Season on Line for Many at New York’s Oneida Lake, Bassmaster Elite Series’ Final Regular-Season Stop

Category: press release

 Aug 4th, 2009 by OutdoorsFIRST 

Modified Aug 4th, 2009 at 12:00 AM

As the 2009 Bassmaster Elite Series regular season comes to a close, the Ramada Champion’s Choice on Oneida Lake out of Syracuse, N.Y., will once again set the stage for an exciting finish – as well as a beginning of sorts.

Skeet Reese, the 2009 Bassmaster Champion (Photo Courtesy of BASS)

Oneida Lake is known for nail-biters – just one year ago Bassmaster Elite Series pro Todd Faircloth of Jasper, Texas, who was then second in the 2008 Toyota Tundra Bassmaster Angler of the Year standings by a slim margin, was the last to arrive on the weigh-in stage on the final day of the season finale. Waiting for him as he brought up his bag of Oneida Lake bass was three-time Kevin VanDam of Kalamazoo, Mich., who was ahead of Faircloth by 16 points heading into Oneida.

VanDam would prove triumphant, claiming his fourth Toyota Tundra Bassmaster Angler of the Year trophy, while Dean Rojas of Lake Havasu City, Ark., would take the Champion’s Choice trophy after a seven-year spell without an Elite Series victory.

This season, though, the race to the regular-season finish will have as much on the line for more than a dozen of the top Elite Series competitors. Only the top 12 in the final regular-season Toyota Tundra Bassmaster Angler of the Year standings will move on to the inaugural Bassmaster Elite Series postseason, the Toyota Trucks Championship Week.

The Ramada Champion’s Choice includes a top prize of $100,000 and awards pivotal points in the AOY title race. With 1,812 points heading into the event, VanDam leads the AOY standings, as he has for most of the season. Trailing him are 2009 Bassmaster Classic champion Skeet Reese of Auburn, Calif., in second with 1,795 points, and 2008 Bassmaster Classic winner Alton Jones of Waco, Texas, in third with 1,742 points.

Fishing fans can catch all of the on-the-water action from the Champion’s Choice on The Bassmasters, which airs Saturday, August 22, at 9 a.m. ET on ESPN2. The daily weigh-ins for the regular-season finale and the two Elite Series postseason events will air live on ESPN360.com, ESPN’s broadband sports network, while a wealth of unique content will also be available at Bassmaster.com.

The 12 pros who qualify for the inaugural Bassmaster Elite Series postseason will go on to compete for the Toyota Tundra Bassmaster Angler of the Year trophy and the top prize of $200,000. Toyota Trucks Championship Week is set for Sept. 10-18 on two productive Alabama fisheries. The first of the two postseason tournaments, the Trophy Chase, will take place Sept. 12-13 on Lake Jordan out of Wetumpka; the finale, the Evan Williams Bourbon Trophy Triumph, is slated for Sept. 17-18 on the Alabama River from Montgomery.

In the race to qualify for the 2010 Bassmaster Classic, set for Feb. 19-21 on Lay Lake out of Birmingham, Ala., Elite Series veteran Matt Reed of Madisonville, Texas, and rookie Billy McCaghren of Mayflower, Ark., are on the bubble heading into the Champion’s Choice. They are in 37th and 38th, respectively, in the Toyota Tundra Bassmaster Angler of the Year standings. Just three points behind McCaghren in 39th place is 2000 Angler of the Year Timmy Horton of Muscle Shoals, Ala.

BASS qualifies the top 36 anglers in the AOY standings for the Classic, but with Reese’s automatic berth the angler in 37th place will make the Classic cut as well.

Reese, who is fairly confident he has locked up a spot in the inaugural postseason, said he will target both species of Oneida bass, largemouth and smallmouth.

“I’ll go for the smallmouth early to catch a limit, and then target the largemouth to post some weight,” Reese said. “I would say about 14 pounds a day would be pretty good. It will be key finding those 4-pound bites like Dean did last year – it’s a huge tournament for a lot of guys so the pressure will certainly be on.”

In the 2008 tournament on Oneida, Rojas triumphed over changing weather conditions and rotated through three areas while primarily relying on his trademark frog and a Slurpee’s brush beaver flipped to shallow, grassy areas. He also caught a few on a Spro Hydro-Pop and a Trick Stick shad. Known for its smallmouth, Oneida instead yielded largemouth to Rojas and most of the other top finishers.

Rojas said he can’t predict whether his results last season will help him this season on Oneida, as the lake has experienced a cooler-than-normal summer.

“They’re not really having warm temperatures up there,” said Rojas, who will fish an Oneida tournament for the third time. “I’m not sure what that’s going to do to the fishing, both of the other times it’s been warm.

“I’m trying to keep an open mind – it could all change. I’m not really putting too much on what happened last time.”

Rojas said the smallmouth vs. largemouth bite is equally unpredictable and will depend on the water level and quality, and the vegetation. He added that, because of the cooler weather, he’s not sure Oneida will have the vegetation growth it has had in past years.

“I won on largemouth,” Rojas said of 2008, “but the guys behind me had smallmouth. I definitely think they’ll play a factor. You never know, this might be the year that the smallmouth prevail.

“We’ve been under the off-limits, so I don’t know what’s going on up there – and that’s fine with me. I’d rather go up there and fish what’s been placed in front of me. No preconceived notions. Every year I go there I always try something different as a backup plan, and I’ve had to use that.”

Fans are encouraged to attend the Ramada Champion’s Choice daily launches (6 a.m. ET) and weigh-ins (4 p.m.) Thursday through Sunday at Oneida Shores County Park, 9400 Bartell Rd., Brewerton. After Day Two’s competition Friday, the field will be cut to the top 50 anglers for Day Three. Only the top 12 will go on to compete in Day Four.

Other activities Saturday and Sunday at the River Rumble will begin at 1 p.m. ET at Oneida Shores, featuring the popular Dog Training & Retriever Demonstrations Brought To You By SportDog and boat performance and demonstrations with Skeeter (Saturday).

Also on Saturday, fans are invited to experience an “Ask the Experts” session with Elite pros at 3 p.m.

Sunday’s activities will include the live taping of Hooked Up, hosted by ESPN Outdoors personalities Mark Zona and Tommy Sanders. The show, which will air live at 3:30 p.m. ET on Bassmaster.com, will preview Sunday’s final weigh-in.

All events at the Ramada Champion’s Choice are free and open to the public.

For more information, contact BASS Communications at (407) 566-2208 or visit Bassmaster.com. Visit ESPNMediaZone.com for ESPN’s latest releases, schedules and other news, plus photos, video, audio clips and more.

The local sponsor of the Champion’s Choice is the Syracuse Convention & Visitors Bureau.

Official sponsors of the Bassmaster Elite Series: Toyota Trucks, Berkley, BOOYAH Baits, Evan Williams Bourbon, Mercury, OPTIMA Batteries, Skeeter Boats, Yamaha Outboards.

Supporting sponsors of the Bassmaster Elite Series: 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 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.


Media Contact: Doug Grassian; (407) 566-2216 or [email protected]


2009 Genuity River Rumble – Genuity River Rumble Pro Points After Mississippi River, Fort Madison, Iowa Ending 06-14-2009, Day 4
Place Name St Pts
1 Kevin VanDam Mich. 1812
2 Skeet Reese Calif. 1795
3 Alton Jones Texas 1742
4 Gary Klein Texas 1618
5 Aaron Martens Ala. 1590
6 Michael Iaconelli N.J. 1587
7 Kelly Jordon Texas 1576
8 Todd Faircloth Texas 1570
9 Randy Howell Ala. 1568
10 Kevin Short Ark. 1554
11 Mark Menendez Ky. 1534
12 Cliff Pace Miss. 1526
13 Tommy Biffle Okla. 1510
14 Brent Chapman Kan. 1504
15 Shaw Grigsby Fla. 1482
16 Kevin Wirth Ky. 1478
17 Gerald Swindle Ala. 1476
18 Byron Velvick Texas 1473
19 Casey Ashley S.C. 1469
20 Steve Kennedy Ala. 1441
21 Russ Lane Ala. 1438
22 Bobby Lane Fla. 1432
23 Matt Herren Ala. 1430
24 John Murray Ariz. 1423
25 Takahiro Omori Texas 1419
26 Greg Hackney La. 1417
27 Jeff Kriet Okla. 1397
28 Mike McClelland Ark. 1384
29 Mark Tucker Mo. 1374
30 Fred Roumbanis Okla. 1363
31 James Niggemeyer Texas 1362
32 Boyd Duckett Ala. 1360
33 Bradley Hallman Okla. 1359
34 Jami Fralick S.D. 1354
35 Stephen Browning Ark. 1353
36 Davy Hite S.C. 1352
37 Matt Reed Texas 1346
38 Billy Mccaghren Ark. 1336
39 Timmy Horton Ala. 1333
40 Denny Brauer Mo. 1324
41 Terry Scroggins Fla. 1301
42 Bill Lowen Ohio 1291
43 Brian Snowden Mo. 1287
44 Dean Rojas Ariz. 1281
45 Marty Stone N.C. 1280
46 Greg Vinson Ala. 1267
47 Jason Williamson S.C. 1261
48 Rick Morris Va. 1247
49 Todd Auten S.C. 1241
50 Terry Butcher Okla. 1231
51 Edwin Evers Okla. 1227
52 Rick Clunn Mo. 1217
53 Dave Wolak N.C. 1215
54 Pat Golden N.C. 1213
55 Jason Quinn S.C. 1211
56 Bernie Schultz Fla. 1197
57 J Todd Tucker Ga. 1195
57 Mark Tyler Okla. 1195
59 Mark Davis Ark. 1169
59 Dustin Wilks N.C. 1169
61 Jared Lintner Calif. 1166
62 Jeff Connella La. 1152
63 Kotaro Kiriyama Ala. 1151
64 Britt Myers S.C. 1150
64 Brian Clark Texas 1150
66 Chad Griffin Texas 1149
67 Morizo Shimizu Japan 1145
68 Kenyon Hill Okla. 1137
69 Chris Lane Fla. 1136
70 Vince Fulks Okla. 1111
71 Jim Murray Ga. 1085
72 Derek Remitz Ala. 1079
73 Matthew Sphar N.Y. 1065
74 Marty Robinson S.C. 1061
75 Scott Campbell Mo. 1056
76 Pete Ponds Miss. 1047
77 Wade Grooms S.C. 1019
78 Peter Thliveros Fla. 1017
79 Charlie Hartley Ohio 1013
80 Ish Monroe Calif. 1005
81 Guy Eaker N.C. 1003
82 John Crews Va. 985
83 Ken Cook Okla. 977
84 Jimmy Mize Ark. 971
85 Paul Elias Miss. 938
86 Mark Burgess Mass. 909
87 Jeff Reynolds Okla. 905
88 Clark Reehm Ark. 901
89 Scott Rook Ark. 895
90 Zell Rowland Texas 891
91 Luke Gritter Mich. 879
92 Elton Luce Texas 875
93 Grant Goldbeck Md. 872
94 Mike Wurm Ark. 853
95 Jeremy Starks W.Va. 841
96 Yusuke Miyazaki Texas 821
97 Brent Broderick Ohio 729
98 David Smith Okla. 688
99 Jon Bondy Canada 495
100 Kevin Langill N.C. 484

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