Weekend Series Angler Takes 4th Best Catch in BASS History

Clewiston, Fla. – Seven pounds! That’s what the average bass in Gary Neimi’s five-bass limit weighed at the ESPN Outdoors Bassmaster Series event on Florida’s Lake Okeechobee, May 1. His 35-pound, one-ounce catch is the fourth best in BASS history during the five fish limit era.

“I was expecting to sack about 25 pounds, but not 35,” Neimi said. “That was the best hour and a half of fishing I’ve ever seen.”

His catch was good enough to win the event by more than 13 pounds and earn him the $3,678 first-place check. His catch included a 10-pound, 12-ounce largemouth that took Purolator Big Bass honors and an additional $505.

Neimi now ranks fourth on BASS’ all-time heaviest one-day catch list, as follows:

1. 45-02 Dean Rojas January 17, 2001 Lake Toho, Fla.
2. 41-10 Mark Davis January 18, 2001 Lake Toho, Fla.
3. 36-9 Jay Yelas January 18, 2001 Lake Toho, Fla.
4. 35-1 Gary Neimi May 1, 2005 Lake Okeechobee, Fla.
5. 34-10 Aaron Martens January 17, 2001 Lake Toho, Fla.

“I’ve fished this lake many, many times before,” the 39-year-old said. “I felt pretty confident that I could win as long as my fish were there.”

Neimi’s pattern included flipping a junebug Gambler Bacon Rind in alligator grass two to four feet deep.

“There are several good spots on Okeechobee, but if there are five guys out there, no one gets ahead. I didn’t have any pressure on me while I was fishing. There wasn’t another boat within 500 yards of me.”

Not only did all five of BASS’ top catches come from Florida waters, all but Neimi’s came from the same tournament – the 2001 Florida Top 150 event on Lake Tohopekaliga. That’s when BASS pro Dean Rojas shattered the previous mark with a five-bass limit that weighed a stunning 45-2.

Neimi’s win boosted his position in the ESPN Outdoors Bassmaster Florida Division points standings from 33rd to 16th. With four out of the five Florida Division tournaments now under his belt and with only one more shot to advance to the regional championship, Neimi has turned his focus to the final event on Lake Tohopekaliga, June 5, 2005.

If Neimi finishes in the top 10 of the regional tournament, he’ll advance to the national championship and ultimately vie for a spot in the 2006 Bassmaster Classic.

“If I advance, it would be a dream,” he said. “I believe I’m good enough to compete with all of them. Now, I can only hope to make it.”

Another 35-pound catch would sew things up for him.

BASS is the world's largest fishing organization, sanctioning more than 20,000 tournaments worldwide through its Federation. The CITGO Bassmaster Tournament Trail, which includes the Bassmaster Elite 50 series, is the oldest and most prestigious pro bass fishing tournament circuit and continues to set the standard for credibility, professionalism and sportsmanship as it has since 1968.

Sponsors of the ESPN Bassmaster Tournament Series include CITGO Petroleum Corp., Toyota, Purolator, Triton Boats, Mercury Marine, Berkley, Lowrance Electronics, MotorGuide and Cialis (tadalafil).

For more information, contact BASS Communications at (334) 551-2375 or visit www.bassmaster.com.