GREENVILLE, S.C. (Feb. 17) — For Cabela’s/GEICO For Your Boat angler David Walker, winning the GEICO Bassmaster Classic can make a professional angler’s career.
“Tournaments come and go, but Classics are ones where if you can put together three good days, you can make a career out of it,” Walker said. “A Classic trophy carries clout that no other event that we have does.
“But winning the GEICO Bassmaster Classic, if you look down the list of names who have won it, it’s all names that you’re familiar with and it’s because they won it.”
This weekend’s Classic, held on Lake Hartwell, is also different from other tournaments because it’s all about winning.
“This is the event you spend all year sweating over a lost fish there, points here, what place I’m in there,” Walker said. “It’s all about getting to this one tournament. And once you finally get here, all you’ve got to do is win it, so you fish it differently.
“Finishing ninth in the Classic might be all right but it’s kind of meaningless. There’s first and then there’s everybody else.”
That Ricky Bobby-like attitude usually creates a competitive atmosphere, but this year’s Classic brings additional pressure in the form of cool weather. When the three-day tournament starts Friday, temperatures are forecast to be below freezing. Saturday and Sunday will be warmer, but rain and snow are forecast Saturday with rain Sunday.
“The biggest thing is you’ve got to dress for it,” Walker said. “This is another example of having equipment that helps you do what it is you do. You’ve got to be able to be dressed warmly and still be able to fish.”
No one will have an advantage in such cold weather, he said.
“When it’s this cold, what’s kind of unique is you don’t have a lot of experience in this type of cold,” Walker said. “You really don’t have a lot to fall back on. It does really level the playing field.”
Even anglers from colder northern states who are used to lower temperatures don’t fish in this type of weather.
“If they do, they’re drilling a hole,” Walker said.