TABLE ROCK SET FOR EXCITING FINISHES
KIMBERLING CITY, Mo. - Everyone loves a close finish. The sixth and final stop of the CITGO Bassmaster Tour should produce several as the collective blood, sweat and tears of more than 150 BASS pros will be recognized through several awards and critical qualifications for the CITGO Bassmaster Classic and Bassmaster Elite 50s.
With so much at stake, even the sagest pros could be expected to tighten up a bit. After all, one lost fish and you could lose your ticket to the Classic.
"I'm not fishing any differently than the rest of the tournaments I've fished. If I think any differently and try to go out there and win a certain award, I lose perspective and that's no good," said North Carolina's Marty Stone who leads the CITGO Angler of the Year race going into the Table Rock event.
One of bass fishing's premier titles, the Angler of the Year race could hardly be any tighter than it is this year. No fewer than a dozen anglers have a viable shot at the title if they can put it all together at Table Rock.
In addition to the Classic and Angler of the Year, the Toyota Horizon Award (given to the angler showing the greatest improvement in Angler of the Year standings from 2004 to 2005) and the Toyota Rookie of the Year award are also waiting for the last inning to be played at Table Rock.
Pennsylvania's David Wolak is atop the Rookie of the Year standings and is also one of the anglers within striking distance of an Angler of the Year title. Either way, he's in good shape to be the to qualify for this year's Classic in Pittsburgh
"Winning the Toyota Horizon Award would mean a whole lot to me, especially considering the terrible season I had in 2004," said Cleveland, Ohio's Frank Scalish, currently sitting atop the Horizon standings. "It was one of my goals to come back this season and finish strong."
With so much at stake, the only ones not concerned are the bass. They're as perplexing as ever.
"I don't have a clue what to do out here. This is a phenomenal tournament, and I love this lake, but I'm frustrated right now," said Stone.
"The two tournaments I've done the best in this year, I had no clue what I was going to do after practice," Stone added. "I didn't figure it out until I got on the water during the tournament."
Even the locals are stymied.
"It's hard to say what the best strategy is out there. I'm throwing a bunch of different stuff," Missouri pro Stacey King said.
Regardless of strategy, Table Rock is a lake that's bound to produce some impressive catches. Last year, Mark Davis figured them out and won the Table Rock event with a total weight of 67 pounds, four ounces.
"There should be some big stringers. There were a few local tourneys here not too long ago, and they caught some heavy stringers," King said. "With Table Rock, you know there will be some big bags."
With every fish representing important award or qualifying points, the table is set for some exciting finishes.
Daily weigh-ins will take place at What's Up Dock Marina at 3:00 p.m. Anglers launch from What's Up Dock Marina beginning at 6:00 a.m.
BASS is the world's largest fishing organization, sanctioning more than 20,000 tournaments worldwide through its Federation. The CITGO Bassmaster Tournament Trail, which includes the Bassmaster Elite 50 series, is the oldest and most prestigious pro bass fishing tournament circuit and continues to set the standard for credibility, professionalism and sportsmanship as it has since 1968.
Sponsors of the CITGO Bassmaster Tour include CITGO Petroleum Corp., Toyota, Busch Beer, Purolator, Triton Boats, Mercury Marine, Berkley, Lowrance Electronics, MotorGuide, Bass Pro Shops and Cialis (tadalafil).
Local Sponsors include Kimberling City Lodging Association.
For more information, contact BASS Communications at (334) 551-2375 or visit www.bassmaster.com.
Source: bassmaster.com (2005-03-30)