Competitors qualify by catching the heaviest bag each day during certain events on the CITGO Bassmaster Tournament Trail presented by Busch Beer. The angler with the heaviest bag of each day earns the $1,000 Busch Heavyweight award, and if their weight is in the top 10 from the CITGO Bassmaster Tour and the Bassmaster Elite 50 series, they will also qualify for the Shootout. Currently, there are four anglers who are locked into the tournament. Arizona’s John Murray was the first to get in by catching the largest single-day sack in last December’s CITGO Bassmaster Open Championship, with Iowa’s Thad Takes bringing in the big bag in the CITGO BASS Federation Championship.
They will be joined by the angler who brings in the largest catch of the CITGO Bassmaster Classic presented by Busch Beer. The final 10 spots will be made up of the top 10 from the CITGO Bassmaster Tour and Bassmaster Elite 50 series, including Texans Kelly Jordon and Mark Rogers, who currently hold the top two spots on the Heavyweight leader board and, because just eight competition days remain, cannot be bumped out of the field. The competition will be rounded out by the eight anglers who remain on the leader board following the conclusion of the Elite 50 series.
Texas pro Ben Matsubu is presently hanging on to the last spot in the top 10 with a single-day catch of 23 pounds and 10 ounces. With only two events left, Matsubu is starting to feel the heat.
“All the veterans are saying that getting over 23 pounds won’t happen,” Matsubu said. “I don’t know, though. I saw (John) Murray catch almost 20 pounds in Alabama last year, so it could happen.
“This is, really, a pretty neat deal to me. I am really just happy to be here and I really want to get in. Anytime you have a chance to fish for $100,000 against 13 guys, in only one day, those are pretty good odds.”
Anglers are also starting to wonder what the mystery lake will entail. Officials from BASS and Busch Beer have been very tight-lipped about the location of the event, which is starting to spur all sorts of ideas with the anglers.
“I haven’t heard anything,” said Kelly Jordon. “No rumors or anything. We were all asking about it at the last tournament, 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.”
The Busch Shootout Tournament will be telecast Saturday, Sept. 25 at 10:30 ET/9:30 CT on ESPN2.
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 Bassmaster Tournament Trail presented by Busch Beer include CITGO Petroleum Corp., Busch Beer, Purolator, Triton Boats, Skeeter Boats, Mercury Marine, Yamaha Outboards, Berkley, Abu Garcia, Lowrance Electronics, Flowmaster Exhaust Systems, MotorGuide, Bass Pro Shops, and BankOne.
Associate Sponsors include G3 Boats.
For more information, contact BASS Communications at (334) 551-2375 or visit www.bassmaster.com.