Live from Bassmaster Classic 2019
An entire field of competitors could match up to the home river advantage of Ott Defoe at the 2019 Bassmaster Classic in Knoxville, Tennessee.
The Knoxville-native outlasted a last-day effort from Jacob Wheeler to hoist the Bassmaster Classic trophy in front of his home crowd at Thompson-Bolling Arena at the University of Tennessee after finishing with a three-day total of 49-3, well ahead of Wheeler's overall total of 45-5.
After a late surge on the final day, Jesse Wiggins finished 3rd with a 43-14 overall. Michael Iaconelli (42-9) and Mark Daniels Jr. (41-12) rounded out the Top 5.
If you missed any of the action this week, read below for all our live blog here at power-pole.com where we gave you an inside look at this year's Classic. Also, check out Power-Pole on Facebook and Instagram for more coverage and use the hashtag #PolesDownTrophiesUp to tell us your favorite moments or to share your photos from the event.
The 25 anglers who made the final cut will be taking off from the Volunteer Landing Marina at 7:40 a.m. Final weigh-ins begin at the Thompson-Bolling Arena at 4:30 p.m., with gates opening at 3:00 for B.A.S.S. members and 3:15 for the general public.
Which Power-Pole angler will you be rooting for today? Let us know on social media using the hashtag #PolesDownTrophiesUp
9:13 a.m. -- For a second straight day, Michael Iaconelli has started the morning on fire. It's been less than two hours since fishing started for the final day and Iaconelli has already put his five-fish limit in the livewell.
According to BassTrakk, Ike has an unofficial 13-0 pounds in the bag already, meaning that he will be able to spend the remainder of the day going after the scalebreakers to cull out some of his smaller ones in the well and pad his lead.
10:28 a.m. -- We have a dark horse candidate emerging from the field. Jesse Wiggins has shot to the top of the daily leaderboard with 15 pounds of fish in the live well, giving him a one ounce advantage over Iaconneli. This competition is far from over with Iaconneli, Mark Daniels Jr and Jacob Wheeler all within one pound of the top spot.
Don't forget to check out our latest Instagram stories directly from the water as we trail the anglers who are making moves.
12:07 a.m. -- The Outdoors Expo at the Knoxville Convention Center is still going strong. Don't forget to check out the Power-Pole booth on the main floor of the exhibit hall for special event pricing on official Power-Pole merchandise and accesories. While you are there you can meet Power-Pole's biggest fan, Kate Siddall, better known on Instagram as "Power-Pole Kate."
Kate, who works for a certified warranty center in White Bluff, Tennessee, has been a fan ever since she got to tour the facilities back in Tampa.
"Everything about Power-Pole from the customer service, to the products, to the people who work there, I just loved everything about it," she said. "It started as a quirky thing and now I'm just Power-Pole Kate."
Her devotion to Power-Pole products has led to a social media following of her own. She's even had a few rockstar moments during the Classic.
"I've had several people come up to me and say 'Hey, I follow you on Instagram' and then want a picture with me," she said. "This whole experience has been great to just hang out and be a part of it."
The Expo will continue until 4 p.m. today.
1:17 p.m. -- First-time Classic competitor Derek Hudnall was a little disappointed to not be fishing on Sunday, but he wouldn't trade his experience this week for anything. The Elite Series rookie finished in 33rd place after weighing in a two-day total of 17-5.
"I can guarantee nobody is going to work harder to get back here next year," he said.
Power-Pole followed along all week with the Louisiana native to get a first-hand perspective of what it's like to be a first-time competitor at the Classic so be sure to check back later in the week for the premiere episode of Power-Pole's new online feature, "Down Time."
1:32 p.m. -- Heading into the final hours of fishing along the Tennessee River and it looks as though this year's classic may come down to the wire with seven anglers already in double-digits for the day. Brandon Lester is the latest angler to shoot up the leaderboard thanks to a hot streak in the second half of the day. The Tennessee native has moved all the way up to seventh place -- well within striking distance of the top spot -- with over 16 pounds in the bag so far on Sunday.
2:40 p.m. -- We are just an hour away from the first wave of angler check-ins at the Thompson-Bolling Arena on the University of Tennessee campus. Space is going to get tight so make sure to get there early to get a good seat for what promises to be a climactic finish to a great week of fishing. Doors open at 3 p.m. for B.A.S.S. Nation members and the general public at 3:15.
Good luck to all of our Power-Pole sponsored competitors! Remember, when the anchors go down, the trophies go up!
Another solid day of fishing by Jacob Wheeler and Mark Daniels Jr. left them one-two in the standings after the second day of fishing on the Tennessee River. Wheeler's 17-11 gave him a two-day total of 32-6. Daniels, who also tied for the biggest bass of the day with a 6-3, finsihed right behind Wheeler with a total of 17-6 on Saturday and an overall weight of 31-14.
Michael Iaconelli had a bounce back performance on elimination day, putting 19-7 pounds of fish on the scales at Thompson-Bolling Arena, to crack the Top 5 heading into the final day of Classic competition.
Almost as notable as who made the cut of 25 is the names that will be spending Sunday on dry land. Two-time defending champion Jordan Lee finished with 5-4 to give him a two-day total of 13-10 and a 42nd place finish. Power-Pole pro Chris Lane also missed the cut at No. 30 but brother Bobby will move on to the final day after putting up 23-9 pounds over two days.
7:05 a.m. -- Welcome back to Day 2 of fishing action from Knoxville. Anglers will be taking off from the Volunteer Landing Marina at 7:40 a.m. Weigh-ins for the elimination day begin at the Thompson-Bolling Arena at 4:30 p.m., with gates opening at 3:00 for B.A.S.S. members and 3:15 for the general public.
Power-Pole will again have some surprise guests, including some of the biggest names in the fishing industry, signing autographs in the exhibit booth so check back to regularly to find out more.
10:37 a.m. -- Mike Iaconelli jumped out to an early lead on Saturday after putting five fish — totaling 17 pounds— in the livewell in less than two hours of casting. He found his early success working the grass line of Turkey Creek with chatterbaits.
“It looks like I’m fishing rip-rap but there is a fine line of grass that I’ve been following,” he said.
Ike is also the early leader for biggest bass of the day with a 4-7 fish in the early going.
11:05 a.m. -- Fishing television icon and three-time B.A.S.S Angler of the Year Bill Dance will be in the Power-Pole exhibit (Booth 3125) to meet and greet fans from 12 to 12:45. The first 100 kids age 14 or under can get one of Dance’s signature “T” hats signed by the legend himself.
12:20 p.m. -- While Iaconelli has top weight for the day, Jacob Wheeler just pulled into the overall spot thanks to a five-pound smallmouth. Wheeler currently sits at 15-8 for the day.
1:15 p.m. -- The Johnston brothers, Cory and Chris, will be back in the Power-Booth booth for a meet-and-greet with fans from 2 p.m. until 3 p.m.
2:15 p.m. -- National Fresh Water Fishing Hall of Famer and Bassmaster legend Jimmy Houston will bring his lifetime of bass fishing knowledge and infectious laugh to the Power-Pole booth to sign autographs and talk with fans from 3:00-3:45.
2:35 p.m. -- Be sure to get to the weigh-in at the Thompson-Bolling Arena when the doors open at 3:15 so you can score a space up close to the stage. Following the official weigh-in for the high school bracket, Power-Pole will have a special presentation and a chance to hoist your own trophy and possibly win up to $500 in gift certificates or the grand prize of an 8-foot Power-Pole Pro 2 Shallow Water Anchor.
Power-Pole-sponsored competitors had a strong showing on the first day of fishing, capturing two of the top three spots on the leaderboard on Day 1 of the Classic. Unfortunately, it wasn’t enough to overcome the home field advantage of Knoxville-native Ott Defoe, who finished the day with a total of 17-pounds, 10-ounces, Defoe also had the biggest fish of the day with a six-pounder.
Roy Hawk (17-11) and Cliff Pirch (16-11) rounded out the the top three, respectively. Hawk also had the second biggest bass of the day at 5-pounds, 7-ounces.
In the Lane’s sibling rivalry, Bobby (13-4) finished the day in a tie for ninth place, 14 spots ahead of brother, Chris (9-9), who ended the day in 23rd.
Jordan Lee, who is looking to become the first angler in Bassmaster history to win three consecutive Classics, finished in 32nd on the day with 8-pounds, 6-ounces. Other notable anglers from the first day of action include: Brandon Lester (22nd place, 9-11), Casey Ashley (21, 10-1) and Kevin VanDam (20, 10-2).
Fishing will resume at 7:40 a.m. The top 25 after Saturday’s weigh-in will move on to the final day of fishing on Sunday.
7:05 a.m. -- Lots going on in Downtown Knoxville as the Classic goes full throttle. The fishing begins with the entire field of 52 anglers taking off from the Volunteer Landing Marina at 7:40 a.m. Weigh-ins begin at the Thompson-Bolling Arena at 4:30 p.m., with gates opening at 3:00 for B.A.S.S. members.
Today is also the start of the 2019 Bassmaster Classic Outdoors Expo with over 220,000 square feet of space spread across two venues, the Knoxville Convention Center and the World’s Fair Exhibition Hall. Over 180 vendors will be on hand to show off the latest fishing gear and outdoor accessories. Don’t forget to check out the Power-Pole exhibit in booth 3125 on the main floor of the convention center. Doors open at 11 a.m. for B.A.S.S. members and at noon to the general public and will remain open until 8 p.m.
Power-Pole will have professional anglers stopping by the exhibit to talk with fans, give expert advice and sign autographs throughout the day. Daily appearances will be made Friday through Sunday by BASS Elite Tour Pros Rick Morris (12-12:45), Bernie Schultz (2:30-3:30) and John Crews (2:30-3:30), and FLW Pro anglers Carrell Davis (noon-1) and Tim Fredericks (TBA). Power-Pole will also have additional surprise guests, including some of the biggest names in the fishing industry, making appearances in the booth so check back regularly to find out the latest schedule.
8:05 a.m. -- The Volunteer Landing Marina was packed as Bassmaster fans cheered their favorite anglers off the starting line. We are officially underway in Knoxville!
8:42 a.m. -- During Media Day on Thursday, most of the anglers agreed that because of the flooded conditions and the sudden drop in temperatures, this year's Classic would come down to how well the anglers are able to fish the shallows.
Lucky for them Power-Pole Shallow Water Anchors are the essential tool for those fishing conditions. Check out how this year's anglers plan on utilizing their Power-Poles to give them an advantage in this year's tournament.
9:15 a.m. -- Bassmaster Elite Series anglers Cory and Chris Johnston will be in the Power-Pole exhibit (Booth 3125) from 11 a.m. to noon to talk with fans and sign autographs.
10:35 a.m. -- The ribbon cutting ceremony for the grand opening of the Outdoors Expo will take place at the main gate of the Knoxville Convention Center at 11:15. B.A.S.S. members will then have a chance for early admittance to the exhibits before doors open to the public at noon.
12:45 p.m. -- FLW Tour member Buddy Gross will be available in the Power-Pole exhibit from 1:30 - 2:30.
1:04 p.m. -- Power-Pole pros Chris and Bobby Lane are tied in 20th place at the midway point of the day. Despite fishing different spots on the river with different tactics, the brothers have both landed four fish with a total weight of 7-8.
The weather took a turn for the worse as a cold front pushed its way through in the late afternoon. The weather held off long enough for all of the anglers to take part in the Bassmaster Media Day presented by Power-Pole. Keep reading for highlights, as well as the big announcement from JL Marine vice president Robert Shamblin, who unveiled Power-Pole’s next innovation in Total Boat Control.
11:56 a.m. -- The Bassmaster Classic got its first look at the new C-Monster GATEWAY after Shamblin unveiled the latest innovation during the Media Day kickoff at the Jacob Hall at the University of Tennessee. The GATEWAY, when paired with devices such as the Lowrance MFD, takes the concept of "Total Boat Control" to a whole new level, allowing third-party devices to utilize the power of the C-Monster 2.0 network.
“To show how much we believe in the new GATEWAY, we picked the Bassmaster Classic, the biggest fishing event of the year, to release it,” Shamblin said.“We want to show how this technology performs under the most demanding conditions and the advantage it brings to the competition.”
1:08 p.m. -- Brandon Lester may not have the truest sense of a 'hometown advantage" when it comes to fishing this particular stretch of the Tennessee River, but he does have a lifetime of fishing knowledge of the general vicinity.
"I do have a lot of history here on other Tennessee River lakes," the Fayetville, NC native said. "I feel like this time of year, especially in March, that I have an understanding of what the fish are doing. Or at least, I hope I do."
Lester, who is making his fourth appearance at the Classic, admitted that the recent weather conditions which caused flooding in many parts of the river might take away some that "homecourt advantage."
"It definitely throws a wrench in things for sure," he said. "We've had tons of rain across the southeast but especially in Tennessee... It just adds another variable. We try to control what you can and worry about the rest when you get on the water."
1:47 p.m. -- Competing in his first-ever Bassmaster Classic has been quite the experience for Michigan native Garrett Paquette, especially when it comes to the amount of attention he has been getting leading into the event.
"The hype is real," he said. "I can't even imagine the feeling tomorrow pulling into the arena. Everything is amplified. This is the biggest show in the world of fishing for a reason."
The 24-year-old is treating this tournament as a major learning experience as he progresses on his path of being a professional angler for a long time to come.
"Everyone wants to win, obviously, because only the winner is ever remembered in this tournament," he said. "But you can't force that. You can only control your effort. If I go out there and work my hardest and make what I feel like are the right decisions, I can live with however it turns out."
2:06 p.m. -- The professional anglers tend to stand out among the crowd thanks to their distinctive attire. With brightly colored jerseys adorned with sponsors, they are hard to miss. Matthew Robertson, a self-described "Kentucky Boy" took it one step further for media day. The Kuttawa, KY-native with the instantly affable personality showed up in a full-length fur coat.
"When you tell me to dress up, you're going to get the full effect," he said of the fancy attire that he borrowed from his wife's closet. "I'm rocking it this week."
Robertson was the last angler to qualify for the field of 52 after winning a team event on Harris Chain of Lakes in central Florida. He hasn't let his longshot status diminish his confidence.
"I think having confidence in yourself is everything," he said. "There's a lot of great fisherman here but they don't phase me none. I know what I'm capable of and we're going to bring it this week, baby."
2:22 p.m. -- Speaking of learning experiences, Nick Ratliff plans to take some of the lessons he has learned from the marketing aspect of being part of a pro angler team back to his final semester at Campbellsville University where he is pursuing his business administration degree.
Ratliff is this year's College Series Bracket entry into this year's Classic. At 21-years-old, Ratliff is the youngest competitor in this year's field.
"It's been awesome," he said. "It's been everything I'd though it would be. I've made lots of friends here and they are all willing to give advice."
The mentorship by some of the more experienced anglers has reminded Ratliff to enjoy the moment.
"They all tell me to take it all in," the Kentucky native with a love for basketball said. 'They know how tough it is to make it through the college circuit. They've worked hard for it too and know how tough it is to get here."
6:00 p.m. -- Power-Pole will be giving away a Pro 2 Shallow Water Anchor. Just catch a Power-Pole in action at the Classic and use hashtag #PowerPoleSpotted for a chance to win.
Greetings from Knoxville, Tennesee for the 2019 Bassmaster Classic which will take place on the Tennessee River, including Fort Loudon and Tellico Lakes, Friday through Sunday.
The Power-Pole media team will be live from Downtown Knoxville throughout the tournament with the latest updates, photos and videos from the event, both on and off the water. Follow along on Facebook and Instagram and use the hashtag #PolesDownTrophiesUp to join in the conversation or to share your photos from the event. Make sure to check back regularly on our live blog here at power-pole.com where we will be giving you an inside look at all the action with updates on how our Power-Pole Pros are doing in the tournament, and what’s new at this year’s Outdoors Expo. Plus, we will be revealing special guests, events and giveaways.
Don’t forget, when the anchors go down, the trophies go up.
Reporter: J. Scott Butherus. Photographer: William Bean