Grand Classic Primer


When events are only three years apart, it can be easy to compare them. Many are doing that with the 2016 Bassmaster Classic, which is back at Grand Lake after being there in 2013.

Of course, plenty has changed since 2013. Heck, that year’s winner, Cliff Pace, won’t even be fishing the Classic this year. Mother Nature has also been far more cooperative this go round – a cold-rain-and-snow mix during practice muddied the water and made the water colder in 2013. It’s been mainly warmth and sunshine for this year’s competitors, causing many to toss around the term “slugfest.”

So, with the previous champion out and the conditions far different than in 2013, who are the favorites? Let’s look at the data.

In looking at all anglers who have fished at least three Major or Minor events on Grand in the last decade, one name clearly stands out: Jason Christie. The local is the odds-on favorite to win, and he boasts a 954.736 average to back that up.

Another local, Edwin Evers has an impressive 830.119 average, but that’s nothing compared to Michael Iaconnelli (898.398) and Kevin VanDam (886.501), who both made the top 10 three years ago.

Of course, all of those names are ones you probably already pegged for your fantasy team, along with Aaron Martens and his 757.166 average. But how about Greg Hackney? Once known as a shallow, heavy-cover specialist, Hackney’s quietly well-rounded game has been strong on Grand with a 780.051 average. He even finished 13th back in 2013.

Here’s another you might have overlooked: Bill Lowen. A stick with a jerkbait, Lowen has a 739.263 average, finished 18th in 2013 AND finished 13TH there in 2007.

OK, now for two big names you may want to keep off your fantasy roster: Skeet Reese (338.133) and Russ Lane (386.415). Obviously, both are proven winners, with Reese having won the Classic before. Yet, Grand seems to have their numbers. Reese has never beaten more than 38 percent of the field at Grand, and while Lane has finished middle of the pack twice, he also finished last at the Classic in 2013.


About Author

Sean cut his teeth in the journalist world as an award-winning sports reporter, editor and freelancer for various Chicagoland newspapers, including the Chicago Tribune, Chicago Sun Times and Daily Herald, eventually crossing over into editing and freelance writing in the Outdoor industry. In addition to his position as Editor for, he is also a freelance outdoor writer and lure designer. He resides in the Chicago suburb of Lockport. An avid Bass and Muskie fisherman, his fishing influence began on ponds and lakes in northeast Illinois and has since expanded to a multitude of species across North and Central America. His passion for the sport is rivaled only by his love for building fishing lures, with a number of his designs being used by top professional anglers and produced by various lure companies today. Google+

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