Fishing & Boating News

CITGO BASSMASTER TOUR HITS THE HOME STRETCH

Historic Lake Eufaula Hosts Fifth Stop on 2004 Tour (March 18 - 21)


(Mar. 10, 2004 - EUFAULA, AL.) The 2004 CITGO Bassmaster Tour presented by Busch Beer enters the homestretch March 18-21 with its stop on famed Lake Eufaula. The 25 CITGO Bassmaster Classic spots, the coveted Elite 50 rankings and the CITGO Bassmaster Angler of the Year will be on the line.

"There's a lot at stake," said Alabama pro Gerald Swindle. He should know; Swindle is leading a very competitive Angler of the Year race with just two tournaments remaining.

Swindle also knows Lake Eufaula, where he expects the fishing to be strong when the nation's top pros come to town.

BASS has visited the 45,000-acre reservoir located on the Georgia-Alabama border 15 times over the past 35 years. Situated 85 miles southwest of Montgomery, Lake Eufaula is one of the South's most famous bass waters. Local expert Bobby Padgett of Columbus, Ga., helped write some of the impoundment's impressive history with a 77-pound, 9-ounce catch during a Bassmaster Eastern Invitational event in 1996.

Almost as impressive was last year's Tour event, which was won by Oklahoma's Edwin Evers with 73-5. It also was held in March.

"It could be good," Swindle said. "We've had a good warming trend. So I look for it to be a really good tournament.

"I think the months of March and April turn out some of the biggest weights down there. I look for it to be a pretty heavy-weight tournament. If everything is perfect, I would look to see several 20-pound sacks a day. Over four days, you may be looking at 70 to 80 pounds to win."

Although Lake Eufaula is renowned for its deep offshore ledge fishing, Swindle and others believe the reservoir will fish shallow again during this March tournament.

"March is always a shallow bite. Typical power fishing," Swindle said. "You don't have to finesse them or get out there and do a lot of trick stuff out on those deep ledges. Most of the fish will come from the bank, and it will be real power fishing tournament.

"I think it will be won pretty shallow."

Last March, Evers' winning pattern involved fishing shallow cover with a spinnerbait, a shallow-running crankbait and a plastic lizard.

With the CITGO Bassmaster Angler of the Year title on the line, Swindle was asked if he has a strategic plan for the fifth of six Tour events.

"I don't know what I'm going to do," he replied. "I'll just go down there, look at the water and spool something up and go to winging it. And hope they bite it.

I'll fish shallow. I'm not going to go there and try to reinvent the wheel. I'll probably just pick up a flipping stick and a spinnerbait, which is something I'm comfortable with."

Daily weigh-ins will begin Thursday at 2:45 p.m. at the Lakepoint State Park Marina and are free to the public.

THE CITGO BASSMASTERS ON ESPN2
Fans can catch the fifth event of the 2004 CITGO Bassmaster Tournament Trail on Lake Eufaula, Ala., March 27 at 10:30 a.m. ET/9:30 a.m. CT on ESPN2.