The 2012 Bassmaster Classic: 10 Things to Know

No fishing tournament in the world gets the kind of fan and media attention as the Bassmaster Classic, the Super Bowl of bass fishing, as it's often called. This year it takes place Feb. 24-26 on the Red River out of Shreveport-Bossier City, La., the same site as the 2009 Classic. In that tournament, Skeet Reese won by just 11 measly ounces. Will the Classic this year be as close, or will Kevin VanDam dominate again? There's a lot going on for this year's Classic: here's 10 of the top things to keep in mind as the championship draws near.

KVD Aims For First Ever Three-peat

bassmaster classic
Kevin VanDam on stage with his 2011 Bassmaster Classic winning trophy.
B.A.S.S./Jason Cohn

No angler in the history of the sport has ever won three Bassmaster Classic titles in a row. In fact, until Kevin VanDam?s back-to-back victories the last two years, only legendary angler Rick Clunn has ever won even just two in a row, way back in 1976 and ?77. Clunn - who also shares the record for all-time Classic wins (4) with KVD - came as close you could in ?78, finishing second to Bobby Murray. Will KVD succeed where Clunn couldn?t and get that three-peat, and also stand alone for all-time Classic wins with five?

Click here to see an exclusive interview with Kevin VanDam after winning the 2011 Classic.

History?s Not On His Side (sort of)

bassmaster classic
Kevin VanDam hopes to weigh in some bass like this at the upcoming Classic.
B.A.S.S./Jason Cohn

Not only is KVD trying to be the first angler to win three in a row, he has to battle the demons left behind after a relatively poor finish in 2009, the last time the Red River hosted the Classic. KVD placed 30th in that tournament, finishing well behind winner Skeet Reese. Despite the result in 2009, VanDam has won two Classics in Louisiana already, and though it?s a different beast altogether fishing the Red River than the Delta, it would not be a surprise to see him successful at Shreveport. But perhaps VanDam says it best: in a blog for, he writes, "I?ve finished in the top five of every Classic since 2004 - except for one - on this same Red River in 2009. You have no idea how badly I want to make amends." A pumped up VanDam out seeking revenge? Anglers and fish beware!

Speaking of Skeet Reese...

bassmaster classic
Skeet Reese holds tight to his 2009 Bassmaster Classic trophy.
BASS Communications

Skeet Reese, a fan favorite and winner of the 2009 Bassmaster Classic, had an off year in 2011, failing to qualify for this year?s championship. While KVD is technically the one defending his title, Reese won?t have that chance to defend his Red River crown. Though Reese won?t be there, the runner-up of the 2009 Classic will be. In a way, Mike Iaconelli's the "defending champion"  and so an obvious favorite alongside VanDam to win it all this year. And winning is something?s Ike?s used to - after all, he did win the Classic back in 2003, at the Louisiana Delta, no less.

Welcome Back After 10 Years

bassmaster classic
Jamie Horton and Chris Price better be prepared for crowds like this as they make their first trip to the Classic in 10 years.

Jamie Horton and Chris Price, good to see you guys again! Neither of these anglers have fished in this championship since 2002 - a 10 year gap that probably feels like a lifetime for these competitors. The gap is not a record, as Danny Correia and David Gregg both had to wait 16 years between appearances at one point. Horton and Price both qualified for the Classic through the B.A.S.S. Federation Nation, the same route they took to fish in the 2002 Classic.

Home Field Disadvantage?

bassmaster classic
Greg Hackney is the only Louisiana native at this year's Classic.

No angler has ever fished a Bassmaster Classic in their home state more than three times...until now. Greg Hackney from Gonzalez, La. hopes that his fourth try in his home state of Louisiana will be the one that sees him hold up that $500,000 check. In previous years, he?s never finished higher than his 20th place in Shreveport in 2009. Were Hackney able to pull out the victory, he'd only be the second to win in his home state: Alabama native Boyd Duckett is the only one to do it, back in 2007 in Lay Lake.

Brotherly Love

bassmaster classic
Bobby Lane at the 2011 Bassmaster Classic.

The Lane brothers - Bobby and Chris - are back in the Classic together for the first time since 2008. They?re the third brother duo to compete against each other, but the very first to do it more than once. Bobby hasn?t missed a beat over the last few years, making them every year since 2008. Though Bobby has had a better time of making Classics in recent years, Chris can take comfort knowing that he's already qualified for 2013 after winning a Bassmaster Southern Open event in January. Can he carry that momentum forward?

Former Champions

bassmaster classic
2008 champion Alton Jones hopes he can hoist the trophy again this year.
BASS Communications

This year's field is one of the most experienced ever to fish the Classic. Among the competitors are six former champions who would love to taste victory again: Denny Brauer (1998), Davy Hite (1999), Michael Iaconelli (2003), Alton Jones (2008), Takahiro Omori (2004) and of course, Kevin VanDam (2001, 2005, 2010, 2011).

Always A Bridesmaid, Never A Bride

bassmaster classic
Aaron Martens (right) can only look on as he finishes second to a jubilant Kevin VanDam at the 2011 Bassmaster Classic.
B.A.S.S./Jason Cohn

Every sport has that competitor that accomplishes everything you can as an individual, has received every award under the sun, except for the ultimate prize of winning a championship. Athletes like Charles Barkley and Patrick Ewing in the NBA, or Dan Marino in the NFL, or for the longest time golf pro Phil Mickelson, who for years held the title as ?best golfer to never win a major? before he finally won at Augusta. In the world of fishing, Aaron Martens is among some of the best anglers to never win a Classic. He has four second-place finishes (including last year), and three other top 10 finishes. He placed ninth in the 2009 Classic, indicating he?s capable of making some noise once again this year. Can this be the year he wins and shakes off that unfortunate nickname ?Deuce??

Palaniuk's Red River Roots

bassmaster classic
Brandon Palaniuk finished 4th in his first ever Classic in 2011.
B.A.S.S./Seigo Saito

24-year-old Brandon Palaniuk is the youngest competitor at this year's Classic, and already he has quite the history with not only the Bassmaster Classic, but Red River as well. Firstly, Palaniuk just barely made the 2012 Classic, earning the very last spot for qualifiers from the Elite Series in terms of angler of the year points, doing so as a rookie pro. Though this is his first Classic as a professional, he actually made the championship in 2011 as an amateur (where he amazingly finished 4th place), becoming just the 11th angler to make the tournament at both levels. How'd he qualify for the Classic as an amateur? By winning the 2010 B.A.S.S. Federation Nation Championship at, you guessed it, the Red River. It would be quite the story if Palaniuk managed to win bass fishing's biggest tournament at the same site that launched his professional career less than two years ago.

For All The Weekend Anglers Out There

bassmaster classic
Allan Glasgow is all smiles after winning the Bassmaster Weekend Series National Championship.

The Bassmaster Classic field is filled with names of popular and successful anglers like Denny Brauer, KVD, Alton Jones, Iaconelli, and many more. These guys have made it their number one priority in life to fish big-time tournaments, and to do it well. But what about the rest of us, who can?t fish all the time and only have the resources to fish tournaments on weekends where available? If that sounds familiar to you, then pencil in Allan Glasgow as your representative for weekend anglers everywhere. Glasgow achieved what we all dream of, an Ordinary Joe who gets to fish the Classic. The Ashville, Alabama native won the ABA Toyota Tundra Bassmaster Weekend Series National Championship last year to receive the once-in-a-lifetime shot at bass fishing?s greatest prize.

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