Former Classic Champion Wins Northern Open on Hudson River

CATSKILL, N.Y. – Heading into the final day of competition, former world champion bass angler Woo Daves was 2 pounds, 4 ounces from the leader’s spot at the CITGO Bassmaster Northern Open presented by Busch Beer. So he went treasure hunting for the winning bass in the wreckage of a long-sunk Hudson River barge.

“The competition out here is really fierce and when you’re 2 or 3 pounds behind on a tidal river, it’s pretty hard to make up sometimes,” he said at Saturday’s weigh-in.

But Woo more than made it up, boating two largemouth bass and one smallmouth that weighed 8-3 and launched him into the winner’s berth at the second tournament of the three-event Northern Open series. Daves said his secret weapon was a Zoom Ultravibe Craw in green pumpkin, heavily sprayed with Jack’s Juice. During the early rounds, he also depended on a green pumpkin Zoom tube and a Bagley Killer’B.

Now he has his eye on a qualifying berth in the CITGO Bassmaster Open Championship presented by Busch Beer. Twenty spots in the championship will be awarded to the top anglers in the boater and non-boater divisions after the final Northern Open competition, slated for Oct. 14-16 at Virginia’s Smith Mountain Lake. The top five boaters at the Open Championship will qualify for bass fishing’s world championship, the CITGO Bassmaster Classic presented by Busch Beer.

Woo liked the $50,000 winner’s purse and likes his chances at the Open Championship even more.

“I’m not a spring chicken, but I’ve won three tournaments since I turned 55, so that’s not too bad,” he said. “The main thing is to get points to make the championship to get the chance to make the Bassmaster Classic.”

On his way to victory, Daves unseated New Jersey’s Pete Gluszek and Pennsylvania’s Dave Wolak, who swapped the first- and second-place spots during the tournament’s early rounds. Gluszek finished seventh overall, and Wolak earned the fourth-place spot. The rest of the top five boaters included New York’s Bill Alexander, 31-1; Wolak, 28-10; Connecticut angler Terry Baksay, 29-8; and Virginia’s Tony Black, 28-6.

Although he finished seventh, Gluszek picked up a bonus on Saturday, when his 6-1 lunker from day one earned the Purolator Big Bass of the Tournament award, a $1,000 prize for the biggest bass caught by any competitor throughout the competition. The $1,000 Purolator Big Bass of the Day on Saturday was a 4-15 catch that yielded to A.E. “Red” Moore of North Carolina. The non-boaters’ $400 Purolator Big Bass of the Day went to a 3-10 bass caught by Robert Kowitski of New Jersey.

On the non-boater side, baseball coach Bill Sanders of Maryland earned the $24,000 top prize. Although Sanders fished from the back of a different boater’s boat during each competition day, he led wire-to-wire thanks to one very important secret.

“I used eight different lures in this tournament,” he said. “I think versatility was key here. My partners all thought I was crazy.”

For Sanders, it was the first tournament win after more than a decade of bass competitions.

“You know, the (non-boaters’ top-prize) boat’s going to come and go, but this,” he said, tapping his trophy, “I’m going to look at this when I’m 70.”

The tournament’s top five non-boaters included Sanders, 18-2; New Jersey’s Robert Kowitski, 17-9; Maryland’s Jim Kline, 15-6; Bryan Moeller of South Carolina, 14-10; and New Yorker Steven Bunt, 13-13.

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 Northern Open 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 Greene County Tourism Promotion Office.

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