BASS Reporter’s Notebook: Postseason Hopes High For Newest Bassmaster Elite Series Champion, Kevin Short

Category: press release

 Jul 28th, 2009 by OutdoorsFIRST 

Modified Jul 28th, 2009 at 12:00 AM

On his way home to Arkansas after winning the Genuity River Rumble on the Mississippi River last month, Kevin Short swung through central Alabama to scope out Lake Jordan and the Alabama River.

Kevin Short (Photo Courtesy of BASS)

“The river’s got Kevin Short written all over it,” he said. “I like the way it looks and is laid out. I can see me catching some fish there. I’m fired up to get back there.”

The river and lake will be the playing fields for the inaugural Bassmaster Elite Series postseason, the Sept. 10-18 Toyota Trucks Championship Week out of Montgomery and Wetumpka, Ala., where the Toyota Tundra Bassmaster Angler of the Year will be decided.

Short’s strategy was to scout the water before it went off-limits. He said he simply rode around and looked. That’s exactly what he did before the Rumble on the Mississippi, and it helped him score his first Elite win. If he ends up with one of the 12 postseason spots, he could once again cash in on his extra scouting time.

Only the top 12 in the AOY points race, the Toyota Tundra Bassmaster Angler of the Year rankings, will advance to Championship Week. Short sits in 10th place. Before the Rumble, Short was 17th, five places shy. With the win in June, he earned enough points to get back in the race.

A berth in the 2010 Bassmaster Classic – a second for Short — is almost a given; the top 36 in points get Classic entries.

Such rewards would be a fitting cap to Short’s 2009 season, a vastly improved performance over any other season of his pro career. In many senses, it has been the best season for this Bassmaster Elite Series pro from Mayflower, Ark.

“If you take away the win in Iowa (the Rumble), I haven’t had what I would consider a stellar year, but I’ve been fairly consistent,” he said. “That’s one thing I’ve strived to do: not have any bombs. You have to stay out of the 80s and 90s (in tournament standings). I’ve been trying to even it out, and you have to do that to stay up in the points.”

To do that he, like every other Elite pro, has one remaining hurdle to clear: the Aug. 13-16 Ramada Champion’s Choice on Oneida Lake out of Syracuse, N.Y.

Even with so much hinging on the event, Short is not discouraged by his Oneida history. He finished 98th at Oneida in 2006, 40th in 2007, and 82nd in 2008 (all Elite-level events).

He said he’s at the crest of the Oneida learning curve.

“Where I finished before is by no means an indication of what I actually learned on the lake,” he said. “I know that last year, even though I was doing all the right things, I just did not cover enough water.”

If Oneida goes badly for him, he said he would still be happy with his season.

“I’ve had an absolutely wonderful year. I’ll have qualified for the Classic and have won an event – two goals I started the season with.”

Still, being an inaugural postseason player instead of an observer would be an unforgettable experience.

“I definitely want to be at the last two events; I don’t want to miss out on those,” he said.

30 BASS MILLIONAIRES AND COUNTING: Four more Bassmaster Elite Series pros joined the BASS Millionaires Club over the past year, bringing to 30 the number of pro anglers who have surpassed $1 million in BASS career earnings.

The newest names on the expanding club membership rolls are Dean Rojas of Lake Havasu City, Ariz.; Mike McClelland of Bella Vista, Ark.; Greg Hackney of Gonzales, La.; and Todd Faircloth of Jasper, Texas.

Several other Elite pros are on the cusp of gaining entry into the exclusive club. Closest in terms of dollars is Kevin Wirth of Crestwood, Ky., who needs to win about $13,000 more before he’s considered part of the honorary group.

Also over the past year, Skeet Reese of Auburn, Calif., topped $2 million in BASS earnings, surpassing Rick Clunn of Ava, Mo., as the third-highest earner of all time. A year ago, Reese was the 11th-highest BASS earner.

Pushing Reese up and over the $2 million mark was his $500,000 Bassmaster Classic win last February.

Michigan’s Kevin VanDam, now just under $3.5 million, still tops the list of all-time BASS money winners. A distant second is Missouri pro Denny Brauer, whose $2.3 million total still stands as the runnerup to the kid from Kalamazoo.

VanDam, Brauer, Reese and Clunn are the only four pros to have surpassed the $2 million mark in BASS earnings. Alton Jones, however, is staging to join them; he’s about $175,000 from the mark.

VanDam is the sole member of the $3 million “club.”

NO VACATION FOR THE NATION: Bassmaster Elite Series pros had the month of July off. Not so for the amateur anglers of the BASS Federation Nation.

Last week’s Eastern Divisional event in Ontario qualified eight more Federation Nation anglers for the Oct. 28-30 BASS Federation Nation Championship presented by Yamaha Outboards and Skeeter Boats on the Harris Chain of Lakes out of Tavares, Fla. From the championship, six will emerge as qualifiers for the 2010 Bassmaster Classic.

The six amateurs will be part of the Classic’s 51-angler field – most will be full-time pros – for the 40th edition of the Classic, the sport’s most prestigious event.

Set for Feb. 19-21 on Lay Lake out of Birmingham, Ala., the Classic will pay out nearly $1.2 million; $500,000 of that will be the winner’s take.

TROOPS SUPPORT: Bassmaster Elite Series pro Marty Stone of Linden, N.C., plans to be spending at least one of his August days on the water escorting a group of people very dear to him: U.S. Air Force personnel.

Only fair: Last year Stone was a guest of the Air Force when he went up in an F-15E Strike Eagle, an aircraft capable of Mach 2.5.

“The fishing trip is just one of my little ways to thank the Air Force for taking me up,” Stone said.

Seven airmen from Seymour Johnson AFB will join Stone and Elite pros Dave Wolak, Britt Myers and Dustin Wilks, among other friends.

PROBABLY NOT A BLACK BASS: “I’m so used to knowing what all the fish are wherever I go, this is kind of a shock.” – Alton Jones, Bassmaster Elite pro and 2008 Classic champion, in his Bassmaster.com blog about snorkeling in Hawaii on his family vacation

About BASS

For more than 40 years, BASS has served as the authority on bass fishing. With its considerable multimedia 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 broadband sports 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, Academy Sports + Outdoors Women’s Bassmaster Tour and the ultimate celebration of competitive fishing, the Bassmaster Classic. Through its grassroots network, the BASS Federation Nation, BASS annually sanctions more than 20,000 events.

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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