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What’s the Significance of a 2019 Bassmaster Classic Win?

Fortunes have been made, millions of bass lures, depth finders, boats, motors, trolling motors, rods, reels and various lines have been sold due to one event held each year – the Bassmaster Classic. For instance, Mossy Oak Fishing Team member Hank Parker remembers that, “When I won the Bassmaster Classic on a Hank Parker spinner bait produced by Mann’s Bait Company, Mann’s received orders for millions of those lures.” 

Mossy Oak Fishing Team
Pictured L to R, Top to Bottom: Brandon Palaniuk, Ott DeFoe, Kevin VanDam, Jordan Lee, Hank Parker, Gerald Swindle


History has the opportunity to be made at the 2019 Bassmaster Classic held March 15-17 at Knoxville, Tennessee, on Fort Loudoun and Tellico lakes on the Tennessee River. New pages may be written in the annals of bass-fishing history there. Mossy Oak Pro, 50-year-old Kevin VanDam of Kalamazoo, Michigan, will be competing for his 5th Classic win. Only one other bass angler, Rick Clunn of Ava, Missouri, has won four Classics. If VanDam wins the 2019 Classic, he’ll be the only tournament bass angler to win five Bassmaster Classics, the Super Bowl of bass fishing. 

Twenty-seven-year-old Jordan Lee of Grant, Alabama, another Mossy Oak Fishing Team Pro, jumped full-grown into professional bass fishing on the Bassmaster circuit when he won his first Classic and $300,000 in 2017. Few people gave this young upstart a chance at all of winning the following year in 2018 to repeat as a Classic winner. But repeat he did, and today Jordan Lee is in a very small fraternity, including Kevin VanDam and Rick Clunn who have ever won back-to-back Classics. If Lee can win the 2019 Bassmaster Classic, he’ll be the only angler to ever win three consecutive Classics and will write his own page in the history of tournament bass fishing.  

However, VanDam (10-1 odds) and Lee (10-1 odds) aren’t the only two members of the Mossy Oak Fishing Team who have the opportunity to reach stardom in the world of bass fishing by winning the 2019 Classic. The odds-on favorite (4-1) to win this year is Mossy Oak Fishing Team Pro 33-year-old Ott DeFoe of Knoxville, Tennessee. Fort Loudoun and Tellico, the sections of the Tennessee River where the 2019 Classic is being held, are some of DeFoe’s home lakes. DeFoe came in 1st place in Bassmaster Open tournaments in 2017 and 2018 at Douglas Lake and took 13th place in a 2018 tournament on Kentucky Lake, other parts of the Tennessee River. VanDam and Lee have the incentives they need to provide outstanding performances at the 2019 Classic and the opportunities to rewrite the history of bass fishing. 

Another member of the Mossy Oak Fishing Team who’s qualified to fish in the 2019 Classic is 31-year-old Brandon Palaniuk (20-1 odds) of Rathdrum, Idaho, who has fished in eight previous Classics, finishing 2nd in the 2013 Classic and 4th in  the 2011 Classic. Palaniuk, a quiet, unassuming angler, has the talent and the skills to win this Super Bowl of Bass Fishing, the 2019 Classic. He’ll probably only have a few spectator boats creating waves and noise where he wants to fish and thereby giving him the chance to possibly win. If someone can come out of the pack and take home the 2019 Classic championship, Palaniuk may be the spoiler and go home with the trophy and the money.  

You’ve got to love 49-year-old Mossy Oak Fishing Team Pro Gerald Swindle of Guntersville, Alabama, who’s facing 35-1 odds to win the 2019 Classic. Swindle’s a junk fisherman who uses a wide variety of lures and fishes everything in his tackle box, perhaps even the pliers, to try and catch bass. One of the reasons this Mossy Oak Pro, Angler of the Year in 2004 and 2016, has the chance to bring home the bacon is that 2019 is his 19th time to qualify for the Classic. He’s had up-and-down performances, but the changing water and weather changes may play into a junk fisherman like Swindle’s favor. Being very versatile with many lures and tactics, Gerald Swindle may ride his dark horse onto the victory stage. 

Yes, the 2019 Bassmaster Classic will be a life-changing experience for the bass fisherman who hoists that trophy high over his head, as confetti falls over and around him. His financial pockets will become heavier, his sponsors will grow, his sponsorship money will increase, and his opportunities to collect at least $1 million from this Classic will be at hand.

For more coverage of the Mossy Oak Fishing Team at the 2019 Bassmaster Classic, read:

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