What’s at stake: $324,650 in cash to the top 60 pro anglers and valuable points towards qualifying in the CITGO Bassmaster Classic and CITGO Bassmaster Elite Series. The top 50 co-anglers will compete for $68,800 in prizes. This is the final event of the Southern Tour and the top three in points will qualify for the 2007 Classic.

The Pros Said It

“Most of the fish are suspended in 25 to 30 feet of water and they’re not biting. The thing to do is cover a lot of water. The locals have a distinct advantage on this fishery as they know where all of the structure is. It’s a tough time of year, but when the fish want to bite, they are aggressive and you can take advantage of that.”– Terry Scroggins, 37, Palatka, Fla., three-time CITGO Bassmaster Classic qualifier and current CITGO Bassmaster Southern Tour points leader.

“The lake is down 8 or 9 feet and the bass are going for the natural cover. I’m getting bit pretty well, but the fish are roaming. You really have to hustle and fish a pattern and not concentrate on spots. I do that pretty well on impoundments.” – Tom Hamlin, 50, Lizella, Ga., 2003 CITGO Bassmaster Classic qualifier.

“It’s been pretty tough and the bites are hit or miss. I can pull three or four out at one spot or just get one. I’ve got to find as many isolated places of cover as I can. I’ve had an incredibly difficult practice. The lake is full of fish and spotted bass, they’re just hard to locate right now.” – Cliff Pace, 26, Petal, Miss., 2005 CITGO Bassmaster Classic qualifier.

“Since the lake is so low, the fish are scattered and are looking for cover and deep rocky banks with current. In the south end, spinner baits work pretty well when the wind is blowing.” – Jason Densmore, 30, Cumming, Ga.

The Strategy

Scroggins: The CITGO Bassmaster Elite Series angler plans to target schooling fish in deep water in the morning and switch tactics in the afternoon- fishing docks the rest of the day. He plans to throw a drop-shot rig and a Zoom finesse worm to entice keeper-sized bass.

Hamlin: Hamlin plans to fish deep water with a drop shot rig and a variety of plastics. He’s fishing mid-lake to lower-lake and targeting spotted bass. Hamlin says it’s a tough bite, but he’s confident in his strategy. He predicts that 13 pounds a day will be a strong showing in this tournament.

Pace: Pace plans to fish both shallow and deep water and his decision on where to spend the majority of his time will depend on weather. He said that typically the heavy cloud cover in the morning produces a shallow bite but when the sun comes out, the Mississippi angler will look for the fish to move into deeper water. He has 15 rods prepared and is using a variety of lures.

Densmore: The homestate angler plans to travel north into the rivers for cooler water in the morning. He will use a homemade jig, a variety of soft plastics and a Gambler Flapp’n Shad. He predicts 12 to 15 pound daily average will make the cut.

Local Sponsors: Local sponsors include the Gainesville-Hall County Convention and Visitors Bureau.

Sponsors of the Bassmaster Northern and Southern Tours include CITGO Petroleum Corp., Toyota, Busch Beer, Purolator, Triton Boats, Mercury Marine, Berkley, Lowrance Electronics and Motorguide.

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.

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