Dream a Little Dream:
The Bassmaster Classic
by Bruce Callis Jr

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Dreams, the dreams of a teenage boy or girl, never really die. We may get older, but that dream stays fresh with us. I remember as a kid, I was starting to learn to fish for bass using artificial lures. I wasn’t great at it, but I never stopped trying to learn more. Then back in the early 70s, around 1973, I was a Boy Scout and someone knew that a bunch of us were into fishing. They invited 2 members of B.A.S.S. to come talk with us about fishing. I remember it well as they talked about the baits and techniques. I remember them teaching us how to properly rig a worm and work it. From that meeting I was truly hooked for life. I remember we became a member of the Bassmaster Youth group. I remember we had a couple of fishing events, no big tournament, but we all went to the same lake to fish. And I remember hearing about the men who fished Bassmaster and the Bassmaster Classic.
I remember dreaming of winning the Classic, but as hard as I tried, it was something that I never got to do. But that kid still lives in me. I still dream of lifting that trophy high. But I don’t believe it will ever happen, unless. That dream still lives in me. That same dream the top anglers still dream.

B.A.S.S. founder Ray Scott and Bassmaster Magazine editor Bob Cobb came up with the idea and put it all together. And in 1971, they loaded the top anglers on a plane and took off. Not one of them knew where they were headed to until they were airborne. Ray Scott got up and told them that they were headed to Lake Mead in Nevada. There was a lot of hooping and hollering from the anglers. I can’t imagine what was truly going on inside their minds, but they were truly excited. The largest and most prestigious fishing tournament was born. And when the dust settled, Bobby Murray was crowned the first Classic winner.

Over the years it has gone through a lot of fine tuning, but one thing has never changed, it has been the ultimate test of the best anglers. It is the biggest championship in professional bass fishing. From it’s beginning in 1971, the trophy, the prize money and the name has changed through the years. It was originally called Bass Masters Classic, then BASS Masters Classic, and since 2002, it has been called the Bassmaster Classic. From Lake Mead in Nevada to Lake Hartwell in South Carolina for 2022, the best are still seeking to join the ranks of the winners.

While just being able to be one of the anglers to qualify to fish the Classic is truly a great accomplishment, winning it once is a major accomplishment. Winning it twice is a dream and winning it back to back, very difficult. Rick Clunn was the first to do just that in 1976 and 1977. Kevin VanDam did it in 2010 and 2011, followed by Jordan Lee in 2018 and 2019 and finally Hank Cherry did it in 2020 and 2021. But history has never see a three-peat winner. Will 2022 be the year it happens or will someone who has never won it win this year. Only time will tell if someone from Virginia will join Woo Daves as a Classic Champion.

That dream that so many kids still dream about, that thing that drives so many men and women to learn all they can learn and to drive across the country to qualify for that chance, is still just as strong. Who is that kid that is getting into fishing tomorrow that will be a future champion? Do we have a future champion living with us? Are they the kid we help at a Free Kids Fishing event? Only time will tell.

Fantasy Fishing gives us the opportunity to research and pick who we believe will be the best. We pick with stats, we pick with gut instincts, and sometimes we pick with our heart. My heart says to pick the Virginians, John Crews and Jacob Powroznik. You really can’t go wrong either thinking that both of them could do it this year. Or do you go with Hank and a 3-peat? Or one of the young guns? I can only imagine how it feels to see your name on that short list and know that someone besides yourself thinks you could be the winner.

Who will win it? I will be there to find out and report about it. I will get to talk to and ask questions of the anglers before the event starts. I will be in the arena once again to watch the daily weigh-ins and especially the final weigh-in. I will get to see the reaction and that smile, and the tears. Can’t be there yourself, make sure to tune in live. And come back here to read even more each and every day.