kevin VanDam           Kalamazoo, MI           10  33-04    0
Day 1: 5   16-02     Day 2: 5   17-02
27. Hank Cherry Jr         Maiden, NC              10  33-00    0
Day 1: 5   15-09     Day 2: 5   17-07
28. John Crews Jr          Salem, VA                9  32-12    0
Day 1: 4   18-10     Day 2: 5   14-02
29. Tommy Biffle           Wagoner, OK             10  32-10    0
Day 1: 5   20-13     Day 2: 5   11-13
30. Bill Lowen             Brookville, IN          10  31-11    0
Day 1: 5   15-05     Day 2: 5   16-06
31. Brent Chapman          Lake Quivira, KS        10  31-10    0
Day 1: 5   17-11     Day 2: 5   13-15
32. Cliff Crochet          Pierre Part, LA          7  31-04    0
Day 1: 2   07-05     Day 2: 5   23-15
33. Patrick Bone           Cleveland, GA           10  31-04    0
Day 1: 5   15-07     Day 2: 5   15-13
34. Rick Morris            Lake Gaston, VA          9  29-04    0
Day 1: 4   15-04     Day 2: 5   14-00
35. Jeff Lugar             Mcgaheysville, VA        8  27-08    0
Day 1: 3   11-10     Day 2: 5   15-14
36. Chris Lane             Guntersville, AL         9  27-06    0
Day 1: 5   15-01     Day 2: 4   12-05
37. John Murray            Phoenix, AZ             10  26-12    0
Day 1: 5   13-11     Day 2: 5   13-01
38. Greg Vinson            Wetumpka, AL             8  26-09    0
Day 1: 5   16-13     Day 2: 3   09-12
39. Chris Jones            Bokoshe, OK              8  26-02    0
Day 1: 5   16-10     Day 2: 3   09-08
40. Josh Bertrand          Gilbert, AZ             10  25-04    0
Day 1: 5   12-13     Day 2: 5   12-07
41. Mark Dove              North Vernon, IN         9  24-09    0
Day 1: 5   12-08     Day 2: 4   12-01
42. Yusuke Miyazaki        Forney, TX               8  23-15    0
Day 1: 5   17-05     Day 2: 3   06-10
43. Mark Davis             Mount Ida, AR            9  22-10    0
Day 1: 4   10-00     Day 2: 5   12-10
44. Steve Kennedy          Auburn, AL               8  22-06    0
Day 1: 5   15-07     Day 2: 3   06-15
45. Alton Jones            Lorena, TX               8  21-03    0
Day 1: 5   15-07     Day 2: 3   05-12
46. Timothy Johnston       Kalispell , MT           6  20-10    0
Day 1: 2   07-10     Day 2: 4   13-00
47. Michael Iaconelli      Pitts Grove, NJ          5  19-15    0
Day 1: 4   15-09     Day 2: 1   04-06
48. Takahiro Omori         Emory, TX                7  19-06    0
Day 1: 5   14-12     Day 2: 2   04-10
49. Skeet Reese            Auburn, CA               6  19-05    0
Day 1: 2   07-12     Day 2: 4   11-09
50. Rich Howes             Oviedo, FL               5  17-00    0
Day 1: 5   17-00     Day 2: 0   00-00
51. Clifford Pirch         Payson, AZ               6  16-01    0
Day 1: 2   07-04     Day 2: 4   08-13
52. Chris Zaldain          San Jose, CA             4  11-05    0
Day 1: 3   09-10     Day 2: 1   01-11
53. Gerald Swindle         Warrior, AL              3  08-00    0
Day 1: 1   02-01     Day 2: 2   05-15
54. Stephen Browning       Hot Springs, AR          2  07-03    0
Day 1: 1   03-12     Day 2: 1   03-07
55. Gary Klein             Weatherford, TX          2  06-12    0
Day 1: 1   04-06     Day 2: 1   02-06
———————————————————————–
Totals
Day   #Limits    #Fish      Weight
1        39       239       863-15
2        34       228       803-12
———————————-
73       467      1667-11

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