Outdoor Life is heading down to The Big Easy for full coverage of the Bassmasters Classic this weekend. Join us from the first nibble to final weigh-in to see who is the best bass fisherman of all. Matt Herren, Alabama This cagey veteran is easily comfortable punching matted vegetation with a jig or plastic and slinging a spinnerbait. He might take a gamble but believes the risk is worth the reward.
Kevin Wirth, Kentucky
The Bluegrass veteran can adjust on the fly and doesn’t get rattled. Patience may be his key if the bite is stronger in the afternoon as water temperatures warm up.
Cliff Pace, Mississippi
The Mississippi River Delta marshes have been his playground for years and Pace may know them as well as anyone. He’s focused, determined and has Classic experience to bank on.
Todd Faircloth, Texas
Honed his skills amid the tough east Texas circuits and years on the Bassmaster Elite Series. Narrowly missed winning the B.A.S.S. Angler of the Year title three years ago, and has been fishing strongly and consistently throughout his career.
Greg Hackney, Louisiana
Greg grew up in Arkansas but has deep knowledge of shallow backwater vegetation and the Delta’s fickle nature. Has been one of the most consistent pros since breaking in full-time seven years ago. Won’t be intimidated by the Delta’s vast expanse of water, either.
Clark Reehm, Texas
Originally from Arkansas, Reehm has been riding a wave of confidence in the last 18 months after settling into the Elite Series grind. Has learned to take what comes, be more patient and shrug off hiccups during tournament days.
Dean Rojas, Texas
If water temperatures start warming up, Rojas could be a definite contender with his topwater frog. He has enough Classic experience to ignore all the outside distractions and will be quite comfortable tossing “Kermit” around shallow vegetation this week.
Scott Rook, Arkansas
Was the runner-up by a pound on the Delta in 2001 and is a threat anytime with shallow water or pre-spawn patterns. Spinnerbaits and jigs are two of his strong points and they’ll factor heavily this week.
Kevin VanDam, Michigan
The 3-time Classic champion, and defending champ, won his first title here in 2001 (over Scott Rook). VanDam doesn’t need money or accolades. His driving force is winning every time he enters a tournament and he’ll be comfortable this week throwing lipless and shallow-running crankbaits.
Tommy Biffle, Oklahoma
Biffle has been runner-up twice (1990, ’94) and has two other Top 10 Classic finishes. He could be another truly dangerous contender this week, as his flippin’ and pitchin’ skills will be put to the test. Swimming his Gene Larew “Biffle Bug” creature bait could be the ticket for the pre-spawn females.
John Crews, Virginia
Driven, consistent and unflappable, Crews is no stranger to tidal waters or working around vegetation. Won his first Elite Series title in 2010 on the California Delta with shallow punching tactics and is still on that wave of confidence.
Skeet Reese, California
Along with VanDam, Reese is arguably the hottest pro in the field in the last five years with Classic (2009) and Angler of the Year (2008) titles. Finished atop the points standings after the regular season in 2009 and 2010. Won twice and had five Top 5 finishes in eight events last season. Will be looking to add to his legacy this week and very well could do it.
Gerald Swindle, Alabama
One of only a few pros to have competed in all three Delta Classics, Swindle finished tied for fifth in 2001. He’s versatile, isn’t afraid to shift gears on gut instinct and has the experience to be among the leaders this week. Winning the Classic would be icing on the cake to a solid career.
Randall Tharp, Alabama
If there’s a quiet man flying under the radar this week, it’s Tharp. Just four years into a full-time career as a pro angler, he’s competed successfully on the FLW Tour but qualified for the Classic through the Bassmaster Southern Open series. Shallow tactics are his forte, by far, and the Delta plays right into his hands.
Gary Klein, Texas
With 29 Classic appearances – more than anyone in the field – and a runner-up finish in 2003 on the Delta, this veteran knows what it takes to win. With nerves of steel and a calm but determined demeanor, Klein easily could be “the” one to watch for this week.

This is it–The Super Bowl of bass fishing kicks off on Friday in New Orleans. Who will win the Bassmasters Classic? We handicap the field.