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2008 Bassmaster Classic Champ Alton Jones on Roll, Leads Bassmaster Elite Event on Wheeler Lake

Category: press release

 Apr 2nd, 2009 by OutdoorsFIRST 

Modified Apr 2nd, 2009 at 12:00 AM

DECATUR, Ala. – Three former Bassmaster Classic champions are separated by just 11 ounces after the opening day of the Evan Williams Bourbon Dixie Duel on Wheeler Lake. Alton Jones of Waco, Texas, the 2008 Classic champion, bagged 17 pounds, 12 ounces, to lead the field of 100 anglers on the third stop in the 2009 Bassmaster Elite Series season.

Right behind Jones is Takahiro Omori of Emory, Texas, in second with 17-8. Omori who won the 2004 Classic. Mike Iaconelli of Runnemede, N.J., winner of the 2003 Classic, is third overall with 17-1.

All three anglers said they were surprised in being able to secure the larger weights among the field on Day One. During official practice earlier this week, each said that while he found plenty of fish, most of the bass were on the smaller side.

“It really was a good day and it went a lot better than my practice days,” said Jones, 45. “I realized the conditions were going to change and had to practice for what those conditions were going to be on tournament days. I am really excited with what I had today and would have been pleased with 13 to 15 pounds.”

Fishing fans can catch all of the on-the-water action from the Evan Williams Bourbon Dixie Duel on The Bassmasters, which airs Saturday, April 11, at 9 a.m. ET on ESPN2. The daily weigh-ins for this and all other regular-season Elite events as well as the two postseason events will air live at 5 p.m. ET on ESPN360.com, ESPN’s broadband sports network, while a wealth of unique content will also be available at Bassmaster.com. Also this week on Bassmaster.com, fans can get daily, live Hooked Up updates, featuring BASS emcee Keith Alan, throughout each day’s competition at noon, 2 p.m. and 3 p.m. ET.

The bulk of Jones’ keepers Thursday were from one location and included a largemouth that tipped the scales at 7 pounds, the big bass of the day.

“I caught four of the fish I weighed in today in about 30 minutes,” said Jones, a five-time BASS event winner. “I knew this spot had the potential to cough up good quality bites. I also lost a 3-pounder from here.”

Jones didn’t want to give up too much information about his strategy, as he has several competitors around him on Wheeler. He said he was concerned about Friday, as a thunderstorm unloaded during Thursday’s weigh-in.

“Tomorrow will be a different stroke when the wind comes around from the opposite direction,” Jones said.

Omori moved around Wheeler Lake frequently and used fast-moving baits to boat his limit. He said he also was uncertain about Friday’s pending weather.

“I probably caught 12 keepers today, with the biggest being 6-9,” said Omori, who also was sharing water with several competitors. “It was a quirky day. I got bites right before the storm came. Tomorrow will be a different day.”

Iaconelli, who finished second at the 2009 Bassmaster Classic in February, also fished a lot of areas and a variety of lures. He was surprised by his actual weight because before weigh-in he estimated he had a 15-pound bag that included one large kicker fish.

“I had one in there that I estimated was a 4-pounder, but it actually ended up being 6-9, so that helps a little bit,” he said. “I’ve had three tournaments in a row where I have found nothing in practice. I went out today with 15 rods on the deck and basically went junk fishing and I was able to put it together.”

Iaconelli was able to catch fish throughout the day, he said, right up until the weather front moved in and it was time to check in.

“Unlike a lot of the guys in here, I don’t have anything solid or a specific area, I don’t have a pattern, so I am just fishing,” Iaconelli said. “I’m catching them on multiple kinds of baits, I caught them as shallow as a foot-and-a-half and I caught my deepest one in about 20 feet of water.”

Rounding out the top five are Rick Morris of Lake Gaston, Va., in fourth with 16-13, and Randy Howell of Springville, Ala., in fifth with 16-6.

Of the 100 anglers in the field, 97 pros brought a five-fish limit to the scales Thursday. Notables include last week’s Elite Series champ Mark Menendez of Paducah, Ky., in seventh with 16-1, and 2009 Bassmaster Classic champion Skeet Reese of Auburn, Calif., in eighth with 15-10. Jason Williamson of Aiken, S.C., who won the 2009 season opener on Texas’ Lake Amistad, is in ninth place with 15-7.

If Jones can hang on to the lead, he could overtake the No. 1 position in the chase for the Toyota Tundra Bassmaster Angler of the Year title. Right now, he is in second with 514 points, 46 points behind reigning Angler of the Year Kevin VanDam of Kalamazoo, Mich. VanDam, a four-time AOY, leads the title chase with 560 points and is tied for 36th in the Dixie Duel with 12-2 after Day One.

After Friday’s competition, the field will be cut to the top 50 for Day Three. The final day of competition, Sunday, will feature the top 12 anglers.

With 1,063 miles of shoreline, Wheeler is the largest of three Alabama lakes that connect with the Tennessee River. It has been the host of 10 BASS events, including the 1974 Bassmaster Classic, and also will feature the second Bassmaster Southern Open of 2009, set for April 30-May 2.

The Evan Williams Bourbon Dixie Duel includes a top prize of $100,000 and awards valuable points in the 2009 Toyota Tundra Bassmaster Angler of the Year title race. Fans are encouraged to attend daily launches (7:15 a.m. CT) and weigh-ins (4 p.m.) through Sunday at Ingalls Harbor, 701 Market Street NW, Decatur.

At 1:30 p.m. Saturday, fans are invited to experience Bassmaster University, which includes the “Ask the Experts” session with the Elite pros at 3 p.m.

Sunday’s activities include the live taping of Hooked Up, hosted by ESPN Outdoors personalities Mark Zona and Tommy Sanders. The show, which will air live at 4:30 p.m. ET on Bassmaster.com, will preview Sunday’s final weigh-in.

Other activities Saturday and Sunday at the Dixie Duel will begin at 12 p.m. CT at Ingalls Harbor, featuring the popular Dog Training & Retriever Demonstrations Brought To You By SportDog. The fun also includes Skeeter boat demos; a rock-climbing wall presented by the U.S. Army; Jubilee Hot Air Balloon rides; an American Red Cross blood drive; the Just Add Kidz moonwalk, obstacle course and super slide; a BTK Motorsports booth with kart demonstrations; and the Sci Quest Hands-on Science Center for kids.

For more information, contact BASS Communications at (407) 566-2208 or visit Bassmaster.com. Visit ESPNOutdoorsMedia.com for ESPN Outdoors’ latest releases, schedules, other news and photos.

The local sponsor of the Dixie Duel is the Decatur-Morgan County Convention & Visitors Bureau.

Sponsors of the Bassmaster Elite Series: Toyota Trucks, Berkley, BOOYAH Baits, Evan Williams Bourbon, Mercury, OPTIMA Batteries, Skeeter Boats, Yamaha Marine; Bass Pro Shops, Costa Del Mar, Ramada, SpongeTech and Triton Boats.

About BASS

For more than 40 years, BASS has served as the authority on bass fishing. With its considerable multi-media platforms and expansive tournament trail, BASS is guided by its mission to serve all fishing fans. Through its industry-leading publications Bassmaster Magazine, BASS Times and Fishing Tackle Retailer and comprehensive Web properties in ESPN360.com, ESPN’s sports broadband network, Bassmaster.com, BASSInsider.com and ESPNOutdoors.com, the organization is committed to delivering content true to the lifestyle. Additionally, television programming on ESPN2 continues to provide relevant content – from tips and techniques to in-depth tournament coverage – to passionate audiences.

The organization oversees the prestigious Bassmaster tournament trail, which includes the Bassmaster Elite Series, Bassmaster Opens, Women’s Bassmaster Tour and the Bassmaster Classic, the ultimate celebration of competitive fishing. Through its grassroots network, the BASS Federation Nation, BASS sanctions more than 20,000 events annually.

BASS also offers an array of services to its more than 500,000 members while spearheading progressive, positive change on issues related to conservation and water access. The organization is headquartered in Celebration, Fla.

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Media Contact: Anthony Bartkowski; (407) 744-4566 or [email protected]

EVAN WILLIAMS BOURBON DIXIE DUEL DAY 1

2009 Dixie Duel 4/2-4/5
Lake Wheeler, Decatur AL.
(PROFESSIONAL) Standings Day 1

Angler Hometown No./lbs-oz Pts Total $$$

1. Alton Jones Waco, TX 5 17-12 305
Day 1: 5 17-12
2. Takahiro Omori Emory, TX 5 17-08 295
Day 1: 5 17-08
3. Michael Iaconelli Runnemede, NJ 5 17-01 290
Day 1: 5 17-01
4. Rick Morris Virginia Beach, VA 5 16-13 285
Day 1: 5 16-13
5. Randy Howell Springville, AL 5 16-06 280
Day 1: 5 16-06
6. Tommy Biffle Wagoner, OK 5 16-02 276
Day 1: 5 16-02
7. Mark Menendez Paducah, KY 5 16-01 272
Day 1: 5 16-01
8. Skeet Reese Auburn, CA 5 15-10 268
Day 1: 5 15-10
9. Jason Williamson Aiken, SC 5 15-07 264
Day 1: 5 15-07
10. Timmy Horton Muscle Shoals, AL 5 15-02 260
Day 1: 5 15-02
10. Ish Monroe Hughson, CA 5 15-02 260
Day 1: 5 15-02
12. Todd Faircloth Jasper, TX 5 14-15 254
Day 1: 5 14-15
13. Cliff Pace Petal, MS 5 14-14 251
Day 1: 5 14-14
14. Scott Campbell Springfield, MO 5 14-12 248
Day 1: 5 14-12
15. Mark Davis Mount Ida, AR 5 14-07 245
Day 1: 5 14-07
16. Gary Klein Weatherford, TX 5 14-00 243
Day 1: 5 14-00
17. Boyd Duckett Demopolis, AL 5 13-15 241
Day 1: 5 13-15
18. Brian Clark Haltom City, TX 5 13-14 239
Day 1: 5 13-14
18. Jason Quinn York, SC 5 13-14 239
Day 1: 5 13-14
20. Russ Lane Prattville, AL 5 13-13 235
Day 1: 5 13-13
21. Marty Robinson Lyman, SC 5 13-11 233
Day 1: 5 13-11
22. Brent Chapman Lake Quivira, KS 5 13-10 231
Day 1: 5 13-10
22. Aaron Martens Leeds, AL 5 13-10 231
Day 1: 5 13-10
24. Chad Griffin Cresson, TX 5 13-09 227
Day 1: 5 13-09
25. Edwin Evers Talala, OK 5 13-06 225
Day 1: 5 13-06
26. J Todd Tucker Moultrie, GA 5 13-05 223
Day 1: 5 13-05
27. Jeff Connella Bentley, LA 5 13-03 221
Day 1: 5 13-03
28. Bradley Hallman Norman, OK 5 13-01 219
Day 1: 5 13-01
29. Todd Auten Lake Wylie, SC 5 12-12 217
Day 1: 5 12-12
29. Matt Herren Trussville, AL 5 12-12 217
Day 1: 5 12-12
31. Casey Ashley Donalds, SC 5 12-11 213
Day 1: 5 12-11
31. Matthew Sphar Pavilion, NY 5 12-11 213
Day 1: 5 12-11
33. Steve Kennedy Auburn, AL 5 12-09 209
Day 1: 5 12-09
34. Dave Wolak Wake Forest, NC 5 12-06 207
Day 1: 5 12-06
35. Dean Rojas Lake Havasu City, AZ 5 12-03 205
Day 1: 5 12-03
36. Kevin VanDam Kalamazoo, MI 5 12-02 203
Day 1: 5 12-02
36. Byron Velvick Del Rio, TX 5 12-02 203
Day 1: 5 12-02
38. Pat Golden High Point, NC 5 12-01 199
Day 1: 5 12-01
39. Kenyon Hill Norman, OK 5 12-00 197
Day 1: 5 12-00
40. Jami Fralick Martin, SD 5 11-13 195
Day 1: 5 11-13
41. Stephen Browning Hot Springs National Pa 5 11-11 193
Day 1: 5 11-11
41. Matt Reed Madisonville, TX 5 11-11 193
Day 1: 5 11-11
41. Dustin Wilks Rocky Mount, NC 5 11-11 193
Day 1: 5 11-11
44. Pete Ponds Madison, MS 5 11-10 187
Day 1: 5 11-10
45. Greg Hackney Gonzales, LA 5 11-09 185
Day 1: 5 11-09
45. Mark Tucker Saint Louis, MO 5 11-09 185
Day 1: 5 11-09
47. Paul Elias Laurel, MS 5 11-08 181
Day 1: 5 11-08
48. James Niggemeyer Van, TX 5 11-07 179
Day 1: 5 11-07
48. Peter E Thliveros St Augustine, FL 5 11-07 179
Day 1: 5 11-07
50. Charlie Hartley Grove City, OH 5 11-06 175
Day 1: 5 11-06
50. Bill Lowen North Bend, OH 5 11-06 175
Day 1: 5 11-06
50. Bernie Schultz Gainesville, FL 5 11-06 175
Day 1: 5 11-06
53. Terry Butcher Talala, OK 5 11-04 169
Day 1: 5 11-04
54. Vince Fulks Purcell, OK 5 11-03 167
Day 1: 5 11-03
55. Kevin Wirth Crestwood, KY 5 11-03 165
Day 1: 5 11-03
56. Billy Mccaghren Mayflower, AR 5 11-01 163
Day 1: 5 11-01
57. Greg Vinson Wetumpka, AL 5 11-00 161
Day 1: 5 11-00
58. Jared Lintner Arroyo Grande, CA 5 10-12 159
Day 1: 5 10-12
58. Marty Stone Fayetteville, NC 5 10-12 159
Day 1: 5 10-12
60. Denny Brauer Camdenton, MO 5 10-11 155
Day 1: 5 10-11
60. Davy Hite Ninety Six, SC 5 10-11 155
Day 1: 5 10-11
60. Kotaro Kiriyama Moody, AL 5 10-11 155
Day 1: 5 10-11
60. Jeff Kriet Ardmore, OK 5 10-11 155
Day 1: 5 10-11
64. Guy Eaker Cherryville, NC 5 10-09 147
Day 1: 5 10-09
64. Derek Remitz Grant, AL 5 10-09 147
Day 1: 5 10-09
66. Brian Snowden Reeds Spring, MO 5 10-07 143
Day 1: 5 10-07
67. Mark Burgess Norton, MA 3 10-07 141
Day 1: 3 10-07
68. Kelly Jordon Mineola, TX 5 10-04 139
Day 1: 5 10-04
68. John Murray Phoenix, AZ 5 10-04 139
Day 1: 5 10-04
70. Morizo Shimizu Osaka JAPAN 5 10-02 135
Day 1: 5 10-02
71. Bobby Lane Lakeland, FL 5 10-01 133
Day 1: 5 10-01
71. Mike McClelland Bella Vista, AR 5 10-01 133
Day 1: 5 10-01
71. Yusuke Miyazaki Forney, TX 5 10-01 133
Day 1: 5 10-01
74. Britt Myers Lake Wylie, SC 5 10-00 127
Day 1: 5 10-00
74. Clark Reehm Russellville, AR 5 10-00 127
Day 1: 5 10-00
76. Jon Bondy Windsor CANADA 5 09-15 123
Day 1: 5 09-15
77. Zell Rowland Montgomery, TX 5 09-13 121
Day 1: 5 09-13
78. Jimmy Mize Ben Lomond, AR 5 09-08 119
Day 1: 5 09-08
79. Chris Lane Lakeland, FL 5 09-05 117
Day 1: 5 09-05
80. Mike Wurm Hot Springs, AR 5 09-02 115
Day 1: 5 09-02
81. Jim Murray Arabi, GA 5 08-15 113
Day 1: 5 08-15
81. Mark Tyler Vian, OK 5 08-15 113
Day 1: 5 08-15
83. Rick Clunn Ava, MO 5 08-13 109
Day 1: 5 08-13
84. Luke Gritter Kalamazoo, MI 5 08-11 107
Day 1: 5 08-11
85. Jeff Reynolds Idabel, OK 5 08-09 105
Day 1: 5 08-09
85. Jeremy Starks Charleston, WV 5 08-09 105
Day 1: 5 08-09
87. Shaw E Grigsby Gainesville, FL 5 08-02 101
Day 1: 5 08-02
87. Terry Scroggins San Mateo, FL 5 08-02 101
Day 1: 5 08-02
89. Kevin Short Mayflower, AR 5 08-01 97
Day 1: 5 08-01
90. Fred Roumbanis Bixby, OK 5 08-00 95
Day 1: 5 08-00
90. David Smith Del City, OK 5 08-00 95
Day 1: 5 08-00
92. Grant Goldbeck Gaithersburg, MD 5 07-13 91
Day 1: 5 07-13
93. Ken D Cook Lawton, OK 5 07-08 89
Day 1: 5 07-08
94. John Crews Salem, VA 5 07-05 87
Day 1: 5 07-05
95. Brent Broderick Oregonia, OH 4 07-02 85
Day 1: 4 07-02
96. Wade Grooms Bonneau, SC 5 07-01 83
Day 1: 5 07-01
97. Gerald Swindle Warrior, AL 5 07-00 81
Day 1: 5 07-00
98. Kevin Langill Terrell, NC 5 06-11 79
Day 1: 5 06-11
99. Scott Rook Little Rock, AR 5 06-09 77
Day 1: 5 06-09
100. Elton Luce Jr. Brookeland, TX 3 05-13 76
Day 1: 3 05-13
———————————————————————–

BIG BASS
Day
1 Alton Jones Waco, TX 07-00 $0.00

———————————————————————–
Totals
Day #Limits #Fish Weight
1 97 495 1147-08
———————————-
97 495 1147-08

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