Oklahoma’s Terry Butcher Leads Wire-to-Wire to Win Final 2008 Bassmaster Central Open on Lake Texoma
Category: press release
Nov 2nd, 2008 by OutdoorsFIRST
Modified Nov 2nd, 2008 at 12:00 AM
DENISON, Texas – Bassmaster Elite Series pro Terry Butcher of Talala, Okla., claimed a bittersweet victory Saturday at the Bassmaster Central Open, the final Central Open division event of the season, weighing in five fish at 15 pounds, 14 ounces for a three-day total of 46 pounds, 8 ounces.
Along with chasing a victory in the Central Open tournament, the top pros among the 30 who made the cut for the final day were vying for a 2009 Bassmaster Classic berth and an invitation to compete in the 2009 Bassmaster Elite Series, the premier level of tournament fishing.
Butcher claimed the tournament’s top prize but missed out on qualifying for the Classic by just two points in the final Central Open division standings. Ironically, the Elite pro and good friend who loaned him a boat when motor problems plagued Butcher on the first day of the tournament, Jami Fralick of Martin, S.D., was the pro who squeaked past him to qualify for what will be Fralick’s second Classic. It would have been Butcher’s first.
Butcher said his key strategy in winning the event was fishing rocks early, in about 4 to 5 feet of water, and cranking a 4A Bomber in a foxy shad color. He switched in the afternoons to a fat free shad in a chartreuse sparkle color, fishing 8 to 10 feet around brush piles.
“I caught all my fish early in the day,” Butcher said. “My initial limit (on Day Two) I had in the first hour-and-a-half, weighed 13-9.”
The Elite pro, who previously won a BASS event on another Texas lake, Sam Rayburn, said he set out Saturday with the same idea but got plenty nervous when the morning bite around his favorite rocks disappeared. By 10 a.m., he still had no fish.
“I was starting to sweat, and then I backed out and started to fish the brush piles,” Butcher said, “and I got well in a hurry.”
Butcher said he soaked a Yum ribbon-tail worm in plum candy color in the brush piles. For his effort, he earned the $1,000 bonus Saturday for Purolator Big Bass with a 4-10 smallmouth.
Elite Series pro Bradley Hallman of Norman, Okla., jumped from sixth place to finish second Saturday with 34 pounds, 10 ounces, while Michael Burns of Plano, Texas, finished third with 33-9 overall. Rounding out the top five were Elite Series pro Brian Clark of Haltom City, Texas, with 32-15, and Andy Gaia of Tomball, Texas, with 32-9.
Burns’ tournament finish helped vault him to first place in the season-long Central Open division standings and qualify for the Bassmaster Classic. Joining Burns and Fralick in the top three in the standings was Elite pro Rick Clunn of Ava, Mo. The four-time Classic winner earned his BASS-record 32nd Classic berth.
Along with the banner headlines among the pros Saturday, Kathy Crowder of Sherwood, Ark., made some news as one of the first women to win the co-angler division in a BASS series other than the Women’s Bassmaster Tour. With her three-day total of 20 pounds, 10 ounces of Texoma smallmouth, Crowder, who won Purolator Big Bass premiums Thursday and Friday, took home the trophy and a $32,000 Triton/Mercury rig.
“We threw a crankbait early and I had a few swat my buzzbait, I thought, ‘It worked yesterday, why not try it today?’ But they just swatted at it, wouldn’t take it,” Crowder said. “It was looking kind of bleak.”
She said at that point her pro, John Aber of Piedmont, Okla., boated his fifth keeper, then turned around the boat so Crowder could fish for a limit behind the docks near Highport Marina, where he’d caught his. Crowder used a twin-tail grub on a jig.
The 47-year-old said that to win at this event as a co-angler in the same year as Toyota Tundra Women’s Bassmaster Tour Angler of the Year Kim Bain-Moore became the first woman in history to qualify for the Bassmaster Classic meant so much to her it was almost difficult to put into words.
“I’ve got to say I’ve read Bassmaster since I was young,” Crowder said. “I’m excited for Kim, because that’s always been my dream, to fish competitively. I’m excited for where the sport is going, there are more and more men getting comfortable with the idea of fishing with women.
“I think if you really want to build your skills it’s better if you go out and fish the Opens with the men because they will sharpen your skills. I hope to do the WBT next year and see if we can’t get another Classic spot, why not? It has been an incredible week.”
Trey Albright of Gordonville, Texas, finished second with 20-9 overall, and Frank Villa of Windsor, Colo., was third with 17-15 overall. WBT pro Debra Petrowski of Arlington, Texas, finished 29th.
The Denison Chamber of Commerce was the host of the Lake Texoma event. For information about the city – known as the birthplace of 34th United States president Dwight D. Eisenhower – visit http://www.denisontexas.us.
Bassmaster Open sponsors include Toyota Tundra, Advance Auto Parts, Berkley, Lowrance, Mercury, Purolator, Skeeter, Yamaha, Optima Batteries and Triton Boats.