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Grand Perspectives And Classic Strategies

Stage set for 2024 Bassmaster Classic, this week on Oklahoma’s Grand Lake O’ the Cherokees

Tulsa, OK – Bass fishing’s grandest event – The Bassmaster Classic Presented by Jockey Outdoors – is headed to the aptly named Grand Lake O’ the Cherokees outside of Tulsa, Oklahoma this week for an epic showdown between 56 of the best bass anglers in the world.

Classic competition days will be March 22-24, with daily takeoffs from Wolf Creek Park and Boating Facility at 7:15 am CT. Daily weigh-ins will take place at the BOK Center in downtown Tulsa at approximately 3:30 pm.

The Venue

Situated in the foothills of the Ozark Mountains in Northeast Oklahoma, Grand Lake O’ the Cherokees is an 80-year-old, 46,500-acre impoundment of the Grand (lower Neosho) River. A diverse lake with abundant brush piles, rocks, stumps, and residential docks, Grand features an abundant forage base comprised of threadfin shad, crayfish, and other species fueling the growth of resident bass.

The lake has a consistently high catch rate for bass, with a healthy population of 3-to-5-pound largemouths, plus spotted bass that are known to reach over 3 pounds. Larger largemouth bass also exist in Grand Lake, which provides regular catches of lunkers between 6 and 8 pounds.

Grand Lake’s surface water temperatures are presently climbing into the mid-50-degree range, setting up a strong pre-spawn pattern that will see Classic competitors fishing a wide range of areas and presentations. Uncharacteristically clear water – if it lasts – also means the lake will fish larger during the Classic, with anglers able to spread out and potentially find more productive areas with concentrations of bass and less fishing pressure.

Perspectives & Strategies – Q&A with Classic Anglers

Nearly ten percent of the 2024 Bassmaster Classic field is comprised of St. Croix Rod and/or SEVIIN Reels pro staffers. The St. Croix/SEVIIN Communications Team asked Justin Barnes (AL), Bob Downey (MN), Joey Nania (AL), Pat Schlapper (WI), and Josh Wiesner (WI) five intriguing questions, and their answers shed light on their perspectives and strategies going into the most prestigious bass tournament in the world.

Justin Barnes (AL)

Justin Barnes is a Bassmaster Opens EQ angler. The St. Croix Rod and SEVIIN Reels pro-staffer qualified for the 2024 Bassmaster Classic by winning the 2023 Bassmaster Open on Lake Eufaula, Alabama.

Tournaments fished at Grand Lake:  Zero
Description of Grand Lake in three words or less:  Shallow Brush Piles
Predicted 3-day  winning weight:  58 Pounds
Offshore, rocks, wood, or docks:  Offshore
Key rod and lure combo:  St. Croix Legend Tournament Bass LBTC73MHF casting rod and a 6th Sense crankbait

Bob Downey (MN)

2024 is Downey’s 5th season in Bassmaster Elites. He is a three-time Classic qualifier, placing 17th in 2023 and 27th in 2020. The St. Croix Rod pro-staffer qualified for the 2024 Bassmaster Classic by  virtue of his 29th-place finish in the 2023 Bassmaster Elite Angler of the Year points race. He won a Bassmaster Open on Grand Lake in 2019.

Tournaments fished at Grand Lake:  One
Description of Grand Lake in three words or less:  Warm Fuzzy Feelings
Predicted 3-day  winning weight:  55 Pounds
Offshore, rocks, wood, or docks:  Wood
Key rod and lure combo:  St. Croix Legend Tournament Bass LBTC68MXF casting rod and a Rapala Mavrik jerkbait

Joey Nania (AL)

Joey Nania is a Bassmaster Opens EQ angler and a two-time Classic qualifier. He finished 13th in 2022. The SEVIIN Reels pro-staffer qualified for the 2024 Bassmaster Classic by winning the 2023 Bassmaster Open on Lake Eufaula, Oklahoma.

Tournaments fished at Grand Lake:  Two
Description of Grand Lake in three words or less:  Three Lakes in One
Predicted 3-day  winning weight:  58 Pounds
Offshore, rocks, wood, or docks:  Rocks
Key rod and lure combo:  74MH casting rod and a chatterbait

Pat Schlapper (WI)

2024 is Schlapper’s 4th season in Bassmaster Elites. He is a three-time Classic qualifier, placing 45th in 2021 and 53rd in 2023. The St. Croix Rod pro-staffer qualified for the 2024 Bassmaster Classic by  virtue of his 19th-place finish in the 2023 Bassmaster Elite Angler of the Year points race. Schlapper had a huge bag and a 3rd-place finish at the Bassmaster Elite at Toledo Bend last month.

Tournaments fished at Grand Lake:  Does driving around there last fall count?
Description of Grand Lake in three words or less:  Diverse
Predicted 3-day  winning weight:  64 Pounds
Offshore, rocks, wood, or docks: Offshore
Key rod and lure combo:  St. Croix Legend Tournament Bass LBTC68MXF casting rod and a jerkbait, also a PHYSYX PHXC70MHMF casting rod and a chatterbait.
Wait, that’s two rods, Pat: Sorry. I sometimes struggle with instructions.

Josh Weisner (WI)

Josh Wiesner is a Bassmaster Opens EQ angler and a first-time Classic qualifier. The St. Croix Rod and SEVIIN Reels pro-staffer qualified for the 2024 Bassmaster Classic through B.A.S.S. Nation by virtue of his 3rd-place finish in the 2023 TNT Fireworks B.A.S.S. Nation Championship on Lake Hartwell.

Tournaments fished at Grand Lake:  Zero
Description of Grand Lake in three words or less:  Huge, Stumpy, & Diverse
Predicted 3-day  winning weight:  64 Pounds
Offshore, rocks, wood, or docks: Rocks
Key rod and lure combo:  I prefer throwing light baits on a spinning rod in the wind, so a St. Croix Legend Tournament Bass LBTS610MLXF spinning rod with a 3000-size SEVIIN GX spinning reel and a jerkbait.

Bassmaster Classic Outdoors Expo

The fan-favorite Bassmaster Classic Outdoors Expo will be held in conjunction with the Bassmaster Classic at Tulsa’s Cox Business Center, where exhibitors will be on-site showing and selling a variety of fishing, hunting, camping, and other outdoor gear. Expo hours are noon to 7:00 pm on Friday, 10:00 am to 6:00 pm on Saturday, and 10:00 am to 4:00 pm on Sunday.
 
The St. Croix Rods and SEVIIN Reels Teams will be meeting with anglers and fans in booth #274.

bassmaster classic

“Friday, March 22 is the first day of sale for our all-new PHYSYX Series,” says St. Croix Brand Manager, Ryan Teach. “These new SCIV+ carbon fiber rods with molded carbon fiber TRIGON handles and the new carbon fiber DYNAMIX reel seats have been over two years in development, and the Classic is the perfect place for their debut. We’re incredibly excited to start showing them and getting them into anglers’ hands. Anyone stopping by the booth will also have a chance to win a pair of PHYSYX rods and SEVIIN reels worth well over $1,000.”

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St. Croix pro and current Bassmaster Elite Angler of the Year and Rookie of the year points co-leader, Trey McKinney, will also be in the St. Croix booth, meeting with anglers from 4:00 to 6:00 pm on Friday and 1:00 to 3:00 pm on Saturday.

bassmaster classic

Bassmaster Elite angler and St. Croix/SEVIIN pro, Derek Hudnall will also be making regular appearances in booth #274. “Our new GS and GX Series spinning reels have only been out for a little over a month, but Derek has been fishing them for a while now,” says SEVIIN Product Manager, Robert Woods. “He and the rest of our Team are excited to show Classic Expo attendees why these new reels – along with our GF Series casting reels – are becoming so popular with anglers.”

Follow the Action

Not attending the Classic? Follow all of the action on BassTrakk and Bass Live at bassmaster.com. Fans can also watch the 2024 Bassmaster Classic Presented by Jockey Outdoors on FS1, FS2, and FOX.

About St. Croix Rod

Headquartered in Park Falls, Wisconsin, St. Croix has been proudly producing the “Best Rods on Earth” for over 75 years. Combining state-of-the-art manufacturing processes with skilled craftsmanship, St. Croix is the only major producer to still build rods entirely from design through manufacturing. The company remains family-owned and operates duplicate manufacturing facilities in Park Falls and Fresnillo, Mexico. With popular trademarked series such as Legend®, Legend Xtreme®, Avid®, Premier®, Imperial®, Triumph®, Mojo, and BASSX, St. Croix is revered by all types of anglers from around the world.

About SEVIIN Reels

Wherever and however you fish, the reel in your hand should help create better experiences. Born from St. Croix’s seven decades of design and manufacturing expertise, industry-leading customer service, and unbroken private ownership by the Schluter family dating back to 1977, SEVIIN reels are meticulously engineered and purpose-built to help anglers conquer every species on every piece of water on the planet. SEVIIN focuses on reels and reels only, designing and crafting products that improve the angling experience, regardless of the rods anglers choose. Seven seas, seven continents, seven days a week, SEVIIN reels are fueled by a collective love of fishing surpassed only by a passion to deliver the most reliable reels on the water.

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