BRAUER FENDS OFF ROOKIE CHALLENGER FOR EUFAULA VICTORY
EUFAULA, Ala. - In one of the most dramatic tournament finishes in recent memory, Missouri's Denny Brauer snatched victory and a $100,000 prize purse from Idaho's Bink Desaro Sunday at the CITGO Bassmaster Tour presented by Busch Beer at Lake Eufaula. The BASS legend's margin of victory over his rookie challenger? A mere 3 ounces.
Brauer, who has held the lead since day two of the tournament, brought in 19-2 to narrowly escape Desaro, whom standing-room-only crowds had all but crowned the event winner. Desaro brought in 24-5 on Sunday, but couldn't overcome his more then 5-pound deficit from Saturday.
"This is probably the most exciting tournament that I've ever won," Brauer said. "When you are sitting in back of the line and you hear a guy ahead of you weigh in 24 pounds, it kind of gets you wondering."
Though he was disappointed, Desaro had plenty of consolation. In addition to the $38,000 second place purse, his 24-5 catch was the largest of the day, earning him $1,000 for the Busch Heavyweight catch of the day. If that weight holds out for the remainder of the Tour and Bassmaster Elite 50 series, Desaro will qualify for the $160,000 Busch Shootout Tournament on a mystery lake in September. Desaro also earned an additional $1,000 from Purolator for bringing in a 7-4 lunker that was the day's largest fish.
"I'm happy with second," Desaro said. "To be second to a guy like Denny is incredible. This is more (money) than I've ever made in my whole life put together. My confidence level is way up there now."
Brauer found his victory by fishing a StrikeKing pro model jig with a 3X chunk trailer for most of the tournament.
"I was fishing stuff so ugly that it wasn't something you could put anybody on," said Brauer, who told fans all week that he had no special fishing spots or even a set strategy. "I had never fished that area before and I was catching fish there the first two days. I didn't go back there yesterday; I wanted to let the area rest a bit.
"They quit biting at about 9 a.m., because the water was dropping. I was pitching to the edge of some vegetation, pitching to grass or anything that would come along. There were so few bites to be had, though, that it was kind of a lucky deal."
Desaro was pitching with a black and blue Sweet Beaver flipping bait by Reaction Innovation, punching through heavy mats of vegetation and alligator grass to find the bass lurking below.
Texan Ben Matsubu (72-15), Californian Skeet Reese (69-15), Arkansan Ron Shuffield (65-5) and Louisiana's Greg Hackney (61-12) rounded out Sunday's Super Six anglers.
Florida's Mark Rogers, who didn't make Sunday's final round, nevertheless picked up a check when a 9-4 lunker from the competition's first day earned him $1,000 from Purolator for the Purolator Big Bass of the Tournament.
The CITGO Bassmaster Tour presented by Busch Beer will conclude March 25-28 on South Carolina's Santee Cooper Lakes.
Fans can watch "The CITGO Bassmasters" telecast of the Lake Eufaula tournament on Saturday, March 27 at 10:30 a.m. ET/9:30 a.m. CT on ESPN2.
BASS is the world's largest fishing organization, sanctioning more than 20,000 tournaments worldwide through its Federation. This April, BASS introduces the all-new Bassmaster Elite 50 Series, a four-event, no-entry-fee circuit featuring a $1.6 million prize purse for the world's best anglers. The CITGO Bassmaster Tournament Trail presented by Busch Beer 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 Tournament Trail presented by Busch Beer include CITGO Petroleum Corp., Busch Beer, Purolator, Triton Boats, Skeeter Boats, Mercury Marine, Yamaha Outboards, Berkley, Abu Garcia, Lowrance Electronics, Flowmaster Exhaust Systems, MotorGuide, Bass Pro Shops, and BankOne.
Associate Sponsors include G3 Boats and Bryant Heating and Air Conditioning.
Local Sponsors include the Eufaula-Barbour County Chamber of Commerce, State of Alabama Conservation Department.
For more information, contact BASS Communications at (334) 551-2375 or visit www.bassmaster.com.
Source: bassmaster.com (2004-03-21)