CELEBRATION, Fla. — For the inaugural Women’s Bassmaster Tour Championship contenders, success on Alabama’s Lake Mitchell will come down to the same basic decision facing their 2007 Bassmaster Classic counterparts on Lay Lake.

The Championship contenders, who advanced via their top-12 status in the Toyota Women’s Bassmaster Tour Angler of the Year standings, will spend Feb. 22-24 on Lake Mitchell out of Gadsden, Ala.

Both Mitchell and Lay Lake are members of the Coosa River chain. That means tournament anglers are always faced with an initial strategic decision — whether to target the heavier largemouth bass or more plentiful spotted bass that inhabit both waters.

Mitchell is a 5,850-acre hydroelectric reservoir and is the smallest impoundment of the Coosa chain, which is noted for the Alabama subspecies of spotted bass.

Georgia’s Pam Martin-Wells, winner of the WBT preview event in 2005, expects the fishing to be varied during the championship event.

“I think Mitchell is a wonderful fishery,” she said. “It’s a very versatile lake meaning you can fish various different patterns. You can fish shallow and deep.”

The top WBT pro will take home a first-place prize of a 2007 fully rigged Triton boat valued at $50,000 as well as $10,000 cash. The total prize purse is $225,750, and the winning co-angler will receive a Triton/Mercury package valued at $24,000, plus $1,000 cash.

But to take home the coveted prize lot, the championship contenders will have to make the right decision on which species of bass to target. Martin-Wells maintains that Mother Nature will play a role.

“It depends on the weather, really,” Martin-Wells said. “It depends on the weather the week before the tournament and then the weather during that week. A lot could change during the early springtime in a week’s time. So you will have to stay on your toes and read the water.”’

Tennessee’s Dianna Clark, the inaugural Toyota Women’s Bassmaster Tour Angler of the Year, agrees with Martin-Wells’ assessment of the weather.

“I think everything will depend on the weather. If it starts to warm, I believe an angler will have to target largemouth to win. But if the weather stays cold and nasty, I think it will be a combination of the two species, but you will have to catch more spots.”

When it comes to pattern decisions, veteran tournament angler Lucy Mize played it close to the vest but she did offer up a telling prediction.

“I’m either going to be a hero or a zero because I’m not fishing for second place,” she said. “I’m going to take a big gamble.”

On the final day of competition, the top-six WBT pros will weigh-in on the Bassmaster Classic stage at the Birmingham-Jefferson Convention Center. The 12 co-anglers will compete in a two-day tournament finishing on Friday.

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 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 sanctions and stages bass fishing tournaments for every skill level and culminates 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, call BASS Communications at 407-566-2208. To join BASS, visit or call 1-877-BASS-USA.