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Attend the 2017 GEICO Bassmaster Classic

OUTDOOR EXPO PRESENTED BY DICK'S SPORTING GOODS
The Bassmaster Classic Expo will take place at the George R. Brown Convention Center in Houston, Texas from March 24-26.

B.A.S.S.’s largest expo ever
See the latest, greatest equipment and gear
Get up close and personal with all the big-name pros including Rick Clunn, Bill Dance, Roland Martin, Jimmy Houston and Hank Parker
Prizes, giveaways and deals on merchandise
Military Appreciation Day - Friday, March 24 (Bring your military I.D. for discounts and official Bassmaster hat.)
Daily Admission: Free

Location
George R. Brown Convention Center
1001 Avenida de las Americas
Houston, Texas 77010

The Classic is almost here

The 2017 GEICO Bassmaster Classic presented by DICK’S Sporting Goods is almost here, and I can hardly wait.

During the practice period, I’ve grown to love Lake Conroe. It seems like anything can happen on any cast. You could come up empty or you could catch a giant. I haven’t caught any of those giants in practice, but I’ve seen enough to know they live here, and you can’t argue with what lives in a lake.

The extended forecast for the Classic looks interesting. Friday and Saturday are calling for thunderstorms and wind. Sunday should be clear and windy. There will also be a new moon on Monday, so that could bring in another wave of spawners. Right now, the water temperature is 65 to 70 degrees. Just how all of this will influence the fishing is the $300,000 question — the prize for the winner.

With so much happening with the weather and moon phase, I really think this is going to be a thinking angler’s tournament. I’ll be surprised if it’s won in a single area or on just one or two baits. To win, an angler is going to have to roll with the punches and make better adjustments than the rest of the field. To a degree, that’s always true, but this year even more so.

Dick Faurot And Edwin Evers

Dick Faurot and Edwin Evers head out to Grand Lake. Fishing's Super Bowl gets started Friday just outside of Houston.

LIVE ready for Classic coverage

Fifty-two of the world’s best bass anglers will head to Houston next week to compete for more than $1 million in the 2017 GEICO Bassmaster Classic presented by DICK’S Sporting Goods, and fans will be able to follow the action as it happens.

Classic LIVE will be broadcasting in real time from the B.A.S.S. booth at the Classic Outdoors Expo presented by DICK’S Sporting Goods in the George R. Brown Convention Center.

“What an incredible venue we have this year being set up in the heart of Houston, Texas, and watching the action unfold live on a lake that some anglers are saying might produce multiple 10-pound-plus bass,” said Mike McKinnis, vice president of media content for JM Associates and producer of The Bassmasters TV show on ESPN2.

Cameras will be streaming live coverage of the Classic leaders on Lake Conroe back to the expo production facility, where hosts will break down the action for fans tuning in through Bassmaster.com and WatchESPN. Hosts Tommy Sanders, Mark Zona, and Davy Hite along with Dave Mercer and on-the-water reporter Robbie Floyd, will provide analysis and live updates.

This year, special guest Brian Robison of the Minnesota Vikings will also be onsite for the Classic LIVE show to provide some local insight. Robison played for the University of Texas and calls Lake Conroe his home lake.

Classic fish care in Houston

B.A.S.S. provides the absolute best fish care possible at every event it holds, from the Costa Bassmaster High School Series all the way up to the Bassmaster Elite Series.

But at the 2017 GEICO Bassmaster Classic presented by DICK’S Sporting Goods March 24-26, the measures will be even more extreme with the anglers and their catch facing a 43-mile commute from Lake Conroe back to Minute Maid Park in Houston.

The stadium is the home of Major League Baseball’s Houston Astros – and since the Astros have a home game scheduled just three days after the Classic, anglers and fish alike must remember to keep off the grass at the Minute Maid Park. But B.A.S.S. officials insist that won't keep the organization from continuing its excellent record of fish survival at Classic venues, which typically is 97 to 100 percent, according to National Conservation Director Gene Gilliland.

"We certainly expect to achieve the same level of success at Lake Conroe," Gilliland said. “Every Classic – every situation – is different. But getting those fish safely back to Lake Conroe is our top priority.”

The fish care measures will begin with the 52 anglers competing at 21,000-acre Conroe. Since most of them make their livings catching fish – and none of them wants to incur the 4-ounce penalty charged for weighing a dead fish – they’ll take extreme measures to keep the fish healthy while they’re in their livewells.

"Our anglers are very conscientious when it comes to keeping their fish alive," Gilliland said. "Dead fish mean penalties and, in the most important bass tournament in the world, they don't want any deductions."

A year as Classic champ

I want to start by telling you that I’m sorry it’s been so long since my last column. The new Elite season and preparing for the upcoming GEICO Bassmaster Classic presented by DICK’S Sporting Goods have taken up a tremendous amount of time. Now that the Classic’s just a week away, preparation becomes even more important, but so does this column.

I hope to write several columns over the next couple of weeks and even a few during the Classic on Lake Conroe. My mind never stops churning as I get ready for it. I’m feeling good about my preparation and I’m super optimistic about my chances. The Classic is an easy tournament to get “up” for, and I want to make the most of my time and energy between now and Day 1.

This seems like the perfect time to tell you that I have thoroughly enjoyed being your Bassmaster Classic champion. Thank you all for making the experience so great! Yes, the money was nice and it’s created some business opportunities for me, but the very best thing about it has been the chance to meet so many of you.

As an Elite Series pro, I had a certain level of recognition on the road and at events. That increased exponentially after winning the Classic, and it’s very humbling. I’ve done my best to take the time to speak with everyone I could and to say “yes” to as many requests as possible. It’s been a great and very humbling experience.

I was especially rewarded by my efforts with Wounded Warriors in Action, taking these heroes fishing and raising money and awareness for a great cause. These veterans have become my friends, and I hope to work with them and support them for a long time to come.

Second Chances

OPTIMA Batteries

47 things to do at the 47th Bassmaster Classic

There are far more than 47 things to do and see at the March 24-26, GEICO Bassmaster Classic presented by DICK’S Sporting Goods. But to celebrate the 47th annual world championship of bass fishing, this list stops at No. 47.

Fishing fans can also use this list as a set of reasons to attend the world championship, which features 52 of the world’s best bass anglers competing for more than $1 million on Lake Conroe, about an hour outside of Houston, Texas, plus the gigantic Outdoors Expo in the George R. Brown Convention Center and daily weigh-in festivities at the Houston Astros’ Minute Maid Park. All activities are family-friendly and free to attend.

Help cheer on your favorite competitor at morning takeoffs. Come to Lake Conroe Park (14968 TX-105, Montgomery, Texas 77356) at 7:20 a.m. CT each morning and send off some of the world’s best bass anglers.
Donut forget breakfast. Warm donuts will be available on-site from Shipley Donuts.
Ride like the wind. Want to know what it feels like to ride like the wind? Come to the take-off site at Lake Conroe Park to test out the latest boats and engines from Mercury, Nitro, Skeeter, Triton and Yamaha.
Experience the largest Outdoors Expo of its kind. Visit the Bassmaster Classic Outdoors Expo presented by DICK’S Sporting Goods at the George R. Brown Convention Center (1001 Avenida de las Americas, Houston, Texas 77010). With more than 300,000 square feet of exhibit space, this Expo is the largest in Classic history. Expo hours areFriday, March 24, noon-8 p.m.; Saturday, March 25, 10 a.m.-7 p.m.; Sunday, March 26, 10 a.m.-4 p.m. All events are free to attend.
Schedule your day. Use the online floor plan to find out which booths you want to visit and what new product introductions you don’t want to miss — available at Bassmaster.com/expoattend.
Meet anglers and win prizes. Check out the Miss GEICO racing boat –– and have the chance to play games, win prizes and meet anglers at the GEICO booth.
Search for deals. Find hot buys, deeply discounted closeouts and launches of many of the newest products for 2017 at the DICK’S Sporting Goods booth and the Academy Sports + Outdoors booth, among others.
Get into the drama of daily weigh-ins. The doors of Minute Maid Park (501 Crawford St., Houston, Texas 77002) will open each day at 3 p.m. for B.A.S.S. Life and Nation members and at 3:15 p.m. for the general public, Friday-Sunday. Find a seat, then sit back, relax and enjoy the slate of pre-weigh-in entertainment.
Get Hooked On Fishing. Bring your kids to check out the Shell Bassmaster Get Hooked On Fishing presented by Academy Sports + Outdoors area from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., Fridayto Sunday. Activities include casting lessons, a kid’s fishing pond, a long-jump dog competition, animated character appearances and more. It’s free!

Conroe and the Classic record book

Tied record: Most Classic titles in field (12)

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