AQUATIC VEGETATION, SCHOOLING FISH GRAB ANGLERS' ATTENTION
Big Expectations for Third CITGO Bassmaster Southern Open on Lake Toho
What's at stake: $322,021 in total prize money, plus 25 berths into the CITGO Bassmaster Open Championship on the Alabama River in Prattville, Ala., Dec.1-4. The top five boaters at the Open Championship will earn berths into the CITGO Bassmaster Classic, Feb. 24-26, on Lake Tohopekaliga in Kissimmee, Fla.
The Pros Said It
"Fishing has been tough. There's a north wind and front pushing through and normally when a front comes through, the fish get lethargic. Once you find them, you can find a few and I want to catch enough to make it to the championship." - Stephen Browning,winner of a 1998 BASS tournament and CITGO Bassmaster Elite Series angler, 39, Hot Springs, Ark.
"You can catch fish here a lot of different ways. There are a number of schools, but the consistent big fish is harder to find. I have to keep adapting and changing to find out what's going on with them." - Terry Segraves, a 1997 CITGO Bassmaster Classic qualifier and CITGO Bassmaster Elite Series angler, 57, Kissimmee, Fla.
"Most fish are being caught schooling and some bigger fish are being found in grass beds. If you find one fish, there seems to be a concentration of them. I think it'll take about 10 pounds a day to make the top 50 cut." - Pete Ponds, winner of the 2004 CITGO Bassmaster Open on Lake Eufaula and CITGO Bassmasster Elite Series angler, 46, Madison, Miss.
"My original plan was to fish Lake Kissimmee, where I know I can go for a limit, but I may travel to Lake Toho to eliminate some competition through distance." - Charlie Youngers, 2000 CITGO Bassmaster Classic qualifier and CITGO Bassmaster Elite Series angler, 53, Geneva, Fla.
Browning: He is using a variety of soft plastic lures and weights on heavy line to get below vegetation where the fish are seeking shelter from the heat.
Segraves: Like Browning, Segraves is flipping a variety of soft plastic lures with heavy line to penetrate grass and weed beds. Occasionally, he's using top-waters early in the morning and lipless crankbaits on light line.
Ponds: He is using a frog top-water lure on 50-pound braided line to punch through the vegetation. Ponds is finding all of his bass shallow.
Youngers: He's mixing up his lures to match several techniques, including flipping. Youngers also will use Carolina rigs to catch both schooling and suspended fish.
Location and Field
Previous winners on lake
Heaviest winning sack
Lowest winning sack
CITGO Southern Open Boater Points Leaders
1. Eric Nethery Ga. 536
CITGO Bassmaster Open
Northern Open Division
Southern Open Division
Western Open Division
Local sponsors: Local sponsors include Central Florida Sports Commission.
Bassmaster Open Series sponsors: CITGO Petroleum Corp., Toyota, Busch Beer, Purolator, Triton Boats, Mercury Marine, Berkley, Lowrance Electronics, MotorGuide, Bass Pro Shops and Cialis (tadalafil).
BASS is the worldwide authority on bass fishing, sanctioning more than 20,000 events through the BASS Federation annually. Guided by its mission to serve all fishing fans, BASS sets the standard for credibility, professionalism, sportsmanship and conservation, as it has for nearly 40 years.
BASS stages bass fishing tournaments for every skill level and culminates with the CITGO Bassmaster Classic. Through its clubs, youth programs, aquatic resource advocacy, magazine publishing and multimedia platforms, BASS offers the industry's widest array of services and support to its nearly 550,000 members. The organization is headquartered in Celebration, Fla.
For more information, contact BASS Communications at (407) 566-2208 or visit www.bassmaster.com.
Source: bassmaster.com (2005-11-16)