DRAGONFLY - RAYMARINE

A CLASSIC TIE

Posted by Z3 MEDIA STAFF on 02/22/2013

Story by Matt Pangrac - Photos by Dave Rush

Tulsa, OK – The coldest day in Bassmaster Classic history turned into a dead heat by the conclusion of Friday’s weigh-in at the first day of the 2013 Bassmaster Classic on Oklahoma’s Grand Lake.  

Mississippi’s Cliff Pace and New Jersey’s Mike Iaconelli each toted limits to the Classic scales weighing 21-8 to share the lead heading into the second day of competition. 

North Carolina’s Hank Cherry, who qualified for the Classic with a Bassmaster Southern Open victory on Smith Lake last October, was the only other competitor to break the 20-pound mark.  With a limit of Grand Lake largemouth weighing 20-15, he ended the day in 3rd place. 

Kevin VanDam put himself in the mix for an unprecedented fifth Classic title by finishing the day in 4th place with a limit weighing 19-12, and Tracy Adams rounded out the top five with 19-10. 

Oklahoma’s Jason Christie also rose to the occasion on Thursday, electrifying the hometown crowd with a limit weighing 18-12 to remain firmly in contention in 6th place.  

1st Place (Tie) - Cliff Pace (21-8)
What were your expectations heading into the day?
“I saw the potential for what I had today during practice.  A lot of what I fished today, I didn’t even fish in practice because it just looked and felt right.  I had enough bites in practice to feel like whether I had caught one there in practice or not, I was going to fish it in the tournament.”

How would you summarize your day as a whole? 
“It’s not like I have a magic spot where I can catch a 5-pounder on every cast.  I had to go out there and fish for them just like everyone else.  I’m not getting a ton of bites, but the potential is there to catch a big one.  After today, I know that the guy who wins this deal is the guy who commits to fishing for the right bites and gets them three days in a row.  It’s not going to be a derby of numbers.  Most of my big bites today were loners.” 

Was there a key moment for you during the day?
“The key moment for me was first thing this morning.  I went to my first area and caught a 5-pounder and a 3-pounder.  That immediately told me that I didn’t need to freak out because the water temperature had dropped five degrees.  The fish hadn’t moved and they were still there.  I knew that all I had to do was catch them.  It’s hard to commit to doing something when you don’t get a bite.  Getting those two bites made my whole day.  Had those fish not bit, it definitely wouldn’t have been over 21pounds.” 

What was the most challenging/surprising aspect of your day?
“It’s a timing thing, and everything has to go right.  I fished one place today four times and the fifth time that I fished it, I caught a 5-pounder.” 

How would you assess your decision making and execution on the water?
“I’m happy with the decisions that I made, but I did lose another big one.  It wasn’t anything that I did wrong. The fish was just barely hooked and I babied it for as long as I could before it came off.  If I had caught that one, it would have helped me another two or three pounds.  As far as my decision making, you can never be upset when you come in with 21 pounds.”

1st Place (Tie) – Mike Iaconelli (21-8)
What were your expectations heading into the day?
“I think that the potential is there to have a 20- or 21-pound average.  I still think that it’s going to be a hair lower.  If you can average in that 18 ½- to 19 ½-pound range, that’s what’s going to win.”  

How would you summarize your day as a whole? 
“A lot of times during the winter, the fish are on the outside breaks in deeper water.  They’re there, but they’re not feeding.  My timing was awesome in the morning.  I pulled up on the right stretch at the right time and the bigger ones were feeding.”

Was there a key moment for you during the day?
“I know that a lot of these guys are probably power fishing, and I’m doing that as well.  The only other thing that I’m doing is that I’m mixing in a spinning rod and a finesse technique to maximize some of the places that I’m fishing.” 

What was the most challenging/surprising aspect of your day?
“Timing means a lot, especially when the fish are in this winter, pre-spawn pattern.”

How would you assess your decision making and execution on the water?
“I caught them early, but during the middle part of the day my choices weren’t right and my timing wasn’t on.  I caught a nice little window at the end where I got on another stretch where my timing was right and I caught them again.”

3rd Place – Hank Cherry (20-15)
What were your expectations heading into the day?
“Grand fishes a lot like my home lake, Lake Norman.  Even though this is my first time here, I feel like I can just run around and pick places where they’re going to be.  I think that I’m fishing a lot shallower and a lot faster than a lot of other guys.” 

How would you summarize your day as a whole? 
“The day started off pretty slow.  I caught my first keeper at about 9:30, and then I caught nine other keepers that were small.  I went back through a place where I had just fished about 45 minutes earlier and caught one that was about 6-pounds.”

Was there a key moment for you during the day?
“I hit a couple other places and then ran to a point where I had caught a non-keeper in practice.  In about six casts I culled the other four that I had.” 

What was the most challenging/surprising aspect of your day?
“When I caught my last fish, I went in about 30 minutes early because I was hurting.  I fell flat on my back getting off of the shuttle last night and hurt my neck and my wrist.  For some reason, my hand started cramping up really bad by around 1:00.  I almost had to pry my fingers off my rod.  I caught one fish where I had to grab the fish, put it on the floor, and then use my other hand to pry my hand off of my rod.”

How would you assess your decision making and execution on the water?
“When I practiced, I only practiced in one section of the lake.  I picked the area that looked the best.  There’s so much chunk and bluff rock that the key is finding out what (type) of rock the fish want to be on.”

4th Place – Kevin VanDam (19-12)
What were your expectations heading into the day?
“On this lake, you just have to get the right bites because there are plenty of good fish out there.  I caught them every day during practice, so I’m hoping that I’ll be able to catch them every day of the tournament as well.”

Was there a key moment for you during the day?
“The first bite was key because I was wondering how things had changed and what might be different based on the weather.”

What was the most challenging/surprising aspect of your day?
“The weather was a little concerning.  I was pretty excited when I got my first bite because I knew that if I could get one to bite, I could get another one.  It took a little while to get my first one. “

How would you assess your decision making and execution on the water?
“It was pretty good.  It’s important to see a lot of your areas, but it’s hard to do that when it’s cold and you have to fish slow.  I did cover a lot of water today and I feel good about what I saw.”

5th Place: Tracy Adams (19-10)
What were your expectations heading into the day?
"I had caught a couple of fish around the area I fished today in practice, so I was pretty confident I could catch a few fish and get off to a decent start."
 
How would you summarize your day as a whole?
"I ran one pattern until about 11 o'clock and then was able to switch up and catch a few big ones this afternoon.  Hopefully one of the two patterns I was fishing today will end up working out tomorrow."

Was there a key moment for you during the day?
"The move I made later in the day was a big key for me.  I was able to cull a couple of times after deciding to switch areas and that was a big key for me."
  
What was the most challenging/surprising aspect of your day?
"I had no idea that I could catch a limit off of one spot.  I really thought I would have to move around a lot more before I got my limit."
 
How would you assess your decision making and execution on the water?
"I maybe should have decided to move a little earlier and not wait out my initial area, but other than that I am happy with my decision making."

6th Place: Jason Christie (18-12)
What were your expectations heading into the day?
"I really didn't expect what I had in the livewell to weigh as much as it did.  I figured I had around 16 or 17 but these Grand Lake fish are so healthy they end up weighing more than you think."
 
How would you summarize your day as a whole?
"I was really fortunate today to catch what I caught.  It was really a grind today out there. I don't know if I was lucky to catch what I caught today or not.  Tomorrow will be the day that I find out if I am on the right rotation or not."

Was there a key moment for you during the day?
"Catching my biggest one on my third cast was key.  That got me fired up and I caught another one about three and another two pounder, so that was nice to get off to a quick start."

What was the most challenging/surprising aspect of your day?
" I lost one about four and a half pounds that I actually had in my hands and then I didn't get a bite for about three hours, so that was kind of a challenge.  Running down the lake and stopping where I have history was very challenging to me.  I just can't bypass those places, and hopefully I will pull up on one and it will pay off."

How would you assess your decision making and execution on the water?
"I made one wrong decision today after I caught what I had instead of going down to where I planned on fishing I decided to stay in my general area and hit places I know trying to catch a big one.  I didn't see many boats today so I figured they were down where I had planned on fishing, so I decided to stay up and it didn't work out."

DAY ONE STANDINGS

PlacePro Angler 
FishWT
    1 Michael Iaconelli 5 21- 8
    1        Cliff Pace 5 21- 8
    3        Hank Cherry 5 20-15
    4        Kevin VanDam 5 19-12
    5        Tracy Adams 5 19-10
    6        Jason Christie 5 18-12
    7        Jonathan Carter 5 18-11
    8        Marty Robinson 5 18- 8
    9        Mike McClelland 5 17-15
    10        Edwin Evers 5 16-13
    11        Brandon Palaniuk 5 16-10
    12        Ott DeFoe 5 16- 2
    13        Jonathon VanDam 5 16- 1
    14        Shaw E Grigsby 5 15-15
    15        Mark Davis 5 15-11
    16        Bobby Lane 5 15- 7
    17        Randy Howell 5 14-15
    18        Greg Hackney 5 14-14
    19        Joshua Wagy 5 14- 6
    20        John Crews 5 13-10
    21        Mark Dove 5 13- 8
    22        Dean Rojas 5 13- 0
    23        Boyd Duckett 5 12-11
    24        Todd Faircloth 5 12- 5
    24        Bill Lowen 5 12- 5
    26        Alton Jones 5 12- 1
    27        Tommy Biffle 5 12- 0
    27        Ishama Monroe 5 12- 0
    29        Gerald Swindle 5 11-12
    30        Gerry Jooste 4 11- 4
    31        Matthew Herren 5 11- 0
    32        Jeremy Starks 5 10-14
    33        Jared Lintner 5 10-13
    34        Brent Chapman 5 10- 1
    35        Nate Wellman 5 9-13
    36        Takahiro Omori 5 9- 8
    37        Casey Scanlon 5 9- 2
    38        Pete Gluszek 5 8-12
    39        Jason Quinn 4 8- 5
    40        Cliff Prince 3 7- 8
    41        Yusuke Miyazaki 4 7- 7
    42        Mark Pierce      1 7- 4
    43        Aaron Martens 3 6-12
    44        Skeet Reese 2 6- 9
    45        Brandon Card 2 6- 6
    46        Terry Scroggins 4 6- 5
    47        David Walker 3 5-14
    48        Albert Collins 2 4-15
    48        Matt Lee      2 4-15
    50        Russell Lane 1 2- 7
    51        Andy Bravence      1 1- 8
    52        Jared Knuth      1 1- 4
    53        Chris Lane