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ESPN2: Top-10 Classic blunders

7/24/2005

• Editor's note: Tune in this Saturday, July 23, at 7 and 11 a.m. on ESPN2 to see the "BassCenter" top-10 countdown. And vote for your favorite in the poll at the bottom of the ESPNOutdoors.com homepage. This episode of "BassCenter" re-airs on ESPN2 at 5:30 a.m. ET on July 25 and 26.

Number 10: New Orleans, 2003. Mark Menendez hauled in almost 17 pounds to take the lead on Day 1 … And that was when the fat lady sang. The next day he only caught 4 pounds and on Day 3, his only fish didn't even break the 1-pound mark. He ended up in 23rd place.

Number 9: Two things you need to know about Zell Rowland: At age 13, he became the youngest angler ever to fish a BASS event; and at age 34, he became only the fourth angler to lead Days 1 and 2 at the Classic … and LOSE. In '91, Zell choked at the finish line, losing a slew of keepers in the final round. He finished fourth.

Number 8: Hey, brother, do you have the time? Aaron Martens. Lake Michigan. 2000. The future BASS Angler of the Year was in second place after Day 1. On Day 2, he broke his watch and ended up checking in 3 minutes late. It cost him a pound per minute. He finished in 8th.

Number 7: There are worse spots to get hooked … but no worse time. Bud Pruitt shakes off a bass at the 2002 Classic on Lay Lake, and catches a crankbait in the chest. Add insult to injury: The video makes "SportsCenter" and Bud has to listen to Stuart Scott make fun of him. Booyah.

Number 6: 2004. Mike Iaconelli, the defending Classic champ, has a huge first round and looks like he could repeat. On Day 2, Ike catches one baby bass — and a big DQ from the tournament director for fishing in an off-limits area. Mike Tyson ain't got nothin' on Ike, baby.

Number 5: Gerald Swindle got stuck on a rock pile in the '98 Classic and had to strip to his skivvies to push his boat free.

Number 4: Gary Klein has the worst opening day EVER in the Classic. He goes up the Ohio River in the 1987 Classic. On his way back, he's too late to get through the lock and misses check-in. He's penalized his whole day's catch, but still manages to finish 19th.

Number 3: 1973. Clarks Hill Reservoir. Foreshadowing his career as a TV host, Bill Dance is playing a huge bass, when the cameraman asks him to let it jump one more time. Bill does, the fish jumps off, and Dance loses the Classic by a little over 3 pounds. That's showbiz.

Number 2: In 1997, Dalton Bobo looked like he was going to be just the second Federation angler in history to win the Classic. On Day 2, he does everything but give mouth-to-mouth to a dying fish. Unfortunately for Bobo the fish didn't make it, he gets slapped with a dead fish penalty and the next day he falls 1 ounce short of the Classic title.

Number 1: 1989. Jim Bitter led Days 1 and 2 on Virginia's James River. On Day 3, he stops to pose for a picture, when the fish slips from his hands. It leaves him with just 6 pounds, 7 ounces on the final day — not enough to overcome Hank Parker's 14½-pound heroics. Bitter becomes the second angler to lead Days 1 and 2 of the Classic and fade at the finish line.

This episode of "BassCenter" re-airs on ESPN2 at 5:30 a.m. ET on July 25 and 26.