Amistad Produces Big Bags at the ‘Battle on the Border Presented by Mercury Marine’

DEL RIO, Texas — After months of anticipation, 106 of the world’s top professional anglers launched the CITGO Bassmaster Elite Series with the “Battle on the Border Presented by Mercury Marine” on Lake Amistad, dubbed the No. 1 bass fishery in the nation, according to ESPN2’s BassCenter.

Those who couldn’t attend in person can catch the Battle on the Border - the first in an 11-event, $7.4 million tournament series - on ESPN2’s The CITGO Bassmasters on Saturday, March 18, at 10 a.m. ET.

Anglers fought high winds and choppy waters to bring in nearly 20 sacks weighing more than 25 pounds. Several pros reported breaking their personal best records in a BASS event as well.

Six-time BASS tournament winner Ken Cook of Meers, Okla., who is ranked 73rd on the Bassmaster Elite Series Power Index, brought in a five-fish limit weighing 31 pounds, 10 ounces Thursday, securing the Day 1 lead by two ounces.

“This is the biggest bag I’ve weighed in at a BASS tournament,” said Cook. “I felt confident in practice, but to take the lead is just awesome.”

Cook threw a swimbait in shallow flats and keyed in on schooling fish. He caught all of his fish in two 50-yard stretches, which he will seek out again on Friday. Cook’s sack also was the BUSCH Heavyweight of the Day, earning him a $1,000 bonus. If it remains one of the 10 heaviest in Elite Series season, he will qualify for the BUSCH Shootout later in the year.

Matt Reed, 43, of Madisonville, Texas, was in second place with 31-8. The one-time CITGO Bassmaster Classic qualifier, who is ranked 22nd on the Power Index, focused on sight fishing and threw both spinnerbaits and Senkos.

“I am having a blast,” said Reed. “I fished my area today harder than I would have because of the wind. But, I am happy. The wind didn’t hurt me; it just made me change location.”

Currently ranked 53rd on the Power Index, Pete Ponds of Madison, Miss., was in third with 31 pounds, 7 ounces. He said the sack – which included a 10-5 largemouth that earned him the Purolator Big Bass bonus of $1,000 - was the largest he has ever caught in a BASS tournament.

Rounding out the top five were Terry Segraves of Kissimmee, Fla., with 30-6 and Michael Iaconelli of Runnemede, N.J., with 30-5.

In the co-angler division, Texans led the race. Allan Chandler of Cat Spring is in first with a three-fish limit of 14-2. He was followed by Houston’s Mark Wright with 13-15 in second and Gordon Karstedt of Pearland with 13-10 in third.

Day 1 Purolator Big Bass Pro
Pete Ponds, 10-5, Madison, Wis.

Day 1 Purolator Big Bass Co-Angler
Albert Hudson, 7-14, Austin, Texas

Day 1 Busch Heavyweight
Ken Cook, 31-10, Lawton, Okla.

Location and Field
Battle on the Border – CITGO Bassmaster Elite Series
Lake Amistad
Del Rio, Texas
March 9-12

106 pros, 106 co-anglers
Cut to top 50 after Day 2
Cut to top 12 pro anglers after Day 3

Diablo East Marina
Hwy. 90 West
Del Rio, Texas 78841
6:30 a.m.

Diablo East Marina
Hwy. 90 West
Del Rio, Texas 78841
3 p.m.

Local sponsors: Local sponsors include the Del Rio Chamber of Commerce.

CITGO Bassmaster Elite Series sponsors: Sponsors of the CITGO Bassmaster Elite Series include CITGO Petroleum Corp., Toyota, Busch Beer, Purolator, Triton Boats, Mercury Marine, Berkley, Lowrance Electronics, MotorGuide, Advanced Auto Parts and Theraseed®.

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 www.bassmaster.com.