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What It Takes To Be The Bassmaster Classic Champion

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TULSA, Oklahoma -

The most prestigious bass fishing tournament in the world kicks off Friday.

The heavy hitters will flood Grand Lake just before sunrise.

But reeling in "The Big One" won't be enough to win you the Bassmaster Classic trophy. It's a three-day event scored by total weight.

"The anglers are allowed five fish per day, they must measure 14 inches in length. We will check their fish at the lake before they head to Tulsa," said Tournament Director Trip Weldon. "All live bass will be released back into Grand Lake by Oklahoma DNR."

If the fish don't make it to the weigh-in alive, it's a four-ounce penalty per fish.

2/21/2013 Related Story: A Champion's Boat: Bassmaster Classic Showcases Top Technology

The reigning angler of the year is the first boat out Friday morning at 7 a.m., followed by the defending Classic champion. The other anglers follow in random order, and the last boats have to be off the water by 3:15 p.m.

"They're open to all water that's open to public fishing except for a small area off the D ramp on 16th Street," Weldon said.

Fans can check out all the action from their boats out on the lake. Just be polite, and don't scare the fish.

"Be sure you have your depth finders turned off. We don't want all the extra sound and commotion. The bass are very aware of what's going on," said angler Kevin VanDam.

"This is the honest truth—at Kentucky Lake, I saw 125 boats following one angler one time," Weldon said. "We just ask that they be courteous, safe, give these anglers room—they're on your lake for three days. This is their livelihood. If you add Classic champion to your resume, as an angler, it sets you up for life."

"Leave your fishing rods at home, please. Just watch what goes on, and you can get back to fishing when we're gone," VanDam added.

There's a marshal aboard each boat, to make sure none of the competitors are cheating.

Special Coverage: 2013 Bassmaster Classic

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