Howell wins his first Bassmaster Classic
BIRMINGHAM, Ala. — Randy Howell of Springville, Ala., didn’t need to travel far to win his first Bassmaster Classic, held Feb. 21-23, 2014, on Lake Guntersville in northeast Alabama.
Howell finished with a three-day total of 67 pounds, 8 ounces. He jumped 10 places on the final day, the biggest comeback in Classic history. Howell held 12th place on Day 1 with a five-bass daily limit weighing 20 pounds, 3 ounces. On Day 2, he caught 18 pounds, 3 ounces to move up to 11th with a total of 38 pounds, 6 ounces. On the final day, he caught 29 pounds, 2 ounces, including a 7-pound, 3-ounce kicker.
“It was the best day I’ve ever had in 21 years of professional bass fishing, a day of a lifetime,” Howell exclaimed upon winning the championship. “I caught my first one on my second or third cast. I caught one almost every cast or two and had a limit in the first 10 or 15 minutes.”
Howell threw a prototype Livingston Lures medium-diving crankbait in crawfish colors. He threw it against rocky riprap near a bridge on Spring Creek. He also used a Rapala DT6 in crawfish colors and a Yamamoto bladed jig. He culled at least eight 4- and 5-pounders on the final day.
Howell, who lives within easy driving distance of both the Lake Guntersville venue and Birmingham weigh station, became only the second pro to win a Classic in his home state. For the victory, he took home $300,000.
Paul Mueller of Naugatuck, Conn., finished second with 66 pounds, 8 ounces. Second day leader, Edwin Evers of Talala, Okla., finished third with 65 pounds, 11 ounces. Ott DeFoe of Knoxville, Tenn., took fourth with 63 pounds, 6 ounces, with an 8-pound, 4-ounce kicker. Early leader Randall Tharp of Port St. Joe, Fla., finished fifth with 62 pounds, 12 ounces. Fred Roumbanis of Bixby, Okla., brought in the tournament lunker, a 9-pound, 3-ounce largemouth he caught on the first day.
ABA Angler Adam Wagner of Cookeville, Tenn., placed 10th with a respectable 15-fish three-day limit weighing 59 pounds, 3 ounces.