GUTIERREZ OPENS UP HUGE LEAD AT CLEAR LAKE

LAKEPORT, Calif. – Greg Gutierrez of Red Bluff, Calif., opened up a sizable 10-pound plus lead at the Bassmaster Elite Series “Golden State Shootout presented by Evan Williams Bourbon” over Texan Kelly Jordon after posting his second consecutive five-fish limit of more than 30 pounds on California’s Clear Lake.

The 45-year-old Gutierrez caught 33 pounds, 13 ounces Friday and his two-day total of 66 pounds, 10 ounces puts him well on pace to break the four-day BASS tournament record for heaviest catch held by Florida’s Preston Clark with 115 pounds, 15 ounces. Clark achieved the record on South Carolina’s Santee Cooper Reservoir in an Elite Series tournament in April of 2006.

Fishing fans can see all of the on-the-water from the third Elite event of the season and if Gutierrez shatters the record Saturday, April 7 on ESPN2 at 9 a.m. ET. The field was cut to the top 50 anglers after Friday who will compete for a top prize of $100,000.

“I had a fantastic day today once again,” said Gutierrez. “From what I’m seeing, the weights should only get better over the next few days. I’m not really that focused on breaking the record, I just want to win this tournament.”

The three-time Classic qualifier said that he is throwing swimbaits and jigs to isolated rock piles on flats and will use the same pattern Saturday.

Gutierrez works as a full-time firefighter when he is not traveling to the 11 Bassmaster Elite Series events staged from March to September. If Gutierrez can hold on to his lead, he will score his second BASS victory. His first victory occurred on Lake Shasta in 2004.

Jordon poses the closest treat to Gutierrez and the five-time Bassmaster Classic qualifier moved up 25 places after an incredible 32-pound, 8-ounce limit. The Mineola, Texas, pro last won the “Capitol Clash” on the Potomac River in August of 2006 and is chasing his fifth BASS win.

“I had all of my weight by 9:30 this morning,” said Jordon, who kept details of his pattern close to the vest. “I’m covering a lot of water, and I am in the neighborhood of a lot of big fish. I just have to keep moving around and search for those big bites.”

Rounding out the top five were Skeet Reese of Auburn, Calif., in third with 54 pounds, 5 ounces; Peter Thliveros of Jacksonville, Fla., in fourth with 54 pounds, 2 ounces; and Ish Monroe of Hughson, Calif., who slipped to fifth place with 53 pounds, 0 ounces. The top 12 Elite pros will qualify to fish Sunday, the final day of competition.

Notable anglers qualifying for the top 50 cut were three-time Toyota Tundra Bassmaster Angler of the Year Kevin VanDam, who tied for sixth with 52 pounds, 6 ounces; 2007 Bassmaster Classic champion Boyd Duckett in eighth with 51 pounds, 11 ounces; and “Duel on the Delta presented by Mahindra Tractors” champion Aaron Martens tied for 30th with 46 pounds, 4 ounces.

Leading the co-angler division was Jim White of Westlake Village, Calif, who posted a 33-pound, 8-ounce limit for a two-day total of 56 pounds, 9 ounces, to move up one spot in the standings. Trailing were Bob Myskey of Nice, Calif, in second with 45 pounds, 14 ounces and Ron Tyson of Marietta, Ga., in third with 43 pounds, 8 ounces.

The champion co-angler takes home a Triton/Mercury boat rig valued at $25,000 and $1,000 in cash. The co-angler division competition will end Saturday.

Weigh-ins of the third day of the “Golden State Shootout presented by Evan Williams Bourbon” will begin Saturday from Lakeport’s Library Park at 3:00 p.m. PT and can be viewed at www.espnoutdoors.com.

BASS is the worldwide authority on bass fishing, sanctioning more than 20,000 events through the BASS Federation Nation 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.

stages bass fishing tournaments for every skill level and culminates with the 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 530,000 members. The organization is headquartered in Celebration, Fla.

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