Competitors Lacking Familiarity, Coveted CITGO Bassmaster Central Open Win is Up for Grabs

What’s at stake: $322,021 in total prize money, plus 25 berths into the CITGO Bassmaster Open Championship. The top five boaters at the Open Championship will earn berths into the CITGO Bassmaster Classic, Feb. 24-26, on Lake Tohopekaliga in Kissimmee, Fla.

The Pros Said It

“The tournament should shape up real nice. It shouldn’t be a bangup, big-fish kind of tournament, which is always enjoyable. As always, a lot will depend on the weather and from what I hear, it should be clear skies, which might slow the fishing down. I will stick with my earlier prediction that 35 pounds should win it.” – 1995 CITGO Bassmaster Classic champion Mark Davis, 42, Mt. Ida, Ark.

“It’s tough out here, but I have seen a really nice variety of fish: smalls, large and spots. I figure if I get 10 pounds a day that would be really scary. The truth is, with a 15-inch minimum, there just might not be a whole lot of limits.” – 23-time CITGO Bassmaster Classic qualifier Gary Klein, 48, Weatherford, Texas

“I don’t have much experience here, but it fishes very typical of the surrounding waters. All of the fish are scattered and you can catch them just as good at one depth as another.” –Chad Brauer, 33, Osage Beach, Miss.

“I fished this lake a little while ago and it took me a few days to figure it out. I think I can win this thing if my areas hold up. The final two days that I was on the lake during my last visit, I caught 15 to 18 pounds a day. Hopefully, my areas will hold up.” – Three-time CITGO Bassmaster Classic qualifier Dave Gliebe, 62, Benton, Ky.

The Strategy

Davis: Davis is keeping it simple, mixing in a spinnerbait and occasionally throwing a ½-ounce brown jig.

Klein: Because he is unfamiliar with the lake, Klein is junk fishing, trying to get a feel for the area.

Brauer: Brauer will throw a brown jig, a spinner bait and a buzzbait throughout the day. He is using fairly light line in the 12- to 20-pound range. There is a variation of water color throughout the fishery and Brauer will tailor his strategy to the color in each location.

Gliebe: The well-known flipper is sticking with what he knows best: flipping jigs. Gliebe’s favorite is a Rodstrainer jig, but he’s also is mixing in a buzzbait, targeting bass in water 20 to 40 feet deep. He is using Berkley Sensation line.

Location and Field CITGO Bassmaster Central Open Norfork Lake Mountain Home, Ark. Oct.13-15, 2005

Field Cut to 50 after Day 2

Launch Lake Norfork Marina 19 CR 825 Henderson, Ark. 75653

Weigh-in Lake Norfork Marina 19 CR 825 Henderson, Ark. 75653

Background Previous BASS events No previous tournaments held on Norfork Lake

Previous winners on lake No previous tournaments held on Norfork Lake

Heaviest winning sack No previous tournaments held on Norfork Lake

Lowest winning sack No previous tournaments held on Norfork Lake

Weather Temperature 64 degrees, partly cloudy

Lake level 542.4 ft. above mean sea level

CITGO Bassmaster Central Open Points Leaders

1 Terry Butcher Okla. 305 2 Jeff Kriet Okla. 295 3 Jeff Buchanan Texas 290 4 Gilbert Coats Texas 285 5 Tommy Martin Texas 280 6 Randy Dearman Texas 276 7 Neal Gilmore Texas 273 8 Paul Elias Miss. 272 9 Jeff Magee Miss. 264 10 Tony Chachere La. 260

CITGO Bassmaster Open Central Open Division May 5-7 Sam Rayburn Jasper, Texas Oct. 13-15 Norfork Lake Mountain Home, Ark. Nov. 10-12 Red River Natchitoches , La.

Northern Open Division July 14-16 Lake Erie Sandusky, Ohio Aug. 11-13 Lake Champlain Plattsburgh, NY. Sept. 15-17 Oneida Lake Syracuse, NY

Southern Open Division June 23-25 West Point Lake Lanett, Ala. Sept. 22-24 Lake Guntersville Guntersville, Ala. Oct. 27-29 Lake Tohopekliga Kissimmee, Fla.

Western Open Division May 26-28 California Delta Waterway Bethel Island, Calif. Oct. 13-15 Clear Lake Lakeport, Calif. Nov. 17-19 Lake Shasta Shasta Lake, Calif.

Local sponsors: Local sponsors include the Mountain Home Area Chamber of Commerce.

Bassmaster Open Series sponsors: CITGO Petroleum Corp., Toyota, Busch Beer, Purolator, Triton Boats, Mercury Marine, Berkley, Lowrance Electronics, MotorGuide, Bass Pro Shops and Cialis (tadalafil).

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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.

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