CELEBRATION, Fla. – The full field is now set for professional bass fishing’s richest and most prestigious event, the 36th CITGO Bassmaster Classic, scheduled for Feb. 24-26 on Lake Tohopekaliga in Kissimmee, Fla.

Fifty-one of the world’s top bass anglers have earned their way into the Bassmaster Classic and will fish for a record $500,000 first prize, a piece of the $1.2 million total payout. Most of the anglers qualified for the event based on their stellar performance in the 2005 BASS season, including in the Bassmaster Elite 50 Series and the CITGO Bassmaster Tour, as well as in the 2005 CITGO Bassmaster Classic.

The 2005 CITGO Bassmaster Angler of the Year, Aaron Martens of Alabama, automatically qualified, as did the top five finishers in the 2005 CITGO Bassmaster Open Championship, held in December.

Seven bass anglers earned Classic spots through competitions that culminated this month, including six anglers from the BASS Federation Championship tournament in Leesburg, Fla., and Jeff Coble of North Carolina, who won the ESPN Outdoors Basmaster Series Championship tournament in Kissimmee last weekend, clinching the final spot.

“This group of anglers will write another page in BASS’ prestigious history,” said Don Rucks, vice president and general manager of BASS. “They will fish the first CITGO Bassmaster Classic held during the early spring instead of the summer on an amazing fishery that should produce spectacular catches.”

Under BASS rules, Lake Toho is off-limits to Bassmaster Classic participants until the three-day scouting period Feb. 14-16. After that, anglers will again have to stay away from the fishery until the official practice day on Wednesday, Feb. 22. Competition begins Friday, Feb. 24, when the tournament launches at 6:30 a.m. at Kissimmee’s Lake Front Park.

The daily Bassmaster Classic festivities, featuring the weigh-in of the 51 competitors, will begin at 2:30 p.m. on Friday at the Orange County Convention Center. A similar schedule for the anglers will be followed on Saturday, Feb. 25, as well as for the final day of competition on Sunday, Feb. 26.

The field of 51 anglers is:
1 Tommy Biffle Wagoner, Okla.
2 Chad Brauer Osage Beach, Mo.
3 Preston Clark Palatka, Fla.
4 Luke Clausen Spokane, Wash.
5 Rick Clunn Ava, Mo.
6 George Cochran Hot Springs , Ark.
7 Joe Conway Colorado Springs, Colo.
8 John Crews Salem, Va.
9 Anre’ de Villiers South Africa
10 Edwin Evers Mannsville, Okla.
11 Greg Gutierrez Red Bluff, Calif.
12 Greg Hackney Gonzales, La.
13 Davy Hite Ninety Six, S.C.
14 Tim Horton Muscle Shoals, Ala.
15 Randy Howell Springville, Ala.
16 Michael Iaconelli Runnemede, N.J.
17 Jimmy Johnson La Crosse, Wis.
18 James Kennedy Lacombe, La.
19 Stacey King Reeds Spring, Mo
. 20 Gary Klein Weatherford, Texas
21 Jeff Kriet Ardmore, Okla.
22 Aaron Martens Leeds, Ala.
23 Mike McClelland Bella Vista, Ark.
24 Mark Menendez Paducah, Ky.
25 Jimmy Mize Ben Lomond, Ark.
26 Ish Monroe Hughson, Calif.
27 Andre Moore Scottsdale, Ariz.
28 Chad Morgenthaler Carbondale, Ill.
29 Rick Morris Lanexa, Va.
30 Larry Nixon Bee Branch, Ark.
31 Skeet Reese Auburn, Calif.
32 Jeff Reynolds Idabel, Okla.
33 Mike Reynolds Modesto, Calif.
34 Dean Rojas Lake Havasu, Ariz.
35 Scott Rook Little Rock , Ark.
36 Zell Rowland Montgomery, Texas
37 Joel St. Germain Cumberland, R.I.
38 Terry Scroggins Palatka, Fla.
39 Ron Shuffield Bismarck, Ark.
40 Brian Snowden Reeds Spring, Mo.
41 Bob Soley Trenton, NJ
42 Marty Stone Linden, N.C.
43 Gerald Swindle Hayden, Ala.
44 Mark Tucker Saint Louis, Mo.
45 Kevin VanDam Kalamazoo, Mich.
46 David Walker Sevierville, Tenn.
47 Kevin Wirth Crestwood, Ky.
48 Dave Wolak Warrior Run, Pa.
49 Mike Wurm Hot Springs, Ark.
50 Jay Yelas Tyler, Texas
51 Jeff Coble Manson, N.C.

The 2006 CITGO Bassmaster Classic will be hosted by the Kissimmee Convention & Visitors Bureau and the Central Florida Sports Commission.

BASS is the worldwide authority on bass fishing, sanctioning more than 20,000 events through the BASS Federation annually. Guided by its mission to serve all fishing fans, BASS sets the standard for credibility, professionalism, sportsmanship and conservation, as it has for nearly 40 years.

BASS stages bass fishing tournaments for every skill level and culminates with the CITGO Bassmaster Classic. Through its clubs, youth programs, aquatic resource advocacy, magazine publishing and multimedia platforms, BASS offers the industry’s widest array of services and support to its nearly 550,000 members. The organization is headquartered in Celebration, Fla.

For more information, contact BASS Communications at (407) 566-2208 or visit