Bassmaster Classic begins

Published 1:26 am Saturday, February 21, 2009

With the jitters of the first day of her first Bassmaster Classic competition behind her, Kim Bain-Moore of Alabaster, was all smiles Friday afternoon and ready to get back on the Red River on Saturday and get on with the competition – but not before she got an evening of rest.

The first woman to qualify for the prestigious event, Bain-Moore has been under the media microscope. She has been running at full throttle since she qualified last October for the sport’s biggest tournament via her earning the 2008 Toyota Tundra Women’s Bassmaster Tour Angler of the Year title.

The pace of Bain-Moore’s interview and appearance schedule – which included front-page features in Time Magazine online, the Miami Herald, the South Florida Sun-Sentinel, Baltimore Sun and Los Angeles Times stepped up as the days counted down to the competition that carries a $500,000 first-place prize and title that any pro would love to claim.

Many of the fans at Bossier City’s CenturyTel Center stood and cheered as Bain-Moore climbed onto the Classic stage Friday, the 27th of 51 anglers to weigh in. She was smiling, and appeared composed as she carried her first-day catch to the scales. Her two bass weighed 3 pounds, 6 ounces.

When it was over, Bain-Moore, who has participated in the Classic in previous years as an ESPN Outdoors analyst, said she was petrified in the minutes leading up to her first walk across the Classic stage as a competitor.

Was she glad the first day was over?

“Yes! Yes!” was her unqualified answer as reporters crowded around her after she came off the stage.

“I hit the water this morning and I was so excited,” said the 28-year-old native of Australia. “It was freezing cold, and I think I fished far too fast all day. I was thinking, ‘This is the Classic! This is the Classic!”

She said her first fish Friday came at about 11 a.m.

“It was a long time coming,” she said. “After that first one, I was not as nervous.”

The reality sank in, Bain-Moore said, when she saw how many fans turned up for the 7:15 a.m. launch at Red River South Marina in Bossier City.

“That was the first moment it hit. I thought, ‘Oh, boy, I’m at the Bassmaster Classic.’ ”

Bain-Moore said she encountered a few fans in boats on the Red River, but they were polite and made an effort not to get in her way.

And Saturday is another day.

“Tomorrow, the second day, I have a job to do. I’ll still be smiling, but I’ll put my head down, try to make decisions, and just slow down. I typically get nervous on Day 1, then go out on Day 2 a little calmer and really catch them,” she added.

Demopolis native, Boyd Duckett leads after the first day with a five-bass weight off 20 pounds, 3 ounces. Duckett won the 2007 Classic on Lay Lake.

Daily launches presented by the Red River Waterway Commission are set for 7:15 a.m. at the Red River South Marina in Bossier City.

ESPN2, and will provide extensive coverage of the three-day competition, while ESPN Classic will feature five hours of Bassmaster Classic specials Sunday, Feb. 22, starting at noon. Schedules are posted at