Weather, Location Key Components of Strategy on the Water

What’s at stake: $53,000 total in prize money, plus six berths into the 2006 CITGO Bassmaster Classic.

Telecast: Coverage of the event will air Saturday, Jan. 21 at 10 a.m. EST on ESPN2. It will re-air on Jan. 27 at 7 a.m. and again on Jan. 30 at noon.

The Pros Said It
“Right now, it’s high skies and a cold front just came through. I think it’s going to be tough from what I’m seeing so far. Fishing is fishing and it’s not guaranteed …. you’ve got to go after them.” - Northern Division competitor Fred Myers, 44, Bloomington, Ill.

“It’s pretty tough out here right now, but I’m not too worried about it. The fish react weird to cold fronts, and they’re a little sluggish so I’ve been searching for locations and figuring out where I’m going to fish in the tournament. I think this weather change is going to make the fish more active and it’s a matter of going in and capitalizing come tournament time.” - Western Division competitor Dave Mehalechko, 37, Glendale, Ariz.

“It’s going really slow for me right now. I found a few bites and I hope to capitalize on that and find a few more. If this weather holds out and keeps warming up, the fish are going to move up and the weights are probably going to come up pretty good.” - Western Division competitor Mark Schroeder, 32, Red Bluff, Calif.

“Right now, it’s pretty tough. I’m getting a few bites and hope I can put it together and make things happen in the next three days. The weather should stable out and we’re coming on a full moon, which will help a bunch. I’m thinking 10 pounds a day and 30 pounds for three days will do really well.” - Southern Division competitor Bill Lowen, 31, Cincinnati, Ohio.

The Strategy
Myers: In the morning, he’s throwing light plastics on Berkley fluorocarbon 6- to 8-pound test line. As the sun gets higher in the afternoon, Myers will switch to crankbaits as well as a little rat fishing.

Mehalechko: He is fishing a variety of lures, including spinnerbaits on 5-pound test line and Texas-rigged worms on 17-pound line. He’s flipping soft plastics on 65-pound braid line. He’s fishing fast and covering a lot of water.

Schroeder: He’s flipping and pitching a baby brush hog and a RXN Innovations sweet beaver into the Kissimmee grass using 15 to 20-pound test line and 65-pound Power Pro braided line.

Lowen: He’s flipping a Net Bait - Paca Craw on 50-pound Stren Super Braid in vegetation in shallow water 2 to 4 feet deep.

Location and Field
BASS Federation Championship
Harris Chain of Lakes
Leesburg, Fla.
Jan.11-13, 2006

55 boaters
Full field all three competition days. Weights will carry over each day.

Hickory Point
27341 State Route 19
Tavares, Fla. 32778
7 a.m.

Venetian Gardens
201 East Dixie Ave.
Leesburg, Fla. 34748
4 p.m.

Previous BASS events
2005, CITGO Bassmaster Tour
2004, CITGO Bassmaster Tour
2003, Florida Showdown
1992, Florida Invitational
1990, Megabucks
1989, Megabucks
1988, Megabucks
1987, Megabucks
1986, Megabucks

Previous winners on lake
69-5, Peter Thliveros, 2005
61-12, Marty Stone, 2004
36-12, Skeet Reese, 2003
14-10, Mike Folkestad, 1992
31-7, Larry Nixon, 1990
58-8, Jim Bitter, 1989
88.5, Larry Nixon, 1988
62-4, Lonnie Stanley, 1987
68-0, Roger Farmer, 1986

Heaviest winning sack
88-5, Larry Nixon, 1988

Lowest winning sack
14-10, Mike Folkestad, 1992

75 degrees

Lake level
63.4 ft.

CITGO Bassmaster Classic: Feb. 24-26, 2006 on Lake Tohopekaliga in Kissimmee, Fla.

Local sponsors: The City of Leesburg, Leesburg Area Chamber of Commerce, Lake County Water Authority and The Lake County Department of Economic Development and Tourism.

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.