‘Greatest Angler’ Rick Clunn to compete in 2005 U.S. Open

LAS VEGAS—Rick Clunn of Ava, Missou., winner of the ESPN Greatest Angler Debate, has joined the field for the 2005 U.S. Open bass tournament to be held at Lake Mead, Sept. 15-21. The title of Greatest Angler was secured by a vote of a panel of writers and finally by a national ballot by the bass fishing public.

Clunn, a two-time former winner of the U.S. Open, joins 2005 B.A.S.S. Angler of the Year Aaron Martens of Leeds, Ala. (and formerly of Castaic, Calif.) in a stellar field that includes five other former winners plus some of the West’s legendary anglers.

Martens, the defending U.S. Open champion, forged an early lead last September under mild 102 degree temperatures in the Nevada desert, then held off Brent Ehrler of Redlands, California, winner of the 2004 Everstart National Championship on Lake Cumberland in Kentucky.

Other former winners’s in this year’s tournament featuring three competition days, (Monday through Wednesday, Sept. 19-21) are Mike Folkestad of Yorba Linda, a 3-time former U.S. Open champion and 2-time Bassmasters Classic qualifier, as well as Arizona’s John Murray, a 2-time former Open winner.

Also competing are 1994 champion Kevin Wiggins of Las Vegas, John Kerr the 2003 winner from Ramona, Calif. and Rich Tauber of Camarillo, winner of the 1982 event.

Other noteworthy western contenders include all-time western money winner Gary Dobyns of Yuba City and the legendary Don Iovino of Burbank, author of the book “Finesse Bass Fishing & the Sonar Connection.”

The tournament, held out of Callville Bay on Lake Mead, features a $115,000 top prize including $50,000 in cash, plus a fully rigged, Mercury-powered Ranger bass boat and trailer, plus a Ford F150 Super Cab pickup.

The U.S. Open format features pro anglers paired with co-anglers (AAA’s) who can bring up to 5 bass per day, collectively, and which share in the boat’s total weight for the day.

New partner pairings are drawn each day and two prize structures are in effect. The winner of the AAA division wins a minimum $20,000 award of a fully rigged bass boat.

For entry information, contact host WON Bass at (949) 366-0030, ext. 38. To speak with the tournament director Bill Hutcheson, go to extension 29.