(Mar. 19, 2004 - EUFAULA, AL.)
Weights were down a bit on day two of the CITGO Bassmaster Tour presented by Busch Beer on Lake Eufaula, but that didn't stop former world champion Denny Brauer.
The Missourian leads with a two-day total of 46 pounds, 10 ounces. His 23-12 catch was the biggest of the day, earning him a $1,000 check for the Busch Heavyweight award. If his weight remains one of the top 10 Heavyweights through next week's Tour season finale and the upcoming Bassmaster Elite 50 series, he will qualify for the $160,000 Busch Shootout Tournament in September.
"I got a little pattern going," Brauer said. "I don't know if it'll hold up or not. I really don't. I could get a goose egg tomorrow or have 25 pounds.
"I went back to a key place that I caught four keepers yesterday," he continued. "There I was able to catch one about 4 pounds in the first hour. Then I fished about another hour and a half and caught another 4 pounder. Things started to get a little crazy in that area, so I went to an area that was kind of hard to get to. The first few casts I made, they absolutely ate it. These were 4-and a-half pounders.
Brauer leads Arkansas' Ron Shuffield, whose two-day weight totaled 41-3. Shuffield, who has been fishing a jig, is looking to keep the weights up and stay in contention to win.
"This has been the most perfect tournament, so far, that I've ever fished. I have not hooked and lost a fish in two days," Shuffield said. "Five of my seven wins have been on a jig, so I'm just throwing it. I'm not getting a lot of bites, but they are good fish.
"Yesterday I caught them and it was almost easy. Today it was really, really tough. I didn't limit out until 1:30 today. I don't really know what I'm going to do tomorrow. I'm just going to try to keep expanding on the pattern that I've got and hope that I can put it in front of five good ones."
The field was cut Friday to the top 12 anglers. In addition to Brauer and Shuffield, North Carolina's David Fritts (37-7), Florida's Mark Rogers (37-2), California's Skeet Reese (36-14), Louisiana's Greg Hackney (36-10), Idaho Bink Desaro (35-13), Texas's Ben Matsubu (34-0), Texas's Gary Klein (33-15), Arkansas's Mark Davis (33-13), Florida's Peter Thliveros (33-12), and Texas's Alton Jones (33-12) will all finish on Saturday in hopes of making the cut to Sunday's Super Six anglers.
Brauer and Davis split the $1,000 for the Purolator Big Bass of the day. They each brought in a lunker weighing 6-14, while Louisiana's Bill Hardman took away the $500 for the Purolator Big Bass on the amateur side.
Also on the amateur side, South Carolina's Billy Schwach leads the field going into their final day of competition with 24 pounds 11 ounces.
The CITGO Bassmaster Tour on Lake Eufaula will continue Saturday. Launch will be at the Lakepoint State Park Marina at 6:30 a.m. Weigh-ins will be at the marina beginning at 3:30 p.m.
Fans can watch "The CITGO Bassmasters" telecast of the Lake Eufaula tournament on Saturday, March 27 at 10:30 a.m. ET/9:30 a.m. CT on ESPN2.
The CITGO Bassmaster Tour events this season feature the highly interactive and family friendly BASS Sponsor Expo area. Sponsors present interactive exhibits and provide a fun family experience for all ages. The Expo will take place from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Saturday and from 12 p.m. until 6 p.m. on Sunday at Lakepoint State Park Marina.
The CastingKids program, presented by CITGO will be held in conjunction with the BASS Sponsor Expo Saturday, from 10:30 a.m.-1 p.m. at the Lakepoint State Park Marina. Children between the ages of 7 and 14 can participate in the contest with the chance to earn a scholarship.
BASS is the world's largest fishing organization, sanctioning more than 20,000 tournaments worldwide through its Federation. This April, BASS introduces the all-new Bassmaster Elite 50 Series, a four-event, no-entry-fee circuit featuring a $1.6 million prize purse for the world's best anglers. The CITGO Bassmaster Tournament Trail presented by Busch Beer is the oldest and most prestigious pro bass-fishing tournament circuit and continues to set the standard for credibility, professionalism and sportsmanship as it has since 1968.
Sponsors of the CITGO Bassmaster Tournament Trail presented by Busch Beer include CITGO Petroleum Corp., Busch Beer, Purolator, Triton Boats, Skeeter Boats, Mercury Marine, Yamaha Outboards, Berkley, Abu Garcia, Lowrance Electronics, Flowmaster Exhaust Systems, MotorGuide, Bass Pro Shops, and BankOne.
Associate Sponsors include G3 Boats and Bryant Heating and Air Conditioning.
Local Sponsors include the Eufaula-Barbour County Chamber of Commerce, State of Alabama Conservation Department.