This year, I felt very good about the Classic. Before I got down there, I was asked a thousand times about it. My answer was yes. I felt like I would be in the right areas and have the right baits. I was and I did. It was just not my Classic to win.
The good thing about the Classic is that I caught almost every fish on my Missile Baits. The first day I caught a bunch of fish on a ¼ ounce swim jig with a Twin Turbo on the back. I caught about 25 keepers but no big ones. The second day was a change up with the Missile Craw with a 3/16 ounce sinker in front. That bait caught about 15 keepers. Again, no big ones came in the boat. I did gain a ton of confidence in my baits.
This Classic was about Chris Lane. The event began with Chris being boat number 9 and I was 10. We talked a lot because we always parked next to each other and we are friends. We were both excited and were torn on where to even start the event. The funny thing about that is we both decided to start in the same small backwater pond.
That backwater is less than a foot deep for about 60 to 100 yards to get into. It is very tough to get into. My plan was to run on plane in there. Chris was in front of me and stopped right at the mouth. I had to do a circle and set down behind him. He looked at the chute and asked if we could get in. I said, “GO!” We both plowed our way into that pond. Later he told me that he would not have gone in there if I were not behind him.
Once in there, we went our separate ways and both went to catching fish. We both ended up fishing the same area so close that we literally fished side by side. It worked for us and we enjoyed it. Chris called me 2 days after the tournament and thanked me for my message I left him to congratulate him and to say that he would never forget fishing in that pond so close. We both agreed it was fun and that we both would not forget it.
Yes, this Classic was for Chris. He made a tough decision to bail on that pond for another area. It ended up being a great idea and worked for him. He made a gamble to win the tournament and he sure enough did it.
The sport’s largest tournament has a new Champion. I don’t know that I have ever been so happy for a winner since Ike won. I know I have not. Not to take anything away from any recent Classic winners but for Chris this just changed his life. He is true to who he is. He and his wife, Holly, have 4 kids. They are good parents and do what they can for them. Chris does things the right way. He caught his winning fish on the baits he said he did. I saw them inches away.
When I saw Chris had won, I has truly excited for him. When I got home and saw the pictures of him winning, Bobby jumping and hugging him, and then his family with him in the victory lap, it hit me. I got emotional. He is a great guy. He is a great dad. Now he is able to keep doing that and everyone will know what I know about him.
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