Anglers given rundown of rules for Classic

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. — It was in a small room in the corner of the Birmingham Jefferson Convention Complex.

Away from the television cameras and swarming media, 50 of the top anglers in the world met to go over the rules and regulations of the 2007 Bassmaster Classic.

The meeting was led by tournament director Trip Weldon.

"This is the 37th annual Bassmaster Classic and its sixth stop in Birmingham," Weldon said. "In my opinion, the summer Classics on Lay Lake [1996 and 2002] did not show the lake's true form.

"But I think this one will."

Most of the anglers showed up in Birmingham last week to practice, and they were met with dismal weather. But Weldon said the warm front that has moved through the area should improve the fishing conditions.

"I thought about you guys last Wednesday and Thursday," Weldon said. "I know it was brutal, but it's going to be warm this weekend. It's going to be stormy, but it's going to be warm and the fish are going to bite."

Weldon went through the proper way to go about loading one's tackle and the regulations on the rods and reels, finishing off any details that could get the anglers in trouble.

The anglers can't alter their tackle after the final practice day, which starts on Wednesday morning, and they are limited to 10 rods and two replacement reels (the rods can be changed out after each day).

Weldon also went over rules on how the anglers should avoid the penalty of accepting any information about fishing on the lake, and what they should do in case of an emergency. Every detail was covered and the anglers asked several questions to clear any confusion.

To anglers like Rick Clunn, Tommy Biffle and Gary Klein, who have been to 67 Classics combined, the meeting was old hat, but for first-timers like Steve Kennedy, Jared Litner and all of the Federation Nation and BASS Open anglers, it was an instructive start of the biggest week of their fishing lives.