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  • Dean Coleman of Humble, TX writes:

    So sorry to read of the passing of Mr. Martens. Condolences sent to Aaron and his family. God bless you all.

  • Harold Sharp of Hixson, TN writes:

    Great crowds braved the cold and the anglers did their best, but the Classic should not be conducted in this kind of weather.

  • Jim Finley of Coconut Creek, Florida writes:

    RE: 2015 Classic First off, congratulations to Casey Ashley for a well-deserved win.

    My issue is with B.A.S.S. The last guy to weigh in, who was Takahiro Omori, gets totally overshadowed by the winner's celebration and never gets a chance to thank any sponsors, family or talk about the type of week he had. Maybe they should consider bringing the last guy up, do a little commentary and then weigh his fish – at least this way he gets an opportunity to at least thank those who support him. This would go along way with many sponsors. Also, if he does have a big bag, it would make it more exciting.

  • Dotsy Norton of Inman, SC writes:

    RE: 2015 Classic – This was so intense right up to the end ... gllad to see homeboy win! Great fishing, Casey Ashley! All the guys were awesome out there in those cold temperatures.

  • Andy Williamson of Lake Andes, SD writes:

    I am wondering what kind of a "B.A.S.S." tournament Mr. Sharp is referring to that Johnny Grice won in the 1970s. It certainly was not a Bassmaster Invitational. I remember reading something about it. Perhaps it was put on by a different bass tournament organization.

  • Ed Walker of Pinson, AL writes:

    Anybody notice Mike Iaconelli take off on day 3 of Classic without having his life jacket buckled up? The cameraman caught it live on the Bassmaster webcast. I guess the pros are human, too.

  • Rico Riles of Lafayette LA writes:

    I love the fact that B.A.S.S. leads off the tournament year and Elites Series with a February Classic. It's part of the sport – dealing with the elements. It could just as easily have been a warming trend and record catches. I think the best of the best will still catch them and make for a great Classic.

  • Kenny Hemmen of St Louis, MO writes:

    RE: Delayed Classic start – Safety is always job one. However, it is winter, what do you expect? Put down some salt or other surface treatment and move on. Lots of safety issues everywhere. We need Big Brother to tell us what is safe to protect us because we are not smart enough to be safe on our own. Please fish or go home.

  • Mike Webb of Orange, TX writes:

    Future February Classics should be held in the South or schedule them for early fall.

  • Lance Stanford of Tickfaw, LA writes:

    I'm glad safety is still a priority, but I think the Classic needs to move back until later in year so we don't have these issues.

  • Jason Abram of Johnson City, TN writes:

    RE: Classic preview – In my opinion Ott is the man to beat! My darkhorse pick is David Walker. Both are from east Tennessee and know these kinds of conditions.

  • Jason Houchins of Clarksville, VA writes:

    I don't understand the outcry about it being a cold Classic. It's going to very interesting and it's exactly what tournaments are all about.I would much rather see perfect conditions, but it's unrealistic and changes are a part of the game. Go Brandon Gray!

  • Harold Sharp of Hixson, TN writes:

    This could be the coldest and lowest-catch Classic in history. A frigid blast is moving across Kentucky, Tennessee and Georgia and then to South Carolina. The low in Chattanooga Monday is 22 degrees, followed by 17 on Tuesday, 5 on Wednesday and 8 on Thursday. Then it'll be 25 on Friday, 35 on Saturday and 32 on Sunday.

    In the mid-1970s a B.A.S.S. tournament was held on West Point Lake in Alabama in the winter. It was down in the teens and the boats froze in the slips at the marina and had to be chopped free. Over 100 anglers and only one bass was weighed in. Johnnie Grice of Texas won the event with that bass, the others drew numbers from a hat to see where they placed and what check they got.

    Look for a very cold Classic this week.

  • Cliff Bates of Rogersville, AL writes:

    I would like to ask the question, why is it that so many of these pros who do not like the little guys are, year in and year out, still allowed to go down in the ranks and cherry-pick the BFLs and smaller team-trail tournaments? Talk about discouraging the entry-level guys! We have been showing up for years only to see Casey Martin, Alex Davis, Charley Hartley, etc., pot-shottting little tournaments and winning good sums of money, then bragging about how fun it is to fish with the good ol' boys and get gas money for their next event. Makes it hard to swallow when you know they're pros on the water 5 to 6 days a week while you're at work. How are we supposed to (as entry-level working men) keep enthused about donating to them?

    BassFan says: The only way to eliminate such a practice is for the tournament organizations to disallow the participation of professionals. It's simply not fair to ask a pro angler to pass on a money-making opportunity for altruistic reasons – remember, unlike many other sports, they're not guaranteed a salary, and they have bills to pay just like most weekend competitors do. Many club-level anglers enjoy the occasional chance to compete against pros, and in fishing (unlike golf or a lot of other sports), the amateur stands at least a small chance of beating them once in awhile.

  • Mark Aaron of Gastonia, NC writes:

    Well, the "Ice Bowl" takes place this weekend at Lake Hartwell. Personally, I've never been a fan of the February Classics and if they think it was cold at Grand Lake in 2013 ... hang on! Highs in the upper 30s to low 40s should make for a fun time for all (sarcastic). Not to mention lows in the teens.

    Please B.A.S.S., can we not have the Classic at the end of the regular season instead of being subject to Mother Nature's unpredictability in February? Yeah, I'd fish for $500k if it was held in Siberia, but this is asking a little much. You're handicapping everyone involved (competitors, media, and spectators) in weather this cold.

    By the end of next week, I'm saying some harsh words will be said about the same by several.

  • Jeff Shay of Fort Myers, FL writes:

    RE: New Tennessee record – Wow! Hopefully he was using Mustad hooks and was registered for the Hook a Million promotion!

  • Martin D. Lamb of Albia, IA writes:

    Really hard to fathom the comment concerning FLW as being "minor league," especially when the first six of the Top 10 in the World Rankings are (or were) FLW anglers. Perhaps a little research and less "opinion."

  • John Gaulke of Ithaca, NY writes:

    RE: Balog on James River Classics – I'll take a stab at the other two components that Joe Balog has noticed in champions. When I watch Tom Brady, Tiger Woods (in his prime) and Kevin VanDam, to name three, I notice two other traits. Joe mentioned a deep kind of confidence. I agree.

    I also see a lot of objectivity without any self-degradation. If Tom Brady has a bad game or Tiger has a bad round, they are able to distance themselves from it. They objectively see what they did wrong and what transpired without getting outwardly emotional. They take themselves out of the equation and are like their own manager or critic. They know what they need to do and go back to work in order to improve on it. And obviously these guys study hard.

    What separates a Brady from a Peyton Manning – both greats, but Tom seems to have an intangible (and I have no horse in the battle, as I'm a Bills fan, sadly) is that Tom stays more cool and collected under pressure. Same with Tiger. They rarely, if ever lose their composure. A guy like Ike loses it from time to time. He's undoubtedly great, but there's distance between him and KVD and that's what I see.

  • George Foster of Pineville, LA writes:

    RE: FLW trio on Classic – Does not matter what they say about the Classic. If they did not fish the minor leagues they could qualify for the Classic through the long-seasoned Elites. FLW just fishes a handful of events and only Christie would probably have the points to make it.

    BassFan says: Uh, not likely. Exhibits A through K – 2015 Classic qualifiers Jacob Powroznik, Keith Combs, Justin Lucas, Randall Tharp, Matt Herren, Chad Morgenthaler, David Walker, Brett Hite, Andy Montgomery, Clifford Pirch and Ott DeFoe, all of whom transferred to the Elites since 2011. The record shows that the top FLW competitors have had little difficulty transitioning to the Elite Series.

  • Johnny McLean of Little Rock, AR writes:

    RE: Balog on James River Classics – Good article, Joe. I agree the '89 and '90 Classics were two of the best ever.

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