PRACTICE DAYS: April 17-19, 2005
COMPETITION DAYS: April 20-23, 2005
LAUNCH SITE: Lewis Smith Lake Dam – Smith Dam Hydro Electric Plant, 640 Powerhouse Road, Jasper, AL 35504
WEIGH-IN LOCATION: Old Walker County Airport, North Airport Road, Jasper, AL 35504
TOURNAMENT WATERS: Smith Lake and all rivers, creeks and canals connecting to Smith Lake. Only that water open to all public fishing will be considered tournament waters. Any waters closed to public fishing will be closed to this tournament’s contestants.
PAST TOURNAMENTS: In 2004, California’s Charlie Weyer won at Smith Lake with a four-day total of 32 pounds and 10 ounces. Smith Lake also hosted BASS events in 1967 and 1968.
The Elite-50s represent a unique tournament format. First of all, there is no entry fee for the 50 qualifying anglers. Secondly, every angler in the field will cash a check at the end of the event. With fewer anglers, Elite 50 events are structured differently than Tour events. All 50 anglers will fish for the first two days. After the second day, the field is cut to the top 12 anglers and weights are zeroed for the final two days of the event. On Day 3 and Day 4, anglers will fish a six-hole “course.” On the course, each angler will be restricted to a designated area or hole for one hour and 10 minutes. At the end of that time, each angler will rotate to the next hole. This covers seven hours of the fishing day. The final hour allows anglers to fish anywhere on the course they choose.
A cut to the top six anglers is made on Day 4 and weights carry over from Day 3. Anglers will again have a six-hole course with designated times and locations where they can fish in the same format as Day 3. A winner will be crowned on Saturday night. Elite 50 competitors launch at 10 a.m., and the weigh-in will take place at 7 p.m.
Qualifying for the Elite 50s
With only 50 anglers fishing the tournament series, qualifying for the Elite 50s is quite an accomplishment. In addition to the top cash prizes, the Elite 50s also represent an opportunity for anglers to qualify for the CITGO Bassmaster Classic. In fact, anglers who finish in the top 10 of the Elite 50s points standings will qualify for both the 2005 and 2006 Classics.
To qualify for the Elite 50s, an angler must be among the top 20 all-time leading money winners in BASS history, the top 27 in Angler of the Year points standings over the previous three years (cumulative), the 2005 CITGO Angler of the Year, the 2005 Toyota Rookie of the Year and the 2004 CITGO Bassmaster Classic champion.
Aaron Martens, of Leeds, Ala., Dave Wolak of Warrior Run, Pa., and Takahiro Omori of Emory, Texas, are qualified as 2005 Angler of the Year, 2005 Rookie of the Year and 2004 Bassmaster Classic champion, respectively. Here are the other 47 qualifiers:
Top 20 All-Time BASS Money Winners
1. Denny Brauer Camdenton, MO $1,889,176.71
2. Rick Clunn Ava, MO $1, 627, 544.43
3. Larry Nixon Bee Branch, AR $1, 579, 658.58
4. Kevin VanDam Kalamazoo, MI $1, 450, 108.33
5. Jay Yelas Tyler, TX $1, 312, 607.00
6. Shaw E Grigsby Jr Gainesville, FL $1, 259, 855.23
7. Gary Klein Weatherford, TX $1, 239, 343.97
8. Ron Shuffield Bismarck, AR $1, 047, 521.00
9. Roland Martin Naples, FL $1, 038, 067.16
10. George Cochran Hot Springs, AR $1, 028, 409.78
11. Mark Davis Mount Ida, AR $1, 018, 121.30
12. Davy Hite Prosperity, SC $942, 150.00
13. Zell Rowland Montgomery, TX $937, 765.90
14. David Fritts Lexington, NC $881, 355.00
15. Peter E Thliveros Jacksonville, FL $838, 289.00
16. Jim Bitter Fruitland Park, FL $824, 368.60
17. Alton Jones Waco, TX $816, 479.17
18. Tommy Biffle Wagoner, OK $809, 978.80
19. David Wharton Sam Rayburn, TX $773, 755.80
20. Michael Iaconelli Runnemede, NJ $732, 245.00
Top 27 in 2003, 2004, 2005 Angler of the Year Combined Standings
1. Skeet Reese Auburn, CA 24
2. Brent Chapman Shawnee, KS 66
3. Tim Horton Muscle Shoals, AL 69
4. Edwin Evers Mannsville, OK 70
5. Kelly Jordon Mineola, TX 78
6. Kevin Wirth Crestwood, KY 81
7. Terry Scroggins Palatka, FL 90
8. Gerald Swindle Hayden, AL 93
9. Marty Stone Linden, NC 94
10. Ishama Monroe Hughson, CA 97
11. Stacey D King Springs Reed, MO 108
12. Bud Pruitt Spring, TX 112
13. Brian Snowden Springfield, MO 114
14. Jeff Reynolds Platter, OK 125
15. Mike Reynolds Modesto, CA 130
16. Jeff Kriet Ardmore, OK 133
17. Bernie Schultz Gainesville, FL 136
18. Jimmy Mize Ben Lomond, AR 140
19. Mike Wurm Hot Springs, AR 142
20. Guy Eaker Cherryville, NC 149
21. Chad Morgenthaler Coulterville, IL 152
22. Dustin Wilks Rocky Mount, NC 153
23. Dean Rojas Grand Saline, TX 158
24. Luke Clausen Spokane Valley, WA 160
25. Kenyon Hill Norman, OK 162
26. Randy Howell Springville, AL 164
27. Mark Tyler Scottsdale, AZ 165
Total = $400,000
Tournament Trail Recap
2005 CITGO Angler of the Year
You couldn’t have scripted a better scenario for the Angler of the Year race. As in 2004, the race came down to the last day of the last tournament as two anglers, Marty Stone and Aaron Martens, were forced to wait until the last day’s weigh-in to determine their fates. Martens eventually won the award on the strength of his second-place finish at Table Rock Lake. Stone missed the Saturday cut by just six ounces, leaving his fate in Martens’ hands. Martens, a former gas station attendant tossed away the bridesmaid tag (2nd place in 2002 and 2004 Classics) with which he had been saddled.
“I still can’t believe I won it,” Martens said. “I didn’t really think I had a chance at it coming to Table Rock. Thankfully, I was wrong.”
2005 Toyota Rookie of the Year
It’s good to be Dave Wolak. The Pennsylvania rookie has qualified for the 2005 Classic in his home state of Pennsylvania (July 29-31), finished in the top five in the CITGO Angler of the Year standings and won the 2005 Toyota Rookie of the Year award.
“This is all a blur,” Wolak said. “It hasn’t set in yet. I thank my wife for really supporting me through all of this.”
Don’t let the rookie status on the tour fool you, though. Wolak has proved he can hang with the older and more experienced anglers on the Tour, as evidenced by his achievements thus far. The Rookie of the Year award will allow Wolak to fish in the Elite-50s.
2005 Toyota Horizon Award
Well known pro and lure manufacturer Gary Yamamoto earned the 2005 Toyota Horizon Award, awarded to the most improved angler on Tour. The award is based on his improvement in the CITGO Angler of the Year standings from 2004 to 2005. Yamamoto finished in 36th place in the 2005 Angler of the Year standings, a 115 place improvement from 2004.
“It’s hard to admit that I did so poorly last year,” Yamamoto said. “But this award shows how well I can do when I focus.”
BASS: Bigger, Better, Bolder in 2006
BASS has announced exciting and expansive changes to its tournament programs for the 2006 CITGO Bassmaster Tournament Trail. The CITGO Bassmaster Tour will expand from six to 11 events, the popular Elite 50 Series will become three individual major events and fishing’s most prestigious event, the CITGO Bassmaster Classic, will move from its traditional summertime setting to kickoff the BASS season in late February or early March. BASS will also dramatically increase its Classic prize purse from $700,000 to $1 million, including first-place prize money of $500,000. Each of the three majors will feature a first-place prize of $250,000.
“It’s all part of our plan to build the sport and bring the best possible value and experience to our fans, members, anglers and sponsors,” said BASS General Manager Don Rucks. “We’ve looked at this from each of those perspectives and are confident that the changes will be good for everyone concerned. We’re making the announcement now so our anglers will be aware of the qualifying process for the 2006 Classic.”
The expanded Tour season will begin in the weeks following the 2006 Classic and run through September rather than merely the late winter and early spring as in years past. A longer season with more events creates greater opportunity for BASS to increase awareness of the sport and its sponsors. It also means more opportunities for touring professionals to make a living on the demanding CITGO Bassmaster Tour.
The 2006 Classic field will be comprised of 42 anglers, as follows:
- CITGO Bassmaster Angler of the Year
- Top 10 finishers from the 2005 Classic
- Top 10 anglers from the 2005 Bassmaster Elite 50 Series
- Top 5 anglers from the 2005 CITGO Bassmaster Open Championship
- 6 BASS Federation regional champions (up from 5 qualifiers to reflect addition of one division for 2005 season)
-Top angler from the ESPN Outdoors Bassmaster Series championship
The remainder of the field will be selected from the top-ranked pros on the CITGO Bassmaster Tour. In the event of double qualifiers, BASS will invite the top-ranked anglers from the 2005 CITGO Bassmaster Tour points standings who are not otherwise qualified. The 2005 Angler of the Year will be doubly rewarded with an automatic berth in both the 2005 and 2006 Classics.
Did You Know?
The following data comes from the American Sportfishing Association's Today's Angler Report:
* 15.6 million bass anglers in the U.S.
* 80.5% of the bass anglers are male
* 69.5% of bass anglers are married
* The average annual HHI for a bass angler is $54,392
* 25.5% of bass anglers have completed 4+ years of college
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 Bassmaster Elite 50 Series 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 the Chamber of Commerce of Walker County.
For more information, contact BASS Communications at (334) 551-2375 or visit www.bassmaster.com.