Starting Right at the Bassmaster Classic

There's an old saying about the Bassmaster Classic that you can't win it in one day, but you can surely lose it. Just ask Basil Bacon, who blanked on the first day of the 1979 Classic then came roaring back to finish second, just three pounds - one good fish - behind Hank Parker.

Bacon's not alone. Dozens of Classic could-a-beens can look back at one bad day that cost them bass fishing immortality. And on Friday, a handful more names will be added to that list.

So what is it that Classic champs do so right that others screw up? Well, for starters, they get off to a good start.

Of the 40 winners, 11 ended the first day in - you guessed it - first place. Three more were in second and seven were in third. That's 52.5 percent of the champions in the top three places after Round 1.

Thirty-seven of the 40 winners were in the top 10 after the first day. That's 92.5 percent. Just three ranked lower (Don Butler in 1972, Rick Clunn in 1990 and Skeet Reese in 2009). They were each in 13th or 14th place.

Deficits are tough to make up in the Bassmaster Classic. There are only three days to fish. In a regular season Elite event, there are four. It's a big difference.