- Ken Duke
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Forty years of Bassmaster Classics give us a pretty good perspective on fishing's greatest championship. And while professional bass fishing may not have the wealth of statistics of baseball, football or basketball, the Classic is one tournament that's received plenty of attention.
Here are some things about Day 1 that you probably didn't know.
The biggest bag ever weighed in on the first day of the Classic weighed 29-6 and came to the scales on Day 1 of the 2006 championship on Florida's Kissimmee Chain of Lakes. Luke Clausen used that giant limit to claim the lead and never looked back, going wire-to-wire for the win.
The biggest lead after Day 1 in Classic history belonged to Bo Dowden after the first round of the 1976 Classic on Lake Guntersville in Alabama. Dowden led his nearest challenger by 8 pounds, 6 ounces, but couldn't hold on. The next day, Rick Clunn brought more than 33 pounds to the scales (10-fish limit) to claim the lead and later win his first Classic.
Surprisingly, the second biggest lead after Day 1 (7-10 by Ricky Green in 1972) also failed to hold up. Don Butler passed Green on Day 2 and never looked back.
The biggest bass ever weighed in on the first day of a Classic was also the biggest in Classic history. It came on the same day as Clausen's big catch Day 1 of the 2006 Classic and was taken by Preston Clark. His 11-10 behemoth is unlikely to get any serious challengers on the Louisiana Delta, but with the full moon and rising temperatures, anything could happen.
In the three previous Delta Classics (1999, 2001 and 2003), the heaviest first round catch belonged to Jack Wade, who took the early lead in the 1999 Classic. He brought 16-13 to the scales that day.
The biggest catch in Delta Classic history came two days later when Brent Chapman had a limit of five bass that weighed 19-15. Many expect at least one or two 20-pound catches this weekend.
The biggest bass ever weighed in at a Louisiana Delta Classic weighed 6-2 and was caught by Mark Menendez on the first day of the 2003 Classic, which he led.
Conditions are certainly ripe for that mark to be eclipsed.
Forty years of Bassmaster Classics give us a pretty good perspective on fishing's greatest championship.