MANY, La. – The top 12 boaters covered a lot of water on Toledo Bend Wednesday and brought in quite a few fish for day three of the CITGO Bassmaster Open Championship presented by Busch Beer. The leader going in, Missouri's Rick Clunn, fell to 4th position, while John Murray, of Arizona, climbed atop the leader board with a total weight of 47 pounds.

Murray said he caught his first fish on a crankbait then switched to dropshotting in the late morning.

"It was a lucky day," said Murray, who finished second in the Western Open points race and has already qualified for the 2004 CITGO Bassmaster Classic presented by Busch Beer. "I can't explain it other than everything I did was right today, you know? This is just fun for me. I'm just going to go have fun tomorrow. I think I'm in the top five, so I'm just going to go fish and have fun tomorrow."

The top five anglers in the boater division will win $10,000 and all of their entry fees into the CITGO Bassmaster Tour presented by Busch Beer. The winner of the inaugural Open Championship will also earn a berth in the Classic, if he has not already qualified.

Texan Gary Klein, who has not qualified for the Classic, had a sack of bass weighing 12-3 that put him in second place with a 39-15 total. Klein, a longtime Bassmaster Tour pro, said the highly competitive field made him feel lucky to be in Sunday's Super Six.

"I'm a competitor," Klein said. "I always want to do good and today was a tough day for me. I only got five bites. I executed and I boated all five fish, so I was very fortunate in that manner."

Greg Hackney from Louisiana (38-7); Clunn (37-7); Stacy King out of Missouri (36-10); and Jack Wade from Tennessee (35-11) rounded out the Super Six.

The non-boaters' competition ended Saturday, and Connecticut's Ken Brodeur took home the top honors. Fishing weed line edges with a spinnerbait, Brodeur wound up with a three-day catch of 31-11 that allowed him to go home with $3,000 cash as well as free entry for the 2004 Open events.

"I don't want to go home," Brodeur said. "It's nice down here. Not only was the fishing spectacular, but the people and the weather are nice. I've had a good time the last week here"

"I'm going to fish the Northern Open in the pro division next year and give it a go. I've only been freshwater bass fishing for about four years now, so I'm going to get some more experience."

Joining Brodeur with paid entry fees and $3,000 cash were Arizona's Blaine Ruddy with 24-14; Texas' Vince Parello with 20-3; New Jersey's Christopher Oeser with 18-0; and Idaho's Tom Duarte with 17-2.

Sunday is the final day of the CITGO Bassmaster Open Championship presented by Busch Beer. Take-off is at Cypress Bend Park. Weigh-in begins at 3:00 p.m.

The CITGO Bassmaster Open Championship presented by Busch Beer will be telecast on ESPN2, Jan. 3, 2004.

BASS is the world's largest fishing organization, sanctioning more than 20,000 tournaments worldwide through its Federation. In 2004, BASS will introduce the all-new Bassmaster Elite 50 Series, a four-event, no-entry-fee circuit featuring a $1.6 million prize purse for the world's best anglers. The CITGO Bassmaster Tournament Trail presented by Busch Beer 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, Chevrolet Trucks, Yamaha Outboards, Mercury Marine, Skeeter Boats, Triton Boats, Lowrance Electronics, Flowmaster Exhaust Systems, Kumho Tires, Progressive Insurance, Abu Garcia, Berkley, Diamond Cut Jeans, MotorGuide Trolling Motors, and BankOne.

Associate Sponsors include Bryant Heating and Air Conditioning and G3 Boats.

Local Sponsors include the State of Louisiana and the Sabine River Authority.

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