The Elite 12 Pack Up For the First-Ever Bassmaster Elite Series Postseason
Category: press release
Sep 3rd, 2009 by OutdoorsFIRST
Modified Sep 3rd, 2009 at 12:00 AM
Although he was still nine days away from making his first cast in the Bassmaster Elite Series inaugural postseason competition, Randy Howell stuck close to home this week so he could organize and pack his tackle.
What pushed him to be locked and loaded in plenty of time was not the prospect of a long road trip. From his home in Springville, Ala., Howell will drive less than two hours to reach Wetumpka and Montgomery, the Alabama cities that will host the Sept. 12-18 Toyota Trucks Championship Week.
So what was the rush? Anyone who talked to Howell could hear the reason in his voice: pure, unadulterated excitement.
“I am feeling more excitement for this event than I’ve had for anything else in my career,” he said. “This postseason has drama and suspense. What it can do for my career – for any of our careers – makes it even more exciting.”
Howell is one of 12 pros who will be competing there for the sport’s top title, Toyota Tundra Bassmaster Angler of the Year. The title comes with a $200,000 prize; total payout to the 12 will be $499,500.
Howell had a very good idea which pieces of tackle he should pack, thanks to what he called a “crash course” in the two postseason fisheries, Lake Jordan and the Alabama River. Yes, they are in his state, but neither is home water for him, and he knew he needed to take a good look.
His scouting trip was in July. That was before the off-limits period kicked in, and even before he knew for sure he would finish the regular Elite season as one of the top 12 in the Toyota Tundra Bassmaster Angler of the Year points ranking.
His scouting time looked even more valuable to him when he saw how the reconfigured postseason points tightened the field and put the AOY title within his reach. While he is in a four-way tie for fifth place, he’s only 25 points out of first.
First place is held by 2009 Toyota Tundra Bassmaster Angler of the Year Kevin VanDam of Kalamazoo, Mich. VanDam is only one point in front of 2009 Bassmaster Classic champion Skeet Reese of Auburn, Calif. (A complete list is below.)
The tight field is the source of Howell’s excitement. Howell likes the way the 31-point spread from No. 12 to No. 1 gives everyone a chance.
Howell also likes what he found while scouting Lake Jordan, the fishery for the first half of the postseason, the Sept. 12-13 Berkley PowerBait Trophy Chase. Jordan is a Coosa River impoundment about 22 miles north of Montgomery and a hop-skip from the Wetumpka Civic Center, where the pros will weigh their catches Saturday and Sunday, Sept. 12 and 13, beginning at 4:15 p.m.
“I moved here from North Carolina about 11 years ago, and since I’ve been here, I have become familiar with all the Coosa lakes, but I had only fished Jordan a few times,” Howell said.
“I like the way it fishes,” he added. “It’s unique to have a small lake offer such versatility. There are big spotted bass and big largemouths, and there’s a good mix of shallow water and deeper water – and we may have to fish both to catch the big ones.”
The Elite 12 will have one official practice day on Jordan to scope out the lake’s 188 miles of shoreline surrounding 6,800 acres. That’s enough water to spread out, Howell said, “but I’m sure we’ll be running across each other, perhaps sharing some of the lower lake’s deeper structure.”
The only other postseason pro from Alabama is Gerald Swindle, who won the Angler of the Year title in 2004. He will come into the postseason competition as No. 12. From Warrior, Ala. – not too far from Howell – Swindle may or may not have an edge.
“I knew better than to pre-fish,” he said, “but fishing at home will give me a lot of confidence. When we get there, it’s man-on-man and even if I go in at 12th, I’m going to be trying to rally. Hey, if you’re going to have a fight, have a good one.”
After the Jordan competition, the pros will be off the water until Sept. 16. That will be the one day of practice they’ll get on the Alabama River for the Sept. 17-18 final round of competition, the Evan Williams Bourbon Trophy Triumph. All 12 pros – there’s no cut in this competition – will launch their boats at Montgomery’s Riverwalk facility. Thursday’s weigh-in will begin at 4 p.m. at the Riverwalk Amphitheater. The Friday finale will be at 6 p.m. at the same venue.
After the new Toyota Tundra Bassmaster Angler of the Year is crowned, the Zac Brown Band will perform on the Riverwalk stage. Like all postseason weigh-ins, the concert is free and open to the public.
The City of Wetumpka is the local host of the Berkley PowerBait Trophy Chase. Montgomery and Riverfront Facilities are the local hosts for the Evan Williams Trophy Triumph. More information is available at http://www.Bassmaster.com.
For more information, contact BASS Communications at (407) 566-2208 or visit http://www.Bassmaster.com. Visit http://www.espnoutdoorsmedia.com for ESPN Outdoors’ latest releases and releases.
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. The organization advances the sport through advocacy, outreach and its expansive tournament structure while championing efforts to connect directly with the passionate community of bass anglers through its Bassmaster media vehicles.
As the flagship offering of ESPN Outdoors, the Bassmaster brand and its considerable multimedia platforms are guided by a mission to serve all fishing fans. Through its industry-leading publications Bassmaster Magazine, BASS Times and Fishing Tackle Retailer; comprehensive Web properties in Bassmaster.com, BASSInsider.com, ESPNOutdoors.com and ESPN360.com; and ESPN2 television programming, Bassmaster provides rich, leading-edge content true to the lifestyle.
BASS oversees the prestigious Bassmaster tournament trail, which includes the Bassmaster Elite Series, Bassmaster Opens, Academy Sports + Outdoors Bassmaster Women’s Tour, BASS Federation Nation and the ultimate celebration of competitive fishing, the Bassmaster Classic.
BASS 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.
2009 Bassmaster Elite Series Toyota Trucks Championship Week Field and Standings
1. Kevin VanDam, Kalamazoo, Mich. 205
2. Skeet Reese, Auburn, Calif. 204
3. Alton Jones, Waco, Texas 198
4. Kelly Jordon, Mineola, Texas 182
5. Todd Faircloth, Jasper, Texas 180
5. Randy Howell, Springville, Ala. 180
5. Tommy Biffle, Waggoner, Okla. 180
5. Mark Menendez, Paducah, Ky. 180
9. Gary Klein, Weatherford, Texas 179
10. Cliff Pace, Petal, Miss. 177
11. Mike Iaconelli, Runnemede, N.J. 175
12. Gerald Swindle, Warrior, Ala. 174