Timing Couldn’t Be Better For Roumbanis

Inside BASS

CELEBRATION, Fla. – The timing of Fred Roumbanis’ victory in last weekend’s Bassmaster American could not have been better.

That’s not just because the 28-year-old California pro, who recently relocated to Oklahoma, is about to become a father. As he was fashioning the winning pattern this past weekend in the Major held in Greensboro, N.C., Roumbanis’ wife, Julie, was preparing to give birth to new son Jackson on Monday.

The $253,000 champion’s purse will ease financial pressures for Roumbanis.

“This couldn’t have happened at a better time,” said Roumbanis, who married Julie during the Bassmaster Classic week in February. “This whole thing has really been coming out of my pocket. I don’t have a major sponsor.

“So to be able to win this, pay off everything I owe and be way ahead of the game right now is wonderful.”

Before leaving Greensboro and driving all night to Broken Arrow, Okla., Roumbanis called his wife to inform her that he had finished off his biggest career achievement — while hoping that the excitement didn’t trigger premature labor.

“There were a lot tears of joy and her being proud of me,” he said. “I mean, she’s like there and ready to deliver. If she goes into labor, I’m just going to pull over at the nearest airport and fly home.

“After winning the tournament like this, I am not tired. I won’t have any problem driving all night.”

Roumbanis had been building a pretty good nest egg for his family before his heroics in Greensboro. He had finished in the top 21 in four of the five Elite Series events.

“It’s unbelievable how the year has unfolded so far,” he said. “From the wedding to starting the season with an awesome start to the baby on the way.”

It was the first BASS win for Roumbanis, who has three second-place showings to his credit.

ALL ALONE. As there were no boats allowed in Lake Townsend for the final two rounds of the Major, the 12 finalists were able to fish in relative obscurity — uncharted water on the Bassmaster Elite Series.

It felt strange to Dean Rojas.

“It was kind of eerie,” the Texas pro said. “There were just us 12 guys out there on the water. Not even any spectator boats. You would go back in a little cove and you’d be all alone.

“People like that when they’re catching fish. But when they’re not biting it’s just lonely.”

Rojas should know; he struck out during his one day on the lake.

WRAP RAP. We’ve seen some rather unique wraps on the boats during the first two Elite Series seasons, but Matthew Sphar wins the prize for the eeriest.

His boat (and tournament jersey) promotes Alphabet Killer, a feature film that is due in theaters in the fall. The psychological thriller stars Timothy Hutton and Cary Elwes.

Turns out the producer of the movie is Sphar’s friend Greg Polisseni, who became his sponsor to promote the film that was made in Rochester, N.Y., near Sphar’s hometown of Pavilion, N.Y.

WEIRDEST CATCH. Elite Series pro Kevin VanDam reportedly caught a 38-pound catfish on High Rock Lake during practice for the Major. Another angler took the fish to a local marina to weigh it.

DID YOU KNOW? The Greensboro area folks were so accommodating in staging the Bassmaster American, they helped create three “firsts” in BASS history:

• It marked the first time a public lake was closed to fishing and boating during a BASS event.

• For the first time, the pros had to juggle two different minimum length limits. Only two of the five bass weighed in could be 12 or 13 inches; the other three had to be 14 inches or longer.

• The finalists were allowed to fish areas that are normally off limits to anglers on Lake Townsend.

IF I HADN’T BECOME A BASS PRO… Elite Series pro Robert (Doc) Merkin would be able to devote more time to his veterinarian clinic in Downers Grove, Ill.

SCREAMING GOOD IDEA. Homestead Creamery has introduced a new ice cream, “Fisherman's Treat,” with a vanilla base and milk chocolate fish shapes. The sweet sensation will be sold by the quart and by the scoop at the June 7-10 Blue Ridge Brawl Presented by Advance Auto Parts at Smith Mountain Lake in Moneta, Va.

THEY SAID IT. “People who can't fish cheat, and cheaters never get to this level because they eventually get caught. The guys out here are like golfers. We have an honor system.” Shaw Grigsby, to the Greensboro News & Record

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BASS is the worldwide authority on bass fishing, staging more than 20,000 events through the BASS Federation Nation 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 and sanctions bass fishing tournaments for every skill level culminating with the 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 530,000 members. The organization is headquartered in Celebration, Fla.

For more information, contact BASS Communications at (407) 566-2208. To join BASS, call 1-877-BASS-USA or visit www.Bassmaster.com/.