Three Oklahoma anglers will be fishing in the Bassmaster Classic next month on Grand Lake: Edwin Evers of Talala, Tommy Biffle of Wagoner and Jason Christie of Park Hill. But contrary to popular belief, that doesn't necessarily give them a home field advantage.
Only one angler has ever won a Bassmaster Classic in his backyard. Boyd Duckett of Demopolis, Ala., won the 2007 Bassmaster Classic on Alabama's Lay Lake.
Duckett said a home-state advantage in the Bassmaster Classic can come into play, but not in the way that some people might imagine. For the most part, there is no advantage because pro anglers are better than ever at picking apart an unfamiliar fishery, he said.
Also, the Bassmaster Classic is such an important tournament that qualifiers devote weeks to practice and study.
“Classic waters have become like everyone's home lake,” Duckett said.
Duckett had an advantage in 2007 on his home lake because the weather changed during the tournament. He knew the lake well enough to know where the bass moved when the water warmed up quickly.
Such an overnight change is about the only factor that will give a local angler an advantage in the Bassmaster Classic, Duckett said.
“A home-lake angler can make good, on-the-fly decisions when conditions change rapidly,” he said.
Of the three Oklahomans who qualified for the 2013 Bassmaster Classic, Christie is the most familiar with Grand Lake. He grew up fishing Grand Lake and by his estimation has won 15 or 20 bass tournaments there over the past 15 years.