T-H Marine Pro Staffers are no strangers to the Bassmaster Classic. Several of those pros have even hoisted that trophy and celebrated in the confetti over the years, including Classic tournaments held on Lake Hartwell. With that in mind, we got 10 of our pros to sound off with their predictions and insights into what 2022 will have in store (including a look at potential rivalries and steep competition!).
Classic Crystal Ball - THM Pros Preview the 2022 Bassmaster Classic at Lake Hartwell
A Look into the 2022 Bassmaster Classic at Lake Hartwell
The main goal may be getting that big check and holding that trophy, but who doesn’t love bragging rights when it comes to forecasting an event like the Classic? There’s plenty of opportunity for that with the predictions below, and with your predictions, too, along with an inside look into what these pros are putting into Lake Hartwell.
Predicting the Biggest Bag of the 2022 Bassmaster Classic
Bringing in the biggest bag on any given day might not win the whole tournament, but it certainly helps you get a payout. The last time the Classic was held on Lake Hartwell, Jason Christie did that by bringing in a whopping 20 pounds and 14 ounces on Day 1.
Here’s what the pros predict for 2022:
Gerald Swindle - 19 pounds, 0 ounces
Matt Arey - 19 pounds, 1 ounce
Seth Feider - 20 pounds, 0 ounces (“Somewhere around 20lbs.”)
David Mullins - 20 pounds, 0 ounces
Jason Christie - 20 pounds, 2 ounces
Caleb Sumrall - 20 pounds, 12 ounces
Chad Pipkens - 20 pounds, 13 ounces
Jeff Gustafson - 21 pounds, 0 ounces (“Probably my 21lb. limit on day one.”)
Greg Hackney - 22 pounds, 0 ounces
John Crews - 23 pounds, 0 ounces (“22.00 to 24.00 pounds.”)
Most of the predictions here are pretty tight together, so we might have to invoke Price is Right rules to determine who was closest when it’s all in the rearview mirror. As for John Crews’ guess, he tried to cover some sort of spread, so we averaged his guess out. 😆
Predicting the Heaviest Bass of the 2022 Bassmaster Classic
Who doesn’t love seeing a monster lunker that won’t need to be put on a cull beam? We’re hoping to see more than a few going into these pros' livewells, and hopefully, they'll even exceed these predictions:
Chad Pipkens - 5 pounds, 10 ounces
Matt Arey - 6 pounds, 0 ounces
Seth Feider - 6 pounds, 0 ounces
Caleb Sumrall - 6 pounds, 1 ounce
David Mullins - 6 pounds, 3 ounces
Gerald Swindle - 6 pounds, 9 ounces
Jason Christie - 7 pounds, 1 ounce
Jeff Gustafson - 7 pounds, 1 ounce
John Crews - 8 pounds, 0 ounces
Greg Hackney - 8 pounds, 0 ounces
At 5 pounds and 15 ounces, Seth Fieder was recognized with the Berkley Big Bass when the Classic was on Lake Hartwell in 2018.
Predicting the Winning Patterns at the 2022 Bassmaster Classic
These guys are smart enough to not be too specific about their strategies, sometimes not saying anything at all, but it’ll be interesting to compare where they go, what they do, and what works when the Classic is underway.
The Answer May be Top Secret
David Mullins - ( 🤐 )
Greg Hackney - “Someone fishing deep and shallow.”
John Crews - “WIll be a mixed bag of strategies.”
Matt Arey - “A mix of shallow largemouth and deep spotted bass.”
Caleb Sumrall - “Shallow cranking or jerkbait.”
Seth Feider - “Largemouth shallow.”
Jeff Gustafson - “Fishing deep brush.”
Jason Christie - “Fishing deep.”
Gerald Swindle - “Offshore using sonar.”
Chad Pipkens - “[The] Winning pattern will include targeting spotted bass and herring the first half of the day and then getting a good largemouth bite or two the second half of the day.”
Special Preparation for the Classic / Rituals / Superstitions
We got a wide range of answers about this one, including some sober advice, a bit about luck, and maybe even some “no comment” answers that have us intrigued. Here’s what they said:
John Crews - “It is hard but [I] try to get into a routine. That is my deal.”
Caleb Sumrall - “Try to work as hard as humanly possible but at the same time enjoy it.”
Jeff Gustafson - “I try to enjoy all of the activities going on during the week. We get treated like rock stars, it's pretty awesome.”
Gerald Swindle - “Just to survive it.”
Chad Pipkens - “No special rituals for the classic itself but I do pick up loose change that’s heads up throughout the year and put it in my boat for good luck! Every cent that is picked up heads up is worth one good keeper. A quarter is worth 25!”
No Special prep / Rituals / Superstitions
Matt Arey - “Not really.”
David Mullins - “No rituals.”
None — or Maybe it’s Really “Mum” 🤫
Seth Feider - “X”
Jason Christie - “X”
Greg Hackney - “X”
Whose boat would you hide a banana in?
Superstitions about bananas date back a long time, but some of the pros are still cautious about them. Rather than ask directly for their take on whether they may actually be bad luck, we asked what they thought about some mischief involving the notorious fruit:
“Whose boat would you hide a banana in?”
“I don't know anyone that I dislike that much. LOL”
— John Crews
“Lee Livesay because he likes bananas.”
— Caleb Sumrall
“I would hide a banana in my boat. I love bananas and eat one every day before I start the tournament!”
— Chad Pipkens
(vying for a Chiquita or Dole sponsorship, maybe?)
“Hank Cherry (he’s won enough 😂).”
— Matt Arey
“Hank Cherry he’s done won two in a row, gotta try and slow him a little.”
— Gerald Swindle
— David Mullins
“Definitely Cory Johnston.”
— Jeff Gustafson
— Seth Feider
— Jason Christie
“Jason Christie 😝”
— Greg Hackney
(We haven’t really done GIFs in our blog, but Greg Hackney and Jason Christie might deserve that ‘Spider-man pointing at Spider-man’ GIF here. Couple of funny guys there.)
Your Turn: What Do You Predict for the 2022 Bassmaster Classic at Lake Hartwell?
So, when the trailers hit the tide, what do you think will happen? Where will the bass be caught? How will the weather factor in? Winning weights?
Tag a Bassmaster pro and sound off at us on social with your predictions!
Note: With the tournament in the books, voting in our prediction poll has ended. Scroll down to see the results of the reader poll and a recap of how the predictions turned out.
Update: Results of the 2022 Bassmaster Classic at Lake Hartwell
Here's a look at the final outcome of our poll to predict the winner, along with a recap of how other predictions compared with results.
Biggest Bag of the 2022 Bassmaster Classic
For the biggest bag of the 2022 Bassmaster Classic, look no further than T-H Marine Pro Stetson Blaylock. It was a great effort on his part for Day 3, where his 20lb, 9oz haul put him solidly in third place.
Heaviest Bass of the 2022 Bassmaster Classic
The Phoenix Boats Big Bass weighed in at 6lbs even, matching several of our pros' predictions above. This was short of the predictions made by five of our anglers, where they figured the largest bass would be north of 6 and a half pounds, but it was still a great catch by Taylor Smith.
Winning Patterns at the 2022 Bassmaster Classic
Bassmaster Classic Champion Jason Christie predicted deep fish, and he reports that he found them, but not without mixing it up a bit, too. In the end, he kept his options open, says he fished a deep drain early on to bring in some big bags, and fished near docks later on, especially as he found large bass hanging near docks. Live imaging likely helped him get his sights on lunkers all along.
Special Preparation for the Classic / Rituals / Superstitions
In the mix of answers we received about special prep or superstitions, it's hard to say if any paid off, especially for Christie as he was mum about it. Whether that unknown lead-up was the secret sauce or merely a detail in the broader mission of employing time-tested fishing techniques, we'll leave that up to the reader to decide.
We have no evidence here, but we'll admit we weren't looking hard. Do you think some of the guys got Hank Cherry? Did Jason Christie and Greg Hackney foil each other? Until pictures surface, it's all speculation for now (and we welcome it).