Anglers Prepare for CITGO Bassmaster Central Open in Louisiana

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

“It’s a typical fall tournament on a river. The smaller fish are fairly easy to catch and the bigger fish are harder to come by. I’ve caught fish doing everything I’ve tried, so I’ll be doing a whole lot of different things.” – Chad Brauer, 2006 CITGO Bassmaster Elite Series contender, 33, Osage Beach, Mo.

“There’s a lot of little fish. I’ve had good days and mediocre days. The hot weather is holding the fish back and it’s messing us up a little. Every time I come back to this river, the quality of fish has been down, though the numbers are still here.” – Paul Elias, who’s fished four tournaments on Red River and is fishing the Elite Series, 54, Lauel, Miss.

“I’ve got spots in Pools 3 and 4 where I’m getting bites. An angler who can consistently catch 11 to 12 pounds a day will take this. While the fishing is good for me, it’s not easy. It’s spotty, but winning is not out of the question. When you find them, it’s like turning on a light switch.” – Bradley Stringer, 2004 CITGO Bassmaster Open champion, 32, Huntington, Texas

“It’s going to be a lot of little fish caught and it’s going to be tough. The Red River is good in the spring when bass are spawning, but they are in transition now and it’s too hot for November. They don’t know where they want to be.” – Jimmy Mize, who is on the bubble for a CITGO Bassmaster Open Championship berth, 50, Ben Lomond, Ark.

The Strategy

Brauer: He will focus on getting five keeper fish each day, which he believes may only weigh 5 to 8 pounds total. Brauer will stay on the main river to fish around rocks and then focus on the backwater areas for bigger fish.

Elias: He will fish shallow and search for bass on flats and near logs. Elias will rely on spinnerbaits for much of the tournament.

Stringer: He is flipping and throwing moving baits, including spinnerbaits and buzzbaits. He believes the bass are in very small schools and thinks a limit can be caught within 15 minutes of finding the right spot.

Mize: Mize is tight-lipped on his strategy. He says bass are scattered in the main river as well as the backwater. He’s using a mix of baits in search of keepers, which are hard to come by in the hot weather.

Location and Field CITGO Bassmaster Central Open Red River Natchitoches, La. Nov. 10-12, 2005

Launch Grand Ecore Recreation Area 160 Rufus Morgan Road Natchitoches, La., 71458

Weigh-in Grand Ecore Recreation Area 160 Rufus Morgan Road Natchitoches, La., 71458

Background Previous BASS events 2002, Louisiana Central 2001, Bassmaster Tour 2000, BASS Invitational 2000, BASS Invitational

Previous winners on lake 42-3 Homer Humphreys, 2002 41-8, Davy Hite, 2001 31-15, O.T. Fears, 2000 50-03, Brent Chapman, 2000

Heaviest winning sack 50-03, Brent Chapman, 2000

Lowest winning sack 31-15, O.T. Fears, 2000

Weather Temperature Mid-70s

River level 94.9 above mean sea level

CITGO Central Open Boater Points Leaders

1 Jeff Kriet Okla. 528 2 David Wharton Texas 522 3 Tony Chachere La. 520 4 Jeremy Guidry La. 519 5 Terry Butcher Okla. 498 6 Doug Garrett Ark. 490 7 Brad Hallman Okla. 488 8 Tommy Martin Texas 487 9 Ben Matsubu Texas 475 10 Matt Reed Texas 468

CITGO Bassmaster Open Central Open Division May 5-7 Sam Rayburn Jasper, Texas Oct. 13-15 Lake Norfork 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. Nov. 17-19 Lake Tohopekliga Kissimmee, Fla.

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

Local sponsors: Local sponsors include the City of Natchitoches.

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).

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