2013 Classic | Classic Revisited

Thoughts on the new champion Cliff Pace and his moment in the spotlight.

Thoughts on the new champion

We had a great time covering the 2013 Bassmaster Classic in Tulsa, Okla., this week. It was very cool to see a good guy and hard-working angler like Cliff Pace win his first Classic in a methodical, grinding fashion. Having the patience to only fish for 4-6 bites a day takes a toll on you mentally, but it can often be the way to win tough bass fishing tournaments as Pace showed this week. Folks have felt the need to bash him for not showing more emotion on stage. Cliff is a very cerebral guy. He had the single most difficult day in his fishing career. And he wasn't let off the hook until the last second in front of a million people.

I for one don't like to show emotion in public. If I feel myself getting overly emotional I do everything to hold it back. I don't claim to know the emotions that were flowing through Cliff Pace in that moment. My guess is from knowing Pace and working with him, he was holding back just losing it and keeping his composure in an overwhelming amount of stress. That can often come out as being emotionless. I for one don't like to see "manufactured emotion."

I think Pace will be an amazing Champion for BASS and for bass fishing. He's a very thought provoking guy. He works very hard at the game. He thinks fishing all the time. He's a younger version of Gary Klein in many ways in that they both study and get very intricate in the details around fishing.

Gut punch for Cherry

Man. What a shot in the gut that was. Showing that clip of him losing a huge bass that likely would have won the Bassmaster Classic for him to relive was a gut punch. To pros. To media guys back stage. To fans. But mostly to Hank Cherry. He couldn't even make it through the whole clip. It was like he literally got punched in the gut and knocked him back in a chair. His eyes welled up and he talked about those moments. It was hard to see his pain. It was hard to think about a guy who's going to lie in bed and think "what if" all night. That's the craziness of professional fishing. It's there and gone with the flick of a fin.

Cherry has proven he can win on different levels in bass fishing. He was around the winning fish and going with his gut gave him a chance to win it all. That's always been the appeal of fishing to me. Having a nose for finding, fooling and landing bigger bass than others. But more than that, knowing when to stay and when to go. Here's hoping Cherry puts this one behind him because he can fish.

Palaniuk's fire hour

Walker got to spend the morning shooting photos with Brandon Palaniuk in a unique setting. He fished a main lake flat where his family and friends had drove to and parked along side to watch him fish. Cool enough in itself. But then Palaniuk went on a 60-minute assault on the bass on the final morning of the Classic and for a while was leading on the final day. Bass after bass bit his crankbait and he fought them, belly grabbed them and threw his fist into the air under the applause of floating and land-locked fans alike.

"He make's decisions already that guys don't make until they are 30 or 35," said his friend and travelling partner Ish Monroe. "He's going to win a lot. He works hard at it, but he makes better decisions."

It's impressive to watch him fish and how he handles himself publicly with fans, the media, his fellow competitors and more importantly with the bass.

For any of you that missed the Classic, here is a recap of our coverage:

2013 Classic Final Day Recap

2013 Classic Day 1 Recap

2013 Classic Day 2 Recap


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