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And How: Randy Howell’s Charmed Last Day Leads To Bassmaster Classic Victory

very angler dreams of catching bass after giant bass like Randy Howell did on Sunday.Howell began hauling in Lake Guntersville lunkers minutes into the final round of the GEICO Bassmaster Classic presented by Diet Mountain Dew and GoPro. He lost track of how many culls he was able to make, but at one point he was trading 4- and 5-pounders for even larger bass.When Howell brought his bag to the scales, his five bass weighed 29 pounds, 2 ounces, with the largest going 7-3. The banner day beefed up his total to 67 pounds, 8 ounces.“I don’t even know if I’m going to win, but it doesn’t matter,” Howell said before all the 25 finalists came to the scales. “It was the best day I’ve ever had in 21 years of professional bass fishing, a day of a lifetime.”But his day did get better: He became the world champion, the 2014 Bassmaster Classic champ.“I’ve had this dream so many times, and it’s happening now. I can’t believe I won the Bassmaster Classic. I don’t win tournaments very often,” said Howell as he was announced the winner.Howell is a two-time Bassmaster event winner, including a 2013 Bass Pro Shops Bassmaster Northern Open presented by Allstate event that earned him his 2014 Classic qualification.Sunday’s victory — Howell’s first after 11 other tries as a Classic competitor — was worth $300,000 and the most coveted trophy in the sport. From Springville, Ala., Howell became only the second angler to win the Classic in his home state.Howell edged out B.A.S.S. Nation qualifier Paul Mueller of Naugatuck, Conn., by 1 pound. Mueller, who on Day 2 set a new one-day Classic weight record at 32-3, totaled 66-8 for second place.Third place was claimed by second-day leader Edwin Evers of Talala, Okla., with 65-11. Fourth was Ott DeFoe of Knoxville, Tenn., with 63-6, including the day’s largest bass, an 8-4. First-day leader Randall Tharp of Port St. Joe, Fla., finished in fifth place at 62-12.

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Oklahoma, West Alabama tie in Bassmaster College Classic

n the first-ever winner’s tie of the Carhartt Bassmaster College Series, the University of Oklahoma’s Caleb Masters and Landon Dixon and the University of West Alabama’s James Brumbelow and Andrew Warbington shared the trophy. Each team brought 16 pounds to the scales.On Alabama’s Lay Lake in Sunday’s fifth annual College Classic, the Oklahoma team spent most of the day in Spring Creek. Dixon said that the seasonal prespawn movement positioned fish in predictable locations, so he and Masters fished on instinct.“We caught fish on a lot of stuff where I didn’t get a bite in practice, but it was one of those deals where it just looked right,” Dixon said. “It was just time for them to be there.”Targeting riprap banks in 6 to 8 feet of water, the Oklahoma anglers caught fish on jigs, shaky heads and crankbaits, but the latter proved most productive. The Bomber Model 7A crankbait and Norman Deep Little N, both in the red craw color, produced most of their bites.Masters said that most of his team’s bass came before 10:30 a.m.Brumbelow and Warbington caught their fish in Paint Creek and in pockets off the main lake. They targeted sloping banks and caught their fish on Strike King 1.5 squarebill crankbaits in about 1 to 3 feet deep. They caught fish all day, but Brumbelow said morning was the most productive time for the team.Warbington said his team got only six bites, but they were able to boat each fish.“We loosened our drags when we were fighting each fish so we didn’t put too much pressure on them and pull the hooks,” he said.

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Evers eases into Classic lead by 1 ounce

Just 1 ounce separated the two frontrunners Saturday in the GEICO Bassmaster Classic presented by Diet Mountain Dew and GoPro, but it’s far from being a duel in Sunday’s finale, said the leader.“It’s not just me and him,” said Edwin Evers, who replaced Randall Tharp in the catbird seat in the Lake Guntersville competition. “There’s a lot of anglers in this yet who can catch them. Thirty-pound bags are possible.”After adding 20-9 Saturday, Evers of Talala, Okla., racked up a two-day total of 47 pounds, 6 ounces, enough to budge him out of second place. Tharp of Port St. Joe, Fla., weighed 19-13 Saturday for a running total of 47-5, 1 ounce shy of keeping his lead.The Evers-Tharp place switch was just the beginning of Saturday’s leaderboard shuffle. Moving up into the Top 5 was Ott DeFoe of Knoxville, Tenn., up from 11th place into third with 43-5, about 4 pounds out of first place. Jason Christie of Park Hill, Okla., moved from seventh into fourth with 42-14.The angler in fifth place leapt from 47th place to get there. Toting 32-3 to the scales — a one-day record for a five-bass-limit Classic — Paul Mueller of Naugatuck, Conn., amassed 41-13.The field was cut to the Top 25 for the final push Sunday toward a first prize of $300,000 and the crown of the sport. The cutline fell at 34-2, the two-day weight posted by Keith Combs of Huntington, Texas.Evers said he did not get many bites Saturday.“It was just a really hard day. I didn’t get the bites that I’d been getting, and the fish were not getting the bait. I lost a couple fish at the boat, about 4-pounders,” he said.

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EVERS TAKES THE CLASSIC LEAD

The 2014 Bassmaster Classic has a new leader after the second day of competition on Lake Guntersville.  After bringing a modest limit to the Classic scales weighing 20-9, Oklahoma’s Edwin Evers overtook Day One leader, Randall Tharp, by a single ounce with a total weight of 47-6.     Tharp entered Day Two riding high after an impressive 27-8 effort on Day One.   Despite losing over an hour of fishing time due to mechanical issues on Friday, the Florida pro managed a limit weighing 19-13 on Saturday to keep pace with Evers.  Ott DeFoe quietly finished the day in 3rd after opening round limits weighing 20-10 on Friday and 22-11 on Saturday.  Despite failing to steal headlines with giant limits, DeFoe’s consistency has him just 4-1 out of the lead heading into Championship Sunday.  Oklahoma’s Jason Christie finished in 4th place after mining Guntersville to the tune of 20-11 on Saturday to boost his total weight to 42-14.  After recording a 7th place finish in the 2013 Classic on Grand Lake, Christie will enter Sunday looking to lift the Classic trophy in only his second attempt.  Saturday’s showstopper was B.A.S.S. Nation angler Paul Mueller, who shocked the crowd with the heaviest five bass limit to ever cross a Classic stage.  Entering the day in 47th place with 9-10, Mueller weighed in 32-3 on Saturday to jump up to 5th place with a total weight of 41-13.   1st Place: Edwin Evers (26-13, 20-9: 47-6)Evers on his slow start to the day:  “I finished my limit out really late (in the day).  I just kept going as hard as I could because I knew that it could happen at any minute.  I felt like the day was going by super slow and I never felt rushed at all.  I kept thinking, ‘Man, I’ve still got time.’ I’m just glad that I got one big one.”  

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NITRO unveils Classic experience platform

NITRO Boats announced today that it has developed the NITROClassic fan experience platform for the Bassmaster Classic later this week at Lake Guntersville.NITROClassic will provide the public with access to a wide range of activities, contests and giveaways from the event’s launch to the final day of competition. Online, NITROClassic.com will act as the event’s digital hub, providing event schedules, maps and directions, social media feed and registration information for promotions.One of the many promotions will be the NITRO Check-In Challenge, which allows fans to check-in at various locations to receive free merchandise and gain exclusive access during the event. Also available is Blast Off with the Pros, in which fans are provided a chance to upgrade their test drive of a NITRO into a ride in a chase boat during the takeoff at the Classic.

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44 things to do at the Classic

There are far more than 44 things to do and see at the Feb. 21-23 GEICO Bassmaster Classic presented by Diet Mountain Dew and GoPro.

But, as a salute to this Classic being the 44th annual world championship of bass fishing, this list stops at No. 44. Fishing fans and their families will discover many more over the three days of the event.

Competition will take place on Lake Guntersville. All other activities will be in Birmingham at the Birmingham-Jefferson Convention Complex. There’s no charge to attend any Bassmaster Classic event.

1. Cheer on your favorites at the morning takeoffs. Fifty-five of the world’s best anglers in 55 of the most colorful and best-equipped bass boats in the sport will line up and power out onto Lake Guntersville at 7 a.m. Friday and Saturday, Feb. 21-22, from City Harbor in Guntersville, Ala. On Sunday, Feb. 23, only the 25 finalists who made the Saturday cut will compete. Sunday takeoff is also at 7 a.m. Shuttles from parking areas will be provided.

2. Ride like the wind. What’s it feel like to ride in a state-of-the-art bass boat powered by an engine larger than yourself? Courtesy of Mercury, Nitro, Skeeter, Triton and Yamaha, free demo rides from the launch site will be offered Friday-Sunday. Ages 16 and up can sign up at the tents.

3. Do some star-gazing. The best bet for up-close views of the pros in action on the water is to stay glued to Bassmaster.com. Those lucky enough to live on Lake Guntersville (or who have good friends who live there) can watch from shore and have fun glassing the boats as they whiz by. For fans planning to take a boat out on the water, Bassmaster Classic officials request that all spectators keep their distance, and don’t try to talk to the anglers or fish their water after they leave (they’ll need the option to return to that spot).

4. Get into the drama of the daily weigh-ins. The doors at the BJCC Arena will open each day at 3 p.m., Friday-Sunday. Find a seat, then sit back, relax and enjoy the Evan Williams Bourbon Classic Warm-up, a slate of pre-weigh-in entertainment.

5. Score the best seat in the house. Text to win a seat on the Evan Williams Bourbon couch located at the front of the Livewell, the VIP seating in front of the stage. The daily texting contest, Evan Williams Seriously Good Seats Contest, will be announced in the arena at 3:30 p.m. each day, and fans 21 years and up will have 15 minutes to text “Evan Williams” to 271-26. The winner gets space on couch for themselves and up to three others.

6. Say, “How ’bout them dogs.” The canine athletes of the Super Retriever Series will show their stuff as part of the Warm-up show.

7. Make some noise. Mercury will distribute thundersticks to fans as they enter the arena. Bassmaster Elite Series pro Byron Velvick will canvas the crowd to select the “craziest” fan to receive a cool prize.

8. Drink the Dew. Diet Mountain Dew will distribute free cans of soft drinks for the first 10 minutes after the arena doors open.

9. Show off your catching skills. Mercury T-shirts will be shot into the stands. Be ready to catch them.

10. Win a GoPro camera. Watch the big screen in the arena for texting instructions for a chance to win a GoPro unit, the camera that can catch the action up close under extreme conditions.

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On the road with Edwin and Jason

Edwin Evers and Jason Christie traveled today to Guntersville and sent us some videos documenting their trip.

Major League Fishing Announces Expansion

Major League Fishing will double in size in 2014 by adding two events and 24 new anglers. The new events will be sponsored by GEICO. Called the GEICO Selects, the events will be filmed this year and televised early in 2015 by Outdoor Channel, America’s Leader in Outdoor TV. Prior to their television run, the two events – the Summit Select and the Challenge Select - will be aired as extended-coverage, web-based broadcasts. The new Major League Fishing anglers are: Scott Ashmore, Brent Chapman, Jason Christie, Keith Combs, Ott DeFoe, Kurt Dove, Paul Elias, Todd Faircloth, Randy Howell, Andy Montgomery, Cliff Pace, Brandon Palaniuk, Keith Poche, Marty Robinson, Mark Rose, Casey Scanlon, Morizo Shimizu, Kevin Short, Fletcher Shryock, Michael Simonton, Scott Suggs, Gerald Swindle, James Watson and Jacob Wheeler. “Major League Fishing has been successful beyond our most hopeful expectations," said Major League Fishing General Manager Jim Wilburn. "In fact, I’ve never seen a sports property gain the kind of momentum that Major League Fishing earned in such a short period of time. Our ratings, sponsor support and fan reaction are off the charts. “As a result, Outdoor Channel and the existing Major League Fishing anglers believe that it is time to expand our reach and our brand," Wilburn said. "So we’re taking the next logical step, which is to bring in additional quality anglers and produce more events. And we have a terrific partner in GEICO, who understands what we’re doing and wants to be part of our growth.” GEICO Vice President of Marketing Ted Ward said, “Fishing is one of America’s favorite pastimes, and the sport of angling has grown immensely. We are excited about the possibilities of working with Major League Fishing and promoting the GEICO brand to the vast community of anglers nationwide.” - See more at: http://www.majorleaguefishing.com/news_details.aspx?id=5537#sthash.z9EFz...

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Central Open #1 Basscam.

Edwin Evers recaps his day.

Open: Day One weigh-in

Edwin Evers (9th, 11-12)

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