A Classic birthday bash; The vow of Ryan McMurtury; Poche and Crews sign new sponsors

Category: article

 Feb 8th, 2011 by OutdoorsFIRST 

Modified Feb 8th, 2011 at 12:00 AM

A Classic birthday bash: Looking back, Victoria Centak says she pretty much knew without asking that her husband would choose to celebrate his 40th birthday by taking a trip to the Feb. 18-20 Bassmaster Classic.

“I was hoping he’d say the Caribbean, Aruba – anywhere warm,” she said. “But he competes in Bassmaster tournaments so I suspected he’d say ‘the Classic.’ He’s such a big fan, it’s so totally him.

“And you know what? I’m cool with it,” said Centak. “I’m headed to Louisiana, to New Orleans, and you can’t beat that.”

She’s a registered nurse; her husband, Scott, who won’t actually turn 40 until March 25, is a nursing home administrator. He competes in FLW events and in the Toyota Tundra Bassmaster Weekend Series operated by American Bass Anglers. Hometown sweethearts from Wilkes-Barre, Pa., they now live near Philadelphia in Langhorne, where the snow was almost 3 feet deep the first week of February.

She spent many of those cold winter hours designing a birthday dream trip for her husband. She mapped out where the Classic’s launches will be in Westwego, La., and plans to get up before dawn to go with Scott. She said she will sit with him during all three weigh-ins. She’ll be with him at the big fishing-gear show that runs concurrently with the Classic. She booked a guide to take them out on the Louisiana Delta.

She even contacted B.A.S.S. to ask for ideas. B.A.S.S. offered – and the Centaks accepted – a special backstage tour of the New Orleans Arena, where the daily weigh-ins will take place.

To top off the trip, she bought train tickets for their return journey; traveling by train was her husband’s idea of the perfect way to top his dream trip.

Naturally, she has mentioned the New Orleans trip to her co-workers.

“They’re like, ‘What? The Bassmaster Classic? Fishing? And the train?’ I’m like, ‘Yup, we’re doin’ it all,'” she said.

She might not have let on to them, but she will admit to being a fan of competitive fishing.

“I don’t even tell Scott this, but I’m like a closet fan,” she said.

She was introduced to pro fishing in 2005, when she and Scott traveled across the state to see the Bassmaster Classic in Pittsburgh.

“I’ll be honest: in 2005, when he said he wanted to go, I was a little reluctant,” she said. “Once I got inside the arena, into that atmosphere, felt that charge from the crowd, I was wowed. It’s really exciting to be there in person for a big weigh-in.”

* Bassmaster.com provides full details of the Feb. 18-20 competition on the Louisiana Delta out of New Orleans. Among the fan activities are the Bassmaster Classic Outdoors Expo presented by Dick’s Sporting Goods at the Ernest Morial Convention Center; and the daily weigh-ins at the New Orleans Arena, where doors will open at 3 p.m. CST. All events are free and open to the public.

The vow of Ryan McMurtury:
2011 Bassmaster Classic qualifier Ryan McMurtury got off to a bad start this season, but his correction was swift and sure.

The bad start was a 145th-place finish in the Jan. 20-22 Bass Pro Shops Bassmaster Southern Open on Florida’s Lake Tohopekaliga. A week later, the South Carolina angler won a tournament on Lake Murray in his home state of South Carolina.

“I didn’t fish my strengths (at Toho), and I won’t let that happen again,” he said. “I vowed to never finish that low in a tournament again.”

The tournament he won was a one-day divisional of the Toyota Tundra Bassmaster Weekend Series operated by American Bass Anglers, the same circuit through which he earned his ticket to the Classic. The Weekend Series event was not the intense contest of a three-day Open, but a win is a win.

McMurtury is riding the high all the way into his first Classic, Feb. 18-20 on the Louisiana Delta out of New Orleans.

“About a month ago, I was just happy to be able go fish it. The closer I get to the Classic, the more determined I am to go down there and win it,” he said.

From the small town of Abbeville, S.C., McMurtury is a certified surgical technician and garage lure maker (his Classic arsenal includes many one-of-a-kind, hand-painted “secret” weapons). His flex-time work schedule and passion for feeling “the tug of anything on the end of my line” gets him out on the water many times a week, so he isn’t a typical “weekend warrior.”

He aspires to the competitive level of full-time bass pro. He’s already looking like one with his newly wrapped boat sponsored by Omega Rod and Area 51 Wraps.

Poche hooks new sponsor
: Keith Poche will be sponsored in 2011 by Bonnie Plants, an Alabama-based grower of bedding plants for home gardeners.

“It’s a great deal, I’m excited,” said Poche, a second-year Bassmaster Elite Series pro who lives in Troy, Ala. “I approached them in 2009, soon after I qualified for the Elites. They contacted me this year and said they were ready to do something.”

His new 2011 boat wrap continues to feature his main sponsor, NetBait. Bonnie Plants graphics appear in several spots on the boat as well as on his tow vehicle, he said.

Crews stylin’ in NOCS: John Crews will be wearing NOCS sunglasses when he competes in his fifth Bassmaster Classic, Feb. 18-20 on the Louisiana Delta out of New Orleans.

NOCS is a new brand from the same company that produces Solar Bat sunglasses.

The company’s sponsorship of Crews, a Bassmaster Elite Series pro from Salem, Va., will continue into the 2011 season.

Clunn to be at New Orleans Classic show: Four-time Bassmaster Classic champ Rick Clunn is scheduled to be at the TroKar booth on the afternoons of Feb. 18 and 19 at the Bassmaster Classic Outdoors Expo presented by Dick’s Sporting Goods in the Ernest N. Morial Convention Center in New Orleans.

Clunn, the famed Bassmaster Elite Series pro from Ava., Mo., recently joined the TroKar team of pros who use and endorse the Wright & McGill brand of hooks.

Besides Clunn, TroKar also sponsors Elite pros Skeet Reese, Shaw Grigsby, Gerald Swindle, Brent Chapman and Jason Williamson.

Check ‘Pro News’: Bassmaster.com continuously tracks the many new sponsorship agreements Bassmaster Elite Series pros are sealing for the 2011 season. All the news is collected in a special section, Pro News.

Some of the newest pairings are Rick Morris and RoadHouse Tackle (itself a new company), and Casey Ashley and Jewel Bait. Also, Reins Tungsten, a Japanese maker of tungsten weights, has a three-man team of Elite anglers: Bill Lowen, Cliff Crochet and Elite rookie Ott DeFoe.

Did you know? Louisiana, host state of the Feb. 18-20 Bassmaster Classic, has produced two Classic winners: 1975 champ Jack Hains of Rayne, La., and 1980 champ Villis P. “Bo” Dowden of Natchitoches, La. Hains took his title on Currituck Sound in North Carolina; Dowden won on the St. Lawrence River in New York.


About B.A.S.S.

For more than 40 years, B.A.S.S. has served as the authority on bass fishing. The organization advances the sport through advocacy, outreach and an expansive tournament structure while connecting directly with the passionate community of bass anglers through its Bassmaster media vehicles.


The Bassmaster brand and its multimedia platforms are guided by a mission to serve all fishing fans. Through its industry-leading publications – Bassmaster Magazine and B.A.S.S. Times – comprehensive website Bassmaster.com, and ESPN2 television programming, Bassmaster provides rich, leading-edge content true to the lifestyle.


The Bassmaster Tournament Trail includes the Bassmaster Elite Series, Bass Pro Shops Bassmaster Open Series, B.A.S.S. Federation Nation events presented by Yamaha and Skeeter Boats and the ultimate celebration of competitive fishing, the Bassmaster Classic.


B.A.S.S. offers an array of services to its more than 500,000 members and remains focused on issues related to conservation and water access. The organization is headquartered in Celebration, Fla.



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