Final Bassmaster Central Open on Lake Texoma to Determine Classic, Elite Series Qualifiers

Category: press release

 Oct 20th, 2008 by OutdoorsFIRST 

Modified Oct 20th, 2008 at 12:00 AM

The pros in the Oct. 30-Nov. 1 Bassmaster Central Open season finale on Lake Texoma out of Denison, Texas, will be fishing for points as well as for pounds.

The top prize of $45,000 is the goal of every pro in next week’s tournament. But several of the pros are within range of another big prize – one of three 2009 Bassmaster Classic berths up for grabs through the Central Open – and they’ll need points earned at Texoma to make that happen.

The top three finishers in the Central Open points standings, fashioned after the Toyota Tundra Bassmaster Angler of the Year points, after the Texoma event will qualify for the Classic, Feb. 20-22 out of Shreveport-Bossier City, La. The Central Open pros will join 48 other anglers for the competition on the Red River.

To secure a ticket to the Classic, the current top three in the Central points race will have to fend off all comers. Points leader Jerry Williams of Conway, Ark., has a 65-point margin to ride on, thanks to a strong showing in the season’s first two Open events.

In second place is Aaron Johnson of Bossier City, who won the Kentucky Lake event in September. Johnson is only six points in front of Billy McCaghren Jr. of Mayflower, Ark., winner of the season-opener on the Red River.

“The Classic’s my goal,” said McCaghren. “I’m going to do the best I can to stay up there in points. I’ll just have to wait and see when I get to Texoma. I’ve been there once, so I have seen the lake. I’ve thought a lot about the Elite Series, but I’ll have to wait and see how this ends up.”

McCaghren’s thoughts on the Bassmaster Elite Series have to do with the fact that the 10 pros with the highest point totals from the Central Open season will get a coveted invitation to join the 2009 Elite circuit, which will kick off March 12-15 on another Texas fishery, Lake Amistad.

But no one has the points race in the bag. One of the anglers making a run at a Classic berth is Michael Burns of Plano, Texas, a 39-year-old financial manager competing in his second Open season. He sits sixth in the standings, just 10 points below McCaghren.

“Making it to the Classic was definitely a goal when I entered the Opens,” Burns said. “Fishing the Classic would be a once-in-a lifetime event.”

Perhaps in Burns’ favor is that he considers Texoma to be home water.

“It’s a time of the year I like to fish up there,” he said. “The question will be who can find the bigger fish. I think limits will be easy to find, but it will be harder to catch the big fish.

“It’s an interesting time of year. Usually the shad are into their normal fall migration and become shallower, and the bass will definitely follow them. The strong patterns that time of the year will depend on the weather – the bass will either be on the points, the rocks, or back in coves chasing shad. Brushpiles sometimes can become a factor, but that’s really dependent upon the weather. If we get clear and sunny conditions, the fish will pull back on any brushpiles, otherwise they’ll be out roaming, chasing the shad.”

Fans are invited to the Open’s Thursday-Saturday takeoffs and weigh-ins at Highport Resort and Marina, 120 Texoma Harbor Drive in Pottsboro, Texas. The pros will launch at 7:30 a.m. CT, and the weigh-ins are scheduled to begin at 3:45 p.m. CT. All events are free and open to the public.

Bassmaster.com will provide coverage that includes live, streaming video of the daily weigh-ins and real-time leaderboards beginning at 4:45 p.m. ET each day. Photo galleries and daily results also will be available at Bassmaster.com.

Competing from the back of the pros’ boats will be co-anglers vying for their division’s top award, a $32,000 Triton/Mercury rig.

The Lake Texoma event is hosted by the Denison Chamber of Commerce. Information about the city – known as the birthplace of 34th U.S. president Dwight D. Eisenhower – is at http://www.denisontexas.us. The host hotels are Comfort Inn & Suites and Holiday Inn Express in Denison.

Bassmaster Open sponsors include Toyota Tundra, Advance Auto Parts, Berkley, Lowrance, Mercury, Purolator, Skeeter, Yamaha, Optima Batteries and Triton Boats.

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