Making the Final Cut:
The Dream Continues
by Bruce Callis
It’s official, day 2 of the 2022 Bassmaster Classic started off with high hopes. The 55 anglers all dreamed of making the cut and fishing on Championship Sunday, but for 30 anglers, the dream ended too soon. For 25, the Top 25, the dream still lives another day. But in the end, there can only be one winner.
Brandon Cobb came in with a 17 pound 6 ounce bag anchored by the big fish for the day of 6 pounds 12 ounces, slipping to finish in 34th place. But Jason Christie brought in 19 pounds 6 ounces to take the lead with 36 pounds 7 ounces. Hank Cherry, the winner of the last 2 Classics, brought in 19 pounds 9 ounces to help him sit in 11th place. Kyle Welcher, the next to last angler to weigh-in. Brought in a sweet bag of 18 pounds 13 ounces to move up into a tie at the top of the leader board with Jason. Bryan New, the day one leader with 20 pounds, brought in 13 pounds 7 ounces and currently sits 3rd place.
For some, their first Classic ended too soon, but for a few, tomorrow holds great hope. Scott Martin in his first Classic sits in 15th place, a little over 5 pounds off the lead. Joey Nania sits in 12th place, just shy of 5 pounds out of the lead. But for Daisuke Aoki, Tyler Rivet, Tristan McCormick, Josh Stracner, Jared Miller, KJ Queen, Shane Powell, Matty Wong, and Keith Tuma, the day was bitter sweet as their first Classic ended far sooner than they had hoped.
But what was it like to fish the Classic for the first time. Scott Martin has attended numerous Classics over his life, but all sitting there rooting for his dad to bring the victory home. This time he gets to feel the true effect of it, from the competitors, and everything that they go through. Scott said, “It is unreal, there is nothing like it.” He is attempting to do the one thing is father never accomplished in his long career.
For Matty Wong of Honolulu, Hawaii, it is the “excitement of living the dream,” the dream he first started to take seriously at the age of 14, and started to hone through practice, practice, and more practice. He electrified the crowd at the weigh-in both days of the Classic and there is a true desire to make it back in 2023.
Keith Tuma of Brainerd, Minnesota is another angler who was “living the dream” as he fished the Classic. You could see and feel his excitement as he talked following his final day of fishing. He also is ready to do what it takes to make it back to the big stage.
The Classic is the land of dreams. From seasoned veterans on the Elite Tour, to the weekend warrior who qualified through the Alabama Bass Trail, it is the one tournament where you get to say, you are the greatest and that title will live on forever. To have your name in the record books beside the greats who have won it is unreal. Every angler dreams of it, from the song played as you enter the arena, of lifting those giant bass on stage, and finally getting to lift that mighty trophy over our head.
As day 3 dawns, and the competition begins, who will be the one to do just that? A 3 peat for Hank Cherry? A victory by a veteran? Or a first time Classic angler? Stay tuned, any of these could happen this year!