(Editor's note: This is part 2 of a 3-part story. To read part 1, click here.)

By BassFan Staff

Greg Hackney -- Gonzales, La.
> Qualified through: Elite Series points (13th)
> Fished: 10 Classics
> Best Classic finish: 5th (2008)
> Elite Series finishes at Grand: 32nd (2007), 35th (2006)
> Current world rank: 27th


> Insight: Hackney, who had a lengthy stint as the world's top-ranked angler several years back, has been one of the top competitors in the game for a decade now. However, that success hasn't extended to the Classic, where the 2009 Forrest Wood Cup champion has just two finishes better than 20th. He'll likely need to find quality fish near the banks to have a shot this time. Lots of suspended fish would be a worst-case scenario for him.
> View his BassFan Angler Profile here.

Matt Herren -- Trussville, Ala.
> Qualified through: Elite Series points (6th)
> Fished: 3 Classics
> Best Classic finish: 7th (2010)
> Elite Series finishes at Grand: N/A
> Current world rank: 30th
> Insight: Herren's Classic history is limited because he spent the first part of his career on the FLW Tour. Of the three times he's participated, he's logged one single-digit finish and missed the day-2 cut on the other two occasions. Late winter/early spring in a locale this far north wouldn't seem to be an ideal setup for him, but he is a strong pattern fisherman with the patience to let situations unfold. A bit of a darkhorse at this point.
> View his BassFan Angler Profile here.

Randy Howell -- Springville, Ala.
> Qualified through: Elite Series points (5th)
> Fished: 10 Classics
> Best Classic finish: 11th (1999)
> Elite Series finishes at Grand: 63rd (2007), 48th (2006)
> Current world rank: 20th
> Insight: An outstanding 2012 season came to a somewhat bitter end for Howell as he weighed just four fish on the final day at Oneida and watched Boyd Duckett walk away with the trophy. He's an upbeat sort, though, and that disappointment will be 6 months behind him when the Classic gets under way. He has a solid all-around game, but hasn't fared particularly well in the sport's premier event and wouldn't be considered a favorite at this point.
> View his BassFan Angler Profile here.

Mike Iaconelli -- Pittsgrove, N.J.
> Qualified through: Elite Series points (31st)
> Fished: 13 Classics
> Best Classic finish: 1st (2003)
> Elite Series finishes at Grand: 18th (2007), 10th (2006
> Current world rank: 48th
> Insight: Ike barely got into this Classic, and he could end up making a lot of people wish he hadn't qualified. He excels in cold water and at finding off-beat patterns that nobody else uncovers, and he's finished among the Top 10 in more than half of his appearances in this event. It's been quite awhile since he's won anything of significance, but if he gets onto something good at Grand, he possesses the ability to carry it through to the finish.
> View his BassFan Angler Profile here.

Alton Jones -- Waco, Texas
> Qualified through: St. Johns River Elite Series winner
> Fished: 14 Classics
> Best Classic finish: 1st (2008)
> Elite Series finishes at Grand: 19th (2007), 33rd (2006)
> Current world rank: 35th
> Insight: Jones has shown in the past that he can play any type of game that the conditions dictate and that he can adapt on the fly, and that type of versatility could go over big at Grand. Nothing in particular points to him being a favorite, but the same could've been said prior to the Classic at Hartwell 5 years ago, which he won from deep water. One to keep an eye on, for sure.
> View his BassFan Angler Profile here.

Gerry Jooste -- Harare, Zimbabwe
> Qualified through: B.A.S.S. Nation Mid-Atlantic champion
> Fished: 4 Classics
> Best Classic finish: 15th (1997)
> Elite Series finishes at Grand: N/A
> Current world rank: N/A
> Insight: Jooste is the all-time record-holder for Classic appearances by a B.A.S.S. Nation competitor, and this will be his first crack at a wintertime event (his most recent showing was in 2005, which was the last time the event was held in the summer). He led the 1997 edition at Logan Martin before bombing on day 2. One thing's for sure: The Classic hoopla won't affect him.

Jared Knuth -- Ceresco, Neb.
> Qualified through: B.A.S.S. Nation Central Champion
> Fished: 0 Classics
> Best Classic finish: N/A
> Elite Series finishes at Grand: N/A
> Current world rank: N/A
> Insight: Presently an unknown quantity from a state not renowned for producing high-level competitive anglers. Any BassFans have some insight?

Bobby Lane -- Lakeland, Fla.
> Qualified through: Elite Series points (12th)
> Fished: 5 Classics
> Best Classic finish: 4th (2008)
> Elite Series finishes at Grand: N/A
> Current world rank: 45th
> Insight: The older of the two Lane brothers has made it to day 3 in each of his Classic appearances to date. As a lifelong Floridian, flipping is definitely his forté, but he can do a lot of other things well and has no fear of high-risk, high-reward scenarios. Would love nothing more than to pull a page from the Peyton Manning/Eli Manning Super Bowl book and win the sport's biggest event the year after his brother did it.
> View his BassFan Angler Profile here.

B.A.S.S./Gary Tramontina
Photo: B.A.S.S./Gary Tramontina

Chris Lane will get a chance to join Rick Clunn and Kevin VanDam as the only back-to-back Classic winners.

Chris Lane -- Guntersville, Ala.
> Qualified through: Defending Classic champion, Toho Southern Open winner, Elite Series points (14th)
> Fished: 2 Classics
> Best Classic finish: 1st (2012)
> Elite Series finishes at Grand: 25th (2007), 46th (2006)
> Current world rank: 41st
> Insight: The lone guy in the field with the chance to join Rick Clunn and Kevin VanDam as the only competitors to win back-to-back Classics. Had a ton of momentum at this time a year ago and cooled off a bit as the weather heated up, but still had his second straight excellent campaign on the Elite Series and ended up as a triple-qualifier for this event. Chilly water isn't his specialty, but he'll no doubt defend his crown with gusto.
> View his BassFan Angler Profile here.

Russ Lane -- Prattville, Ala.
> Qualified through: Elite Series points (28th)
> Fished: 4 Classics
> Best Classic finish: 4th (2010)
> Elite Series finishes at Grand: 49th (2007), 41st (2006)
> Current world rank: 57th
> Insight: The third Lane in the field (no relation to the Florida-born brothers) has a penchant for trying a lot of different things to catch fish. That might allow him to hit on something good at Grand, or it might prevent him from focusing on the one or two things he really needs to be doing. Could be a factor if the chips fall his way.
> View his BassFan Angler Profile here.

Matt Lee -- Cullman, Ala.
> Qualified through: Bassmaster College Series
> Fished: 0 Classics
> Best Classic finish: N/A
> Elite Series finishes at Grand: N/A
> Current world rank: N/A
> Insight: The Auburn University product had to beat out his brother Jordan Lee in a 1-day fish-off to gain his berth. No one – not even Lee himself – knows how he'll react on the sport's biggest stage, but he's in for a memorable experience regardless of how he fares.

Jared Lintner -- Arroyo Grande, Calif.
> Qualified through: Elite Series points (33rd)
> Fished: 3 Classics
> Best Classic finish: 19th (2007)
> Elite Series finishes at Grand: 82nd (2007), 23rd (2006)
> Current world rank: 72nd
> Insight: Lintner slipped into this event due to double-qualifications by other anglers and will try to take advantage of his fortuitous position. He hasn't been a serious contender in any of his three previous Classics, but has made the final-day cut on two of the three occasions. Primarily a flipper, but can do a lot of things more than adequately.
> View his BassFan Angler Profile here.

Bill Lowen -- Brookville, Ind.
> Qualified through: Elite Series points (9th)
> Fished: 4 Classics
> Best Classic finish: 10th (2012)
> Elite Series finishes at Grand: 13th (2007), 36th (2006)
> Current world rank: 25th
> Insight: Lowen will likely try as hard as anyone in the field to make something happen in shallow water, and he can sometimes find that type of action when most others don't think it exists. Wouldn't be considered a favorite in a normal early-spring scenario at Grand, but can never be counted out. If he can pin down some decent fish in moving water, watch out.
> View his BassFan Angler Profile here.

Aaron Martens -- Leeds, Ala.
> Qualified through: Elite Series points (10th)
> Fished: 13 Classics
> Best Classic finish: 2nd (2002, 2004, 2005, 2011)
> Elite Series finishes at Grand: 15th (2007), 9th (2006)
> Current world rank: 18th
> Insight: Could this be the year that the four-time runner-up finally hoists the Classic trophy? The odds are pretty good that he'll at least put himself in position to make yet another strong run at the crown. He's had little difficulty figuring things out at Grand in the late spring, and fishing on the other side of the spawn won't scare him a bit. He's missed the final day of the Classic just once – all the way back in 2001 – and has posted five consecutive finishes among the Top 12. He should be a serious threat from the get-go.
> View his BassFan Angler Profile here.

Mike McClelland -- Bella Vista, Ark.
> Qualified through: Elite Series points (32nd)
> Fished: 8 Classics
> Best Classic finish: 4th (2009)
> Elite Series finishes at Grand: 11th (2007), 1st (2006)
> Current world rank: 95th
> Insight: This is a guy a lot of people will be watching. His ledger at Grand is long and sparkling (one of his three Elite Series wins came there), and he has few peers when it comes to throwing a jerkbait – which many believe will be the predominant tactic. With the exception of a couple of Top 12s, his Classic résumé is lackluster (six missed cuts in eight outings), but none of those derbies set up as well for him as this one does. It'll be a big surprise to many if he's not in final-day contention.
> View his BassFan Angler Profile here.

Yusuke Miyazaki -- Mineola, Texas
> Qualified through: Elite Series points (21st)
> Fished: 0 Classics
> Best Classic finish: N/A
> Elite Series finishes at Grand: 67th (2007), 82nd (2006)
> Current world rank: 87th
> Insight: The Japan native has competed on B.A.S.S.' top tour for well over a decade, but relatively little is known about him. He's an unassuming type by nature, he's not quite as fluent in English as some of his fellow countrymen and he'd never before had a year like the one he put together in 2012. His record would suggest he's most at home in water that's neck-deep or shallower. He hasn't had much success at Grand, but perhaps a change of season will help.
> View his BassFan Angler Profile here.

Ish Monroe -- Hughson, Calif.
> Qualified through: Lake Okeechobee Elite Series winner
> Fished: 7 Classics
> Best Classic finish: 14th (2007)
> Elite Series finishes at Grand: 22nd (2007), 78th (2006)
> Current world rank: 24th
> Insight: Monroe seems convinced that his best chance for a Classic win is to uncover a place or technique that he has all to himself, and he looks for that in practice every time. He's yet to seriously contend in this event, but that doesn't bother him as he'd be just as happy (or unhappy) finishing 42nd as 2nd. The chances of such an approach producing a Classic victory in a given year are slim, but longshots do occasionally prevail and he's determined to keep bucking the odds.
> View his BassFan Angler Profile here.

Takahiro Omori -- Emory, Texas
> Qualified through: Elite Series points (24th)
> Fished: 8 Classics
> Best Classic finish: 1st (2004)
> Elite Series finishes at Grand: 71st (2007), 80th (2006)
> Current world rank: 80th
> Insight: Omori hasn't fished a Classic in an odd-numbered year since 2007. His victory in '04 was the only time he even smelled contention over his first six appearances, but he's kept himself in the hunt the last two times out. He's very versatile and has the ability to adapt on the fly, and he could make some noise in a derby that requires multiple adjustments.
> View his BassFan Angler Profile here.