Anglers From All Over The World In Oklahoma For Bassmaster Classic

Thursday, February 21st 2013, 4:43 pm
By: News On 6

Friday is the big day when the world's best anglers cast their lines into Grand Lake, as the Bassmaster Classic begins around dawn.

The tournament has brought anglers from all over the world.

Gerry Jooste is one of 53 anglers competing in this weekend's Bassmaster Classic. It's the fifth time he's taken part in the sport's biggest tournament.

Jooste is part of an international flavor that has come to eastern Oklahoma this weekend. He's from Zimbabwe, and he says fishing in Africa or the United States is basically the same.

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The biggest difference is Oklahoma's extreme weather and the fish are bigger and slower in Zimbabwe.

"Whenever I come here, I'm always amazed at how better the spinner bait bite is, how better crank bait bite is—any of the reaction lures," Jooste said. "Whereas, at home, you have to slow everything down a little bit and it just kind of makes sense, because they're big and lazy."

The Bassmaster Classic draws people from all over the world. Among them is group of journalists from the National Japanese Television Network. They're here to cover two Japanese citizens, who now live in Texas and are competing in the Classic.

Jooste said he comes to the U.S. about once every three years. He said fishing on Grand Lake is a lot more peaceful than back in Zimbabwe, where he has to deal with hippos and crocodiles. He's even had a friend whose boat was attacked by a hippo and tried to take out a good chunk of it.

He was last in Oklahoma in the late '90s, and says he's looking forward to getting out on the water.

"There's just lots of fish. If you're not catching them, you're just doing the wrong thing," Jooste said.

Jooste is not a professional angler, he's participating as an amateur. His day job is building boats in his native country.

Special Coverage: 2013 Bassmaster Classic