Best in the west size up FPT Classic event

OROVILLE, Ca. – It is for sure that all eyes will be focused this weekend on Lake Oroville as the fifth Future Pro Tour Classic championship event, hosted by the Gold Country Hotel and Casino in Oroville California, will see new champions crowned in an event that will be hard fought - and anyone's to win.

And while this luxury hotel (which is sold out for the weekend) will be buzzing with the excitement brought in by guests trying their luck at the various gaming tables available in the expansive establishment, you can best believe that the anglers lucky enough to have earned a berth in this year's championship will be betting on a different set of odds, summoning the favors of “Lady Luck” to shine on them in a different way. For at stake in this game are the keys to a brand new fully-rigged Ranger 188vs powered by an Evinrude E-Tec outboard motor worth $35,000, and the prestige of capturing a Future Pro Tour Classic championship title.

You can rest assured that there will be the predictable “dock talk”, and guys with enough secret baits and special “honey holes” to fill a craps table, but speculation and voodoo baits won't cut it this weekend or be nearly enough to help this field of anglers deal with a lake that is still in the grips of summer like conditions. Reports from those pre-fishing the lake indicate that the bite is tough, and fish are scattered, with most suspended and chasing bait, making themselves an elusive target for anglers trying to lock onto a decent pattern. Add to this, that lake levels are dropping at a rate of about a foot a day, and you can see why many are calling on the powers of “Lady Luck” to get them through.

But distractions, and tough conditions, in all of its forms are part of the game, and a critical piece of the training puzzle necessary for the successful grooming of these anglers and their aspirations of someday moving up to pro-level competition. “Pressure is a good thing for these Future Pro Tour anglers as it relates to their growth in this sport”, commented Ranger Pro Ish Monroe, a 5-time Bassmaster Classic qualifier, and 2-time B.A.S.S National Champion. Distractions during competition are part of the game and an important factor in how you will perform when money is on the line, and this Tour does an excellent job of providing that type of environment for “grass roots” anglers”.

The FPT Classic clebration will kick-off this Friday at the Gold Country Casino, beginning with a cocktail mixer where Classic qualifiers can meet and mingle with many of the FPT sponsors that will be in attendance such as Ranger Boats, Minnkota/Humminbird, Battery Systems, Lamiglas, Lucky Craft and many more. This will be followed by a delicious banquet featuring outstanding cuisine, awards recognition ceremonies, and words of encouragement by guest speakers such as Ranger/Mercury pro, Jeff Huth, 2-time B.A.S.S champion Ish Monroe, and the west's all-time money winner Gary Dobyns.

Also at during this time we will hold a drawing for a complete IBANEZ tm Electric Guitar package complete with amps, cables and music lessons, worth over $1,000 and provided by Skip's Music. All “Future” Future Pro anglers that fished any 2007 Tour event will be eligible, as for every FPT event they entered this year they will one ticket into the drawing. The winner will be announced at the Classic celebration and posted on the FPT website on Nov 12th . As the days to the FPT Classic event draw near, and each teams strategy is drawn, re-drawn and finalized, it is for sure that the entire west will be waiting anxiously to see which one of these competitive teams rise or fall from the pressure, and who will have the ability to stay focused, execute, and perhaps keep “Lady Luck” on their side to take home the prestigious Future Pro Tour Classic title and be crowned the title of best amateur team in the west.

“Best in the west” size up Classic event

As amateur anglers new to tournament fishing, we are constantly amazed at the amount of variables that must be calculated into a game plan if one is to be successful on a consistent basis. To this end, we find it extremely helpful when we are able to obtain perspectives from some of the pro-level anglers we have long admired over the years for their angling prowess and time in the game.

And as we prepare to host the upcoming FPT Classic event, we were fortunate enough to talk to some of the west's top bass pros who supporting the Future Pro Tour and it's anglers, gave their perspectives on the challenges that lie ahead for those preparing to compete in one of the most important events of the year for amateur level anglers:

Billy Townsend – Ranger/Evinrude/Humminbird Pro – Multi Pro/Am champion

“I see this Classic being wide open for those that can catch fish under adverse conditions – conditions such as suspended fish, and rapidly falling water. Anglers with experience fishing for spotted bass in the fall on lakes like Shasta will be more at ease with these prevailing conditions. Look for guys like Chris Fancelli and Jeff Pyles, who are Shasta locals, to do well in this event”.

Bobby Barrack – aka ‘the Frog Master” – Multi Pro/Am champion

“This event will come down to a battle of concentration. That is, who can focus on the task at hand and make every cast and hook set count. Big events where money and braggin' rights are at stake, can often make you overthink a situation, doubt your abilities, and lose concentration. Often times you won't get a second chance to correct a mistake…FOCUS is the key”.

Dave Rush – Triton/Humminbird pro-staff – 4-time Angler of the Year

“Catch a limit… then go for the big ones would be my approach to this event. Points don't count in this one guys. You are fishing for a new boat and the FPT Classic title, so keep your eyes on the prize and not how impressive you think you will look at weigh in because you caught a limit of bass”.

Skeet Reese – Lucky Craft/Lamiglas pro staff – 2007 B.A.S.S Angler of the Year

“My best advice for those fishing this FPT Classic event is to not let yourself give up if the going gets tough and you don't get on the fish you thought you had going in practice. If things don't seem to being going your way….don't lose your courage. Take a short break, regroup, and think through your situation. Sometimes taking a step back can help you get back on track and put you right back in the game”

Mike Tuck – Ranger Pro/Hydrate 2o pro-staff – Multi Pro/Am champion

“Do your homework for this event guys. I'm a big believer in pre-fishing and sizing up a venue. Don't get me wrong…every now and then you can “luck” up on a good bite, but it is far better to have a well-prepared game plan so that you have multiple patterns to fall back on if you need to. Put your practice time in on the water and it will serve you well”.

Andy “Cooch” Cuccia – Top guide, Yamamoto pro-staff

“Those of you that are a bit intimidated by deep water fishing…don't be! Remember bass are bass. If you take the time to figure out what they eat and where they should be, you should have no problem catching them on Oroville. My favorite body of water is the California Delta, throwing jigs. And when I have to fish Oroville in major competition, I have had great success simply by scaling down my jig sizes, adjusting to the proper color, and putting the bait where the fish live.

Jeff Huth – Ranger/Mercury pro-staff

“For you guys that qualified via the central valley region, and have never seen Lake Oroville , keep in mind that it could be a huge advantage for you in that you will have no pre-conceived notions about where the fish are or how good the fishing used to be. Apply the sound, basic fishing principles you know, and you just may be surprised at your success in this Classic event. Last year, two central valley anglers that had never seen Clearlake came real close to winning it all at the 2006 FPT Classic.”

Gary Dobyns – Ranger/Evinrude pro-staff – west's all-time money winner

“The FPT Classic is basically a winner-take-all event, with a boat and a prestigious amateur championship title on the line. So you know what my philosophy is…Don't Fish Chicken”! Go out there to win. Do your best and give it all you have. A don't forget about good sportsmanship. It is important, at this stage in your angling careers, to not adopt bad habits such as encroaching on others, and other things that may compromise your integrity or give the sport a bad image. We all want to win…but win or lose, we need to remember that it is important to do it so with a display of good sportsmanship”.

Jimmy Reese – Ranger/Mercury pro-staff – FLW/Stren Angler of the Year

“The Future Pro Tour Classic is a fantastic opportunity to compete on a big stage against some of the best amateur level anglers in the west. Everyone made it to this event because they did well throughout the year, so you do have your work cut out for you. My advice would be to not get stuck on a pattern that's not working for you after you have been at it for a reasonable period of time. Don't be afraid to change up if you need to. Think out of the box, and do something different - if that's what it takes. Sometimes the smallest change can be the difference between winning a championship and long, long drive home”.

Ish Monroe – Ranger/Yamaha pro-staff – 2 times B.A.S.S Champion

“What I think will make the difference between success and failure for teams in this Classic event will be their ability – or inability, to work together. In a team event, there should be no “I's”. Only a concerted effort to play on each other's strengths and achieve the common goal of taking home the Future Pro Tour Classic title. If one team member is “on em” and the other is not…be the best “net man” you can be so you can both equally share the fruits of victory”.

Vince Harris
President/Director, Future Pro Tour Tournament Trails

3117 Merrywood Dr.
Sacramento Ca, 95825