Pressure cooker

Marty Stone is sporting the "Mr. Clean" look at this week's Classic. 

What's up with Marty Stone's Chrome Dome? Said he was speeding up the process that was already in the works.

We have guys out there that are trying to hide the fact that they have no hair and here we have one that is showing off the fact that he left all his on the floor.

Nice. Changed his name to Chromey.

Dealing with pressure

How do the anglers at the 2006 CITGO Bassmaster's Classic handle the pressure?

This is like no other tournament that these 51 competitors will see this year. For some, it will be like no other tournament they will attend in their lives. No other week of bass fishing has the scheduling, media scrutiny, and time constraints that Classic Week entails.

The anglers have somewhere to be and something to do almost every day — and some days those events have nothing to do with fishing.

Wednesday, the single official practice day, will see the anglers being loaded in vehicles, driven to the lake, launched at 6:40 am and taken out no later than 3:00pm. The act of being late will see a penalty imposed on an angler's weight, usually one pound per minute he is late.

After practice, there are functions to attend. Did I mention that the typical Classic day starts well before 4 o'clock? Yes, that would be 4:00 AM.

Thursday will be media day, where the anglers are available for interviews, as well as the opening day of the ESPN Outdoor Expo. Friday through Sunday will be competition days with little free time even after the weigh-in.

Not much time for sitting around in your boat, working on tackle. For guys that thrive on solitude, the hectic Classic Week schedule is not a good formula for success.

To put all the pieces of the puzzle together, find the inner strength to concentrate on fishing, and block out the extraneous factors of functions, hoopla, and fans, an angler has to be living right.

Winning the Classic with all the surrounding distractions makes it that much more of an accomplishment, especially as the sport becomes bigger and more available to the media.

The red eye

It's been a while since I have flown on a commercial airline. Pre-9/11 to be exact. Wow, have airports changed.

I had to take my Van's off to get to the boarding area. Sure, I had heard about this whacky ritual, but I never visualized myself standing in line at 5:00 a.m. in my socks. Next to a grandmother in her socks, no less. Who schedules a flight for 5:30 am in the morning? What did I do to get booked on this flight?

Talk about a red-eye. I think the flight scheduler that set this one up must be into bass fishing and like getting up too early for sane people.

Olympic drama and fishing

Had a chance to catch some of the Olympics this past week. What is up with ice dancing? Is this white trash/redneck skating or what? Are ice dancers figure skaters who couldn't hack it? Ice dancing has some overly suggestive maneuvers, overly skimpy outfits and backstage drama galore.

I can see the difficulty in just the skating; I probably couldn't even stand up on a pair of blades. The drama behind the scenes is what really gets me.

Can we get a little of that in bass fishing? Maybe Ike can pout and cry because KVD moved in on his spot. Stoney might get cheesed off because Swindle makes fun of his new, lack-of-hair-do. Could we get e few more bassin' viewers with some redneck drama like they have in ice dancing?

What about Bode? Blowout or the real deal? Too much hype or not enough partying on his part? The guy has his own website centered on the Olympic games, for cryin' out loud. Come on Bode, get out there and make it past all the gates.