First-Time Classic Qualifier Ready to Go

Waking up on the morning of your first CITGO Bassmaster Classic presented by Busch Beer must be a mind-boggling experience . especially if you were the last person to get into the world championship event.

Texas pro Ben Matsubu, however, seemed calm. He sat cordially with Bassmaster Senior Writer Steve Price and discussed his day job as a store manager for Gary Yammamoto's Yammamoto Custom Baits.

"Man," Matsubu exclaimed, as he took a bite of his country ham. "Is this ham salty to you? I can't eat this."

Matsubu made the 34th Classic by finishing high enough in the CITGO Bassmaster Tour points, after the Bassmaster Elite 50 series crossover qualifiers were eliminated from the Tour list.

"I'm ready," he said. "I really am ready."

"Yesterday was probably the longest day of the week." Matsubu added. "It was good, but with the family day and the media day and then the Expo, I was really tired. I was at the Expo until the end, about 9 o'clock. It was a long day."

The long day didn't affect him as much as he thought it might. But depending on his performance on Day 1, he may not be as rested for Saturday.

"It's like any other tournament," he said. "If you do well, you can't sleep the next day; if you don't you'll have no problem. I hope I don't sleep as well tonight."

Fifty-two other anglers were hoping for the same as they took to the water on Day 1 of the Classic.

Launch is daily at 6 a.m. and takes place at the Buster Boyd Access Area off of Highway 49. Weigh-ins begin at 2:30 at Charlotte Coliseum. Shuttles to the Coliseum are available at the Charlotte Convention Center, from 9:30 a.m. to 8:30 p.m.

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

Local Sponsors include the Charlotte Regional Sports Commission, Visit Charlotte, the Auditorium-Coliseum-Convention Center Authority, the Rock Hill Sports and Tourism Council and Time Warner Cable.

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