A Second Place Winner
Sunday, February 23, 2014
by Rex Chambers
Anglers around every boat ramp have always joked that second place is the first loser, but Connecticut’s Paul Mueller proved in the 2014 Bassmaster Classic on Lake Guntersville, that second place might just carry you a long, long way in your fishing career. “The attention that I’ve gotten from the Classic is humbling,” said the Dobyns Rod pro-staff member. “I’ve gotten interviewed by all the bigger media outlets, and it’s gotten me a ton of exposure,” said Mueller.
Getting a ton of exposure is priceless in the quest for a fishing career, but catching fish on a regular basis is beyond priceless, and that’s just what Mueller has proven he can do over the past couple of years. Mueller qualified through the B.A.S.S. Nation, and then put in lots time on the water for the 44th annual Classic. He spent a couple of weeks on Lake Guntersville before cutoff, simply watching his electronics and marking areas of good healthy grass that were holding fish on the mega-bass factory.
Mueller’s first day weight of just over nine pounds put him quickly in a hole towards the bottom of the field. “I lost a couple nice fish on a rattlebait that would have been monumental in the overall scheme of things,” he said. Day #2 proved to be a record setting day, however. Mueller concentrated up the river from the Guntersville take off location across from Roseberry Creek. He fished the edge of an eelgrass flat to find his Classic, single day, record setting bag of over 32 pounds on day number two. Fishing a Dobyns Champion 734 rod, paired with a Diawa Lexa 100 reel with Gamma 14 pound Edge fluorocarbon, he slowly fished an original 3/8 ounce Z-Man Chatterbait, in sexy shad color, on his rise toward the top of the leaderboard. That combination boosted the Nation angler from 47th to 5th place going into the Championship Sunday.
Mueller was determined on the final day to stick with what was working and used the same rod, reel and bait setup to slowly tick the top of the grass on his way to another great limit. “I was trailing the Chatterbait with a 4” Reins Rockvibe Paddle Tail in glow white/silver. The paddletail caused the bait to swing side to side and really slowed it down for the bass to think it was an injured shad,” he said. “Making an angled cast on the points of the eelgrass going with the current was almost a guaranteed bite in a couple areas. I was truly blessed to have done as well as I did and am more than comfortable with who I am at the moment,” says Mueller.
The Candlewood Lake, Connecticut-based fishing guide vaulted into second place after the final day, weighing in a hefty 24-plus pound bag, only missing the coveted title by a mere pound to eventual winner Randy Howell. “I’m so thankful to the sponsors that have been on board for me this year, and with the right help in the future, I’m hoping that the opportunity will come for me to fish one of the major tours soon,” said Mueller. Since the Connecticut angler came within just one pound of winning the coveted title of Bassmaster Classic Champion, there are unlimited opportunities for an angler with Mueller’s work ethic, morals, and determination. Topping thousands of B.A.S.S. Nation anglers on his path to the Bassmaster Classic, his journey has been a long one. Mueller’s valiant effort that landed him in the “first loser” position of second place in the Classic makes him a winner in the eyes of his fishing peers, sponsors and anglers across the nation.