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.
Edwin Evers and Jason Christie traveled today to Guntersville and sent us some videos documenting their trip.
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...
Edwin Evers recaps his day.
Edwin Evers (9th, 11-12)
Oklahoma's Edwin Evers was lost in deep thought, his face barely illuminated by the pre-dawn glow of boat electronics. That was understandable, since he was sitting in his boat while he searched the electronic map of Long Lake, hoping to find some bass catching clues about the Alpena water body. If E-2 could do that, and be one of the first three anglers to catch 40 pounds to survive Sudden Death Day Two of the 2014 Summit Cup, he would be in position to do what no man has ever done in the building history of Jack Link's Major League Fishing. And that would be to win a second MLF crown. Interrupting his pre-launch thoughts, I asked Evers a series of questions. His answers, as he scanned a map of Long Lake for the first time, fully illustrate the dilemma that MLF anglers have faced at this event. They have no idea where they are fishing until they pull into the boat ramp parking lot. The first question was this: Any similarities between Long and Hubbard Lake (site of the Elimination Round)? "Oh, without a doubt," said Evers as his eyes scanned the map. "I think the lakes are going to fish similar. I don't know how many miles apart they are as the crow flies but looking at the maps, (there are some similar things)." But as he continued looking at the map, Evers' brow furrowed a bit. "Well, I guess this lake's a lot shallower," he said. "But I would have to (still) think that it's going to be similar. I don't know; there may be more grass in this lake because it is shallower. It's got some nice flats, some nice shoals on it." - See more at: http://majorleaguefishing.com/news_details.aspx?id=5502#sthash.m6F1flqB....
A spin-off of the successful Bassmaster Elite Series Marshal program, the new Elite Experience offers intense instruction and personal coaching by Elite pros — and the opportunity for fans to actually go fishing with one.
Offered in conjunction with the 2014 Bassmaster Elite Series season, most Elite Experience sessions will happen Saturdays and Sundays.
Saturdays will be filled with seminars and workshops conducted by Elite pros. The next day will be a pro-am tournament in which two Elite Experience participants will be paired with an Elite pro to form a three-angler team.
Each team will compete against all other Elite Experience pro-am teams on a body of water near the concurrent Elite event’s fishery. Each team can weigh in five bass. The heaviest bag will determine the winner.
Prizes will be awarded, with payouts based on the number of entries. In addition, the one angler with the largest bass will win a prize.
The height of the Experience will be when the winning team members are brought up on the Bassmaster Elite Series stage and recognized for their accomplishment.
Michigan - the Great Lakes State - is a fisherman's paradise.Surrounded to the west, the north and the east by the waters of the Great Lakes - not to mention the countless reservoirs, natural lakes, potholes, rivers, streams and flowages that dot the Michigan map - and there's little wonder why the state has the nickname that it does.Heck, even the name "Michigan" suggests how good the fishing is here, being a French form of the Ojibwa Native American word "mihigamaa" which means large water or large lake.Find one of those water bodies or lakes inside the borders of Michigan and you've undoubtedly found a first-class, if not a world-class, fishery.From the trout that swim rivers like the Au Sable (and provide the inspiration for Ernest Hemingway's "Big Two-Hearted River") to the salmon and walleye of the Great Lakes to the muskies, perch, bluegills and black bass of Pure Michigan's 11,000-plus lakes and rivers, the simple truth is that an angler will never run out of a place to wet a line in the state.Especially in the Alpena area, a quaint fishing town of nearly 12,000 people living on the shores of Lake Huron's picturesque Thunder Bay.That might help explain why the cameras, tournament officials, Outdoor Channel workers and the 24 professional anglers of Jack Link's Major League Fishing, and even Jack Link's Sasquatch himself, recently found themselves in this beautiful northern Michigan community for the filming of the 2014 General Tire Summit Cup."We are known for some of the best bass fishing in the state," said Mary Beth Stutzman, president of the Alpena Convention and Visitor's Bureau.- See more at: http://www.majorleaguefishing.com/news_details.aspx?id=3253#sthash.IrCJB...
Luke Clausen was spooked by the space-age restrooms. Chris Zaldain remembers the sun virtually staying put during his 12-hour flight across the Pacific. Edwin Evers was struck by how clean everything was.By all accounts, the recent trip to Megabass' Japanese headquarters for the company's U.S. pro staff was memorable and successful on many fronts. It had been 10 years since Aaron Martens, who trails only Randy Blaukat in tenure on the Megabass team, had been overseas. The other three pros – Clausen, Zaldain and Evers – had never been.It was a rich cultural experience and gave them all an opportunity to see the inner workings of Megabass on its home turf. The pros did new product testing at Lake Biwa – imagine Evers and Martens casting shoulder to shoulder from the same front deck. They also toured the company's main headquarters in Hamamatsu, visited the new Megabass showroom in Osaka, traded stories and design ideas with company CEO Yuki Ito and tried to soak up all the sights and sounds in less than a week's time."It was the experience of a lifetime," Zaldain said. "Being new on the team this year, being able to connect with Luke, Aaron and Edwin in a different setting was neat. It wasn't at ICAST or the Classic. It just put us all in a different setting and we got to know each other a lot better that way."Clausen, Zaldain and Megabass USA vice president Yuskei Murayama flew into Tokyo a couple days ahead of Martens' and Evers' arrival and were able to take in some of the city's tourist attractions."I couldn't believe how fast life is there," Zaldain said. "I've never been to New York, but I can only imagine it's very similar. People are like ants. There are just so many people there. It was a major culture shock. Just the sheer number of people blew me away."Clausen said it was interesting to see how a completely different culture operates, even if he jokingly complained that he needed a college degree to operate the toilets in Japan."It was definitely equal parts, 'This is where Megabass comes from' and 'Holy cow, it's a completely different country,'" Murayama said. "It was quite a cultural experience for them."As Megabass continues to make strides to increase brand awareness among U.S. anglers, the pros got an up close look at how well-known Megabass is across the Pacific."Megabass in Japan is a different beast than Megabass in the States," Murayama said. "Japan is obviously Megabass' home territory and its share of the hard bait market is very large in Japan. We're still the largest manufacturer as far as hard baits are concerned and they're in virtually every tackle shop in Japan."