Anglers Struggle at CITGO BASS Federation Northern Divisional

Yankton, S.D. - BASS Federation anglers had a tough time on Lewis and Clark Lake Wednesday during the first day of the CITGO BASS Federation Northern Divisional presented by Busch Beer.

Andy Sommerfelt, a used car dealer from Iowa, jumped out to the early lead on his state's team and the rest of the field with a weight of 12 pounds, 14 ounces.

"Fishing was pretty tough today," Sommerfelt said. "I did pretty well, though. I was done fishing at 9:17 this morning. I caught them all within a 40-yard spot. The key was a moderate current in this area.

"With the fog coming in tomorrow, we'll have calmer water. My spot got pretty beat up today, so tomorrow I think I'll get a limit, but it won't be as big as today."

While the nine state teams gathered at the Northern Divisional are competing for a cash prize purse based on each team's cumulative weight over three days, the other big prize will go to just nine anglers.

Each team's top angler based on his individual cumulative weight after Friday's final round will earn a berth in amateur bass fishing's world championship, the BASS Federation Championship presented by Busch Beer next spring. Five anglers from the Federation Championship earn berths in the 2005 CITGO Bassmaster Classic presented by Busch Beer, the only amateurs to qualify for the world championship.

South Dakota's own Jami Fralick is leading his team and sitting second overall with a weight of 11-13. Fralick also had a hard time on the water today and attributed the difficulty largely to the wind.

"The wind blew really hard today," Fralick said. "It was about 25 miles per hour and it dirtied up a lot of the banks. If you have one calm day here, the water will clean up and I would expect the fishing to be a lot better.

"I had three largemouth and two smallmouth today. I probably caught about seven or eight keepers. I think being from South Dakota, I had a little advantage, mainly just knowing how to get around. When you find an area, it's good to know how to get around in it."

Currently, Wisconsin is leading the charge in the team competition. The team has a combined weight of 98-9 followed by South Dakota with a total team weight of 77-7.

Competition for the CITGO BASS Federation Northern Divisional presented by Busch Beer will continue Thursday. Launch will be at 7 a.m. with weigh-ins at 3:30 p.m. from the Lewis & Clark Recreation Area.

BASS is the world's largest fishing organization, sanctioning more than 20,000 tournaments worldwide through its Federation. The CITGO Bassmaster Tournament Trail 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 BASS Federation Northern Divisional presented by Busch Beer include CITGO Petroleum Corp., Busch Beer, Purolator, Triton Boats, Mercury Marine, Toyota, Berkley, Abu Garcia, Lowrance Electronics, Flowmaster Exhaust Systems, Evan Williams, MotorGuide, Bass Pro Shops, and BankOne.

Local Sponsors include South Dakota BASS Federation and the Yankton Convention & Visitors Bureau.

For more information, contact BASS Communications at (334) 551-2375 or visit