RICHARDSON WINS FIRST EVENT OF WOMEN’S BASSMASTER TOUR

Co-Angler Bonnie Ward Reels in 1st Place Finish

GADSDEN, Ala. – It was a thrilling day of paramount achievements for anglers fishing the inaugural Mercury Marine Women’s Bassmaster Tour presented by Triton Boats. Professional angler Tammy Richardson of Amity, Ark., made history as she earned the first win of the five-event series with a three-day total of 33 pounds, 3 ounces. Coincidentally, Richardson’s Day 3 partner, Bonnie Ward, won the co-angler division with a three-day total of 18 pounds.

The duo took left nothing to chance on Saturday as Richardson finished more than three pounds ahead of second-place Sheri Glasgow of Muskogee, Okla., while Ward finished more than four pounds in front of runner-up co-angler Heather Sullivan of Sitka, Ark.

With their performances on Neely Henry Lake, Richardson won a Triton boat and Mercury Marine package valued at $50,000 and Ward was awarded a Triton boat and Mercury rig valued at $25,000.

“I didn’t expect my weight to hold while I was sitting there,” said Richardson, 34, who started the day in fifth place. “When it got closer and I realized I could win, I just got more nervous.”

Richardson brought in a five-fish limit of 14-3, the heaviest sack of the day. “I and my partner just had a great day,” she said. “I had my limit by 9 a.m. and the whole day just went really well for us.”

Richardson primarily targeted spotted bass using a green-pumpkin tube for the early morning bite and switched to a Senko after 9 a.m. She had 15 bites for the day. “I just can’t believe it,” said a still stunned Richardson.

Glasgow, meanwhile, brought in a limit totaling 9 pounds, 4 ounces and a three-day total of 30-1. “The fish were trying real hard to spawn,” said Glasgow. ”I threw out a floating worm everyday and they were short striking it.”

Glasgow flipped a Texas-rigged worm into grass edges. She sight-fished the first and third day, targeting bedding bass in shallow water 3 feet and less.

“I was really surprised we didn’t have bigger stringers,” she said. “This time of the year, you usually see more big fish shallow. I think what affected that were the storms and fluctuation of the water.

The top six women who fished the final day of the WBT weighed in on the CITGO Bassmaster Elite Series stage at Guntersville High School in Guntersville. The Elite Series is currently holding its four-day tournament, the Southern Challenge presented by Berkley, on Lake Guntersville. On Saturday, Michael Iaconelli of New Jersey was leading that tournament with 56-10.

“It’s very exciting to see the large crowd at the weigh-in and I’m thankful to BASS and ESPN to give us this opportunity,” Glasgow said. “It’s been a dream for a long time and we’re finally seeing it come true.”

Linda Sands of Cullman, Ala., finished in third with a total of 29-10.

Hot Springs, Ark., resident and angling veteran Penny Berryman fell from the co-lead on Day 2 to finish in fourth place overall. Berryman brought in three fish weighing 7 pounds, 10 ounces, boosting her total to 29-1, but was short of the win. While she was disappointed she didn’t take home the trophy, she was thrilled with making the Top 6 and experiencing the excitement of the Tour.

“It was so exciting to see the bleachers full of people,” said Berryman. “It really made me feel special.”

Kathi Hurst of Ripley, Miss., brought in one fish weighing 2 pounds, 14 ounces and finished in fourth with three-day total of 24-5. Behind her was Deanie Tate of Arkadelphia, Ark., in sixth with 23-9.

Co-angler Ward of Snohomish, Wash., brought in a three-fish limit of 7 pounds, 3 ounces for her win. The 51-year-old was nearly speechless as she tried to describe her excitement.

“It’s unbelievable! I just don’t know what to say,” said Ward. “My partner put us on some great spots. We fished mostly with Senkos and had a really good day. I was able to cull and get a nice limit.“

Ward fished a consistent pattern and caught all but two of her fish on a Senko. Though this was Ward’s first BASS tournament win, she plans to fish the entire series.

“It’s extremely exciting,” said Ward. “I’ve never fished for such a prize. It’s been a great tournament all week and all of the girls had a really great time. I really appreciate all of the sponsors that are supporting this Tour.”

In addition to the prize money, anglers earned valuable points toward qualifying for the Women’s Bassmaster Tour Championship, a tournament held in conjunction with the 2007 CITGO Bassmaster Classic.

The next stop of the Mercury Marine Women’s Bassmaster Tour presented by Triton Boats is on Lewisville Lake in Lewisville, Texas, May 18-20.

Local sponsors: Local sponsors include the City of Gadsden Department of Parks & Recreation and the Gadsden Inn and Suites.

Women’s Bassmaster Tour sponsors: Sponsors of the Women’s Bassmaster Tour include Mercury Marine, Triton Boats, Lowrance Electronics, MotorGuide, Advance Auto Parts and Plano.

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.