BASS Angler of the Year Race at Full Throttle

Monday, June 16, 2008

The Bassmaster Elite Series will bring its ninth tournament of the season – the Tennessee Triumph presented by Longhorn – to Old Hickory Lake out of Hendersonville, Tenn., marking BASS’ seventh visit to the lake.

Fishing fans can watch the on-the-water action from the June 26-29 Elite Series event on The Bassmasters, which airs Saturday, July 5, at 9 a.m. ET on ESPN2.

Daily weigh-ins and launches will take place at Sanders Ferry Park, 100 Sanders Ferry Rd., Hendersonville. Launches will begin at 6 a.m. CT while weigh-ins will begin at 2:30 p.m. CT.

Old Hickory will play host to the Women’s Bassmaster Tour presented by Academy Sports & Outdoors this week as the third event of the WBT season takes place Thursday through Saturday out of Hendersonville. The Cumberland River impoundment, has been the site of four other pro-level BASS tournaments. One was a Bassmaster Top 100 event in October 1996, won by Missouri’s Chad Brauer — son of Bassmaster Elite Series pro Denny Brauer — with a three-day total of almost 50 pounds.

Fresh off his victory at the Bluegrass Brawl on Kentucky Lake, three-time Toyota Tundra Bassmaster Angler of the Year Kevin VanDam of Kalamazoo, Mich., is excited about the possibilities of another big win in 2008, this time on Old Hickory Lake. In the three pro tournaments held at Hickory Lake since 1996, VanDam has three top-10 finishes – eighth (1999), fifth (1998) and ninth (1996).

Other Elite Series pros who have enjoyed top-10 finishes in pro events at Old Hickory: 2008 Bassmaster Classic winner Alton Jones of Waco, Texas (fifth, 1996); four-time Classic winner Rick Clunn of Ava, Mo. (second, ’96); Tommy Biffle of Wagoner, Okla. (fifth, ’99), three-time Angler of the Year Mark Davis of Mount Ida, Ark. (sixth, ’99; eighth, ’98; ), Davy Hite of Prosperity, S.C. (seventh, ’99) and Ray Sedgwick of Cross, S.C. (10th, ’99; sixth, ’96).

While he thinks the Tennessee Triumph will produce some big bags, VanDam doesn’t think the weights will be similar to those at the two most recent Elite stops: Wheeler Lake in Decatur, Ala., and Kentucky Lake in Guntersville, Ky.

“We’re there at a much different time of year than what I’ve fished there before,” VanDam said. “But it’s like a miniature Wheeler or Kentucky lake, it’s got a lot of river to it on the upper end and a lot of ledges and drops on the lower end. It’s a typical summertime deal, so I’m sure there’ll be a good offshore bite – the lake used to have a lot of grass in it too, in the midsection, so that’s always a factor there, too.”

VanDam predicts that it will take about 15 pounds a day during the four-day Tennessee Triumph to have a shot at winning.

“It being right there near Nashville it gets a lot of pressure,” VanDam said. “For four days – you’re going to see some big limits there, but it’s going to be hard to catch 20-plus-pound bags every day.”

While angling for a first-place prize of $100,000, the Elite pros also are in the thick of the Trail to the Trophy with just three tournaments to go. After last week’s Bluegrass Brawl on Kentucky Lake out of Gilbertsville, Ky., VanDam leads the Angler of the Year points race with 2,043 after his victory on the weekend. His top threat for the $250,000 top prize is Todd Faircloth of Jasper, Texas, who fell to second in AOY points after the weekend but is just 65 points behind VanDam.

“You know, I think about it from the first day of the first tournament of the season,” VanDam said. “But there’s a lot of fishing to go. It’s nice to be in the lead, I’ve had a couple of good weeks in a row, but, as I saw last year, a lot of things can happen … ”

In the race to qualify for the 2009 Bassmaster Classic, Bernie Schultz of Gainesville, Fla., is on the bubble in 39th place with 1,442 points in the Toyota Tundra Bassmaster Angler of the Year standings. Mark Menendez of Paducah, Ky., (1,437 points) and Jared Lintner of Arroyo Grande, Calif., (1,421) are lurking in 40th and 41st, respectively.

Live, streaming video of the Tennessee Triumph’s daily weigh-ins begins at 2:30 p.m. CT on Bassmaster.com. Sunday’s activities include the live taping at 2 p.m. CT of Hooked Up, hosted by BASS emcee Keith Alan and ESPN Outdoors personalities Tommy Sanders and Mark Zona. The show will preview the final weigh-in.

TOYOTA TUNDRA BASSMASTER ANGLER OF THE YEAR STANDINGS
-------------------------------------------
Place Name St Pts
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1 Kevin VanDam Mich. 2043
2 Todd Faircloth Texas 1978
3 Mike McClelland Ark. 1949
4 Skeet Reese Calif. 1898
5 Edwin Evers Okla. 1862
6 Terry Scroggins Fla. 1772
7 Scott Rook Ark. 1770
8 Alton Jones Texas 1741
9 Dean Rojas Ariz. 1735
10 Kenyon Hill Okla. 1719
11 Brian Snowden Mo. 1671
12 Steve Kennedy Ala. 1647
13 Kelly Jordon Texas 1632
14 Bryan Hudgins Fla. 1628
15 Randy Howell Ala. 1618
16 Fred Roumbanis Okla. 1610
17 Mark Davis Ark. 1603
18 Bobby Lane Fla. 1601
19 Kotaro Kiriyama Ala. 1588
20 Byron Velvick Texas 1582
21 Aaron Martens Ala. 1566
22 Casey Ashley S.C. 1551
23 Morizo Shimizu Japan 1549
24 Ish Monroe Calif. 1545
25 Dave Wolak N.C. 1532
26 Rick Morris Va. 1529
27 Dustin Wilks N.C. 1524
27 Derek Remitz Ala. 1524
29 Shaw Grigsby Fla. 1515
30 Timmy Horton Ala. 1513
31 Gary Klein Texas 1494
32 Bill Lowen Ohio 1489
33 Jason Quinn S.C. 1485
34 Britt Myers S.C. 1474
35 Bradley Hallman Okla. 1456
36 Michael Iaconelli N.J. 1447
36 Brent Chapman Kan. 1447
38 Peter Thliveros Fla. 1442
39 Bernie Schultz Fla. 1437
40 Mark Menendez Ky. 1431
41 Jared Lintner Calif. 1421
42 Boyd Duckett Ala. 1415
42 Denny Brauer Mo. 1415
44 Jason Williamson S.C. 1409
45 Gerald Swindle Ala. 1407
46 Davy Hite S.C. 1406
47 Matt Reed Texas 1399
48 Chris Lane Fla. 1396
49 Jeff Kriet Okla. 1389
50 Takahiro Omori Texas 1381
51 Kevin Wirth Ky. 1368
52 Cliff Pace Miss. 1352
53 Marty Stone N.C. 1346
54 Wade Grooms S.C. 1344
55 Kevin Short Ark. 1333
56 Matthew Sphar N.Y. 1330
57 Rick Clunn Mo. 1329
58 Tommy Biffle Okla. 1322
59 Mike Wurm Ark. 1313
60 Scott Campbell Mo. 1309
61 Greg Hackney La. 1305
62 Terry Butcher Okla. 1290
63 Russ Lane Ala. 1286
64 Ray Sedgwick S.C. 1282
65 John Murray Ariz. 1281
66 Jeremy Starks W.Va. 1273
67 Jon Bondy Canada 1265
68 Jeff Connella La. 1252
69 Jami Fralick S.D. 1240
70 Brian Clark Texas 1231
71 Paul Elias Miss. 1217
72 Jeff Reynolds Okla. 1215
73 Billy Brewer Texas 1208
74 Grant Goldbeck Md. 1193
75 Jimmy Mize Ark. 1187
76 James Niggemeyer Texas 1184
77 Mark Tucker Mo. 1176
78 Yusuke Miyazaki Texas 1167
79 David Smith Okla. 1164
79 John Crews Va. 1164
81 Stephen Browning Ark. 1163
82 Corey Waldrop Texas 1161
83 Preston Clark Fla. 1159
84 Kevin Langill N.C. 1129
85 Ken Cook Okla. 1123
86 Jim Murray Ga. 1119
87 Marty Robinson S.C. 1109
88 Clark Reehm Ark. 1106
89 Todd Auten S.C. 1099
90 Pat Golden N.C. 1098
91 Jay Fuller Okla. 1081
92 Kurt Dove Va. 1039
93 Ben Matsubu Texas 1036
94 Zell Rowland Texas 1023
95 Glenn Delong Ohio 1016
96 Pete Ponds Miss. 1012
97 Mark Tyler Okla. 1005
98 Charlie Hartley Ohio 1000
99 Elton Luce Texas 996
100 Guy Eaker N.C. 951
101 David Sherrer La. 917
102 Greg Gutierrez Calif. 914
103 Steve Daniel Fla. 903
104 Rick Ash Pa. 889
105 Matt Amedeo Ohio 875
106 James Kennedy La. 857
107 Randy Allen La. 837
108 Paul Hirosky Pa. 732
109 Bobby Myers Okla. 438


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