Quotes from Busch Shootout Qualifiers

MONTGOMERY, Ala. – The following quotes are from a series of interviews with the 13 anglers who earned a berth in the Sept. 18 Busch Shootout, which will award $100,000 to the winner of the single-day tournament and $5,000 to the other 12 participants.

The Shootout hearkens back to the early days of bass fishing’s world championship, the CITGO Bassmaster Classic presented by Busch Beer, when anglers and the media were flown to a “mystery lake” for the competition. Busch Shootout anglers will be provided with travel information immediately prior to their departure next week, but speculation is rampant and clearly affecting the competitors’ preparation.

The 13 anglers at the Shootout include the pros with the heaviest single-day weights at the 10 stops of the CITGO Bassmaster Tournament Trail presented by Busch Beer (Tour and Elite 50), the heaviest single-day weight at the CITGO Bassmaster Open Championship, the CITGO BASS Federation Championship and the Classic. The Busch Shootout will be telecast Sept. 25 on ESPN2.

Here, we ask them how they’re preparing, where they think they might be headed, and whether they’re worried about the competition:

KELLY JORDON Hometown: Mineola, Texas Qualifying weight: 32 pounds, 2 ounces Tournament: CITGO Bassmaster Tour – Santee Cooper Lakes, S.C.

“I haven’t heard anything. No rumors or anything. We were all asking about it but no one would tell us anything. How about we go to Ray Scott’s private lake? I’ve heard stories about that place. Maybe it will be at Disney. That would be pretty cool. It doesn’t matter where it is, it’s going to be fun. Bring it on.”

MARK ROGERS Hometown: Naples, Fla. Qualifying weight: 31 pounds, 3 ounces Tournament: CITGO Bassmaster Tour – Lake Eufaula, Ala.

“It could be anywhere. I’ve been thinking about what to pack a lot, but I still haven’t decided what to bring. You know, I like to pitch and flip a lot, so I’ll probably be doing some of that.”

“I think it’s going to take some big fish to win. If we go to a pond that’s stocked, it’s going to take some big fish to win, but if we go to a lake, maybe the guy who spends some time and finds a deep water pattern will win it. All these guys are talented and will catch fish, though. Now that the Classic’s over with, everyone is talking about where they think it will be and getting excited about it.”

GEORGE COCHRAN Hometown: Hot Springs, Ark. Qualifying weight: 29 pounds, 15 ounces Tournament: CITGO Bassmaster Tour – Lake Guntersville, Ala.

“I’ve been fishing a lake, kind of practicing for the Shootout. I’ve been fishing places that have big fish. I was fishing on a lake today that had, on average, 5- to 7-pound fish in it, so that got me all fired up.”

“I don’t have any idea where we’re going, though. I would imagine they’re going to take us to a lake that has a lot of big fish in it, so I’m going to take the kind of tackle to catch big fish. I’m not going to take light tackle, I’m taking heavy tackle, nothing less than 12-pound-test line and big baits. I’m going to fish big lures that I like to fish. It’s going to be exciting, I’m sure about that.”

STACY KING Hometown: Reeds Springs, Mo. Qualifying weight: 28 pounds, 2 ounces Tournament: CITGO Bassmaster Tour – Lake Guntersville, Ala.

“I’m just really looking forward to it. I’m really excited about it and I don’t care where we go. It doesn’t make a bit of difference to me whether we’re north, south, east or west; it’ll be the same for everybody.”

“As far as preparation goes, I haven’t really started yet. I’ve been thinking about it and I’m going to go light since it’s a one-day tournament. I’m going to take all the basic stuff to cover all the basics as far as patterns go. If we’re going north, I’m going to take some stuff I’d use to catch smallmouth but in case we’re going south, I’m taking stuff to catch largemouth.”

“I’m going to try to stay basic and take a few of each lure and types of tackle that would cover me with any situation we might be confronted with.”

DAVID WHARTON Hometown: Sam Rayburn, Texas Qualifying weight: 26 pounds, 7 ounces Tournament: CITGO Bassmaster Tour – Harris Chain of Lakes

“I’m fishing a lot and then I really haven’t started packing my tackle yet; I guess I’ll do that next week. I’ve got to figure out where I think it’s going to be and I think they’re probably going to throw us a curve, so I have to prepare for an unknown deal, too. I have to pack the tackle I have the most confidence in – soft plastics and spinnerbaits. Honestly, I’m going to pack to fish shallow. I hope we’re going to a place we can do that in. I’ve got to cover all the basics, really, but I think everybody’s going to pack the stuff that they use to fish to their strengths.”

“Honestly, the logical place for it to be would be at the Disney lakes in Orlando, but that’s too obvious, so we’re probably not going there. Plus, a lot of the guys have fished those lakes. I hope we’re going someplace that no one has ever fished before. I feel real certain somebody’s going to be standing by the computer checking the flight numbers (tournament organizers assign next week) against the destinations.”

“It’s kind of an all-star lineup when you look at it, from top to bottom actually. Whoever wins it just has to have that one good day. Any of the 13 guys could win it, that’s for sure. I really appreciate Busch hanging in there with us, giving us the opportunity.”

KEVIN VANDAM Hometown: Kalamazoo, Mich. Qualifying weight: 26 pounds, 3 ounces Tournament: CITGO Bassmaster Tour – Lake Guntersville, Ala.

“I’m fired up about it. I know all the guys are really excited about the Busch Shootout, too. The concept is awesome and I’m really happy that the Busch beer guys had the foresight to come up with something like this.”

JASON QUINN Hometown: Lake Wylie, S.C. Qualifying weight: 24 pounds, 14 ounces Tournament: CITGO Bassmaster Tour – Harris Chain of Lakes, Fla.

“This goes back to the way the first Classic came about and it’s going to be neat to be a part of that. The year before I was born, this type of thing took off and here I am 33 years later, taking part in it.”

“It’s fun in a lot of ways. Going to a mystery lake is kind of unbelievable. But the unpreparedness part – you don’t know if you’re fishing for smallmouth or largemouth, a deep, clear reservoir or what.”

BINK DESARO Hometown: Boise, Idaho Qualifying weight: 24 pounds, 5 ounces Tournament: CITGO Bassmaster Tour – Lake Eufaula, Ala.

“I haven’t picked up on any rumors yet. I’m going to be prepared to go anywhere in the country. Personally, I think we’re going to Disney. I’m really excited to go.”

“I’m going to have my flipping stick with 80-pound braid on it and my spinning rod with 6-pound fluorocarbon. Versatility is key in this tournament. I think you’re going to have to go out and catch five, not go out and catch big bass, but just go out and get a limit.”

DENNY BRAUER Hometown: Camdenton, Mo. Qualifying weight: 23 pounds, 12 ounces Tournament: CITGO Bassmaster Tour – Lake Eufaula, Ala.

“We’ve fished a lot of mystery lakes. At least they were a mystery to me, you know, lakes that you’ve never been on before. It just adds a new element and it’s really exciting for the media as well.“

“I just felt initially that it would be at Disney or one of the Busch parks, but I haven’t heard anything. The Busch people intentionally aren’t calling me, so I can’t bribe them or anything.”

BEN MATSUBU Hometown: Hemphill, Texas Qualifying weight: 23 pounds, 10 ounces Tournament: CITGO Bassmaster Tour – Lake Eufaula, Ala.

“I was talking to Tommy Martin and he was giving me some tips on how to do it. You have to bring a little of everything. Everything has to do with colors. You have colors that will work almost anywhere, your black and blues, your watermelons and your green pumpkins. I’ll be taking those.”

“I keep hearing all these rumors about where it is going to be. You know, Jerry McKinnis has a lake, Ray Scott’s lake. Then I had a guy say, ‘Do you know for sure it’s in the United States?’ I was like, ‘Don’t do that to me, man.’ I hope they do this again. I love it. I love the whole deal.”

JOHN MURRAY Hometown: Phoenix, Ariz. Qualifying weight: 21 pounds Tournament: CITGO Bassmaster Open Championship – Toledo Bend Reservoir, La.

“After the Open Championship, at the time, I think I was more excited about going to the Busch Shootout than the Classic. I had made them both, but with Busch stepping up behind this and the mystery lake deal and everything, I knew that it’d be great.”

“For this one-day deal, there’s going to be 12 guys going home with $5,000 and one of us will take home the hundred grand. I’m really excited.”

TAKAHIRO OMORI Hometown: Emory, Texas Qualifying weight: 16 pounds, 2 ounces Tournament: CITGO Bassmaster Classic – Lake Wylie, S.C.

“I just got back into town last night so I’m just starting to prepare my tackle. I’m not doing something special. It only takes a couple of days to prepare; I just bring my favorite baits.”

THAD TAKES Hometown: Center Point, Iowa Qualifying weight: 14 pounds, 12 ounces Tournament: CITGO BASS Federation Championship – Keystone Lake, Okla.

“For one, I have to get all my good tackle in order and put together a box that covers all the strengths that I have for fishing, all the right lures and a few of each type of thing. I don’t want to carry a whole bunch of tackle; I think it would be confusing to have too many options.”

“I’m fishing, basically, every weekend. I’m a weekend-type guy, I work during the week, so every weekend I’m going out and doing something. I’m going out to a river this weekend and check out some water I haven’t been to to try and find fish in places I haven’t been.”

“I don’t have the knowledge that Denny Brauer has, of course. I don’t have the experience those guys have of seeing the majority of the good bodies of water in the country, but I am very active in pursuing the information related to bass fishing: what bass are doing, where they hang out and why. I think a lot about fishing so, when I go to a new place, I think my ability to find and catch fish is just about as good as anybody’s.”

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