MONTGOMERY, Ala.- December 20, 2000 -
B.A.S.S. pros from around the country will travel to Lake Okeechobee for
the Florida BASSMASTER Eastern Invitational, January 11-13. Over 300
anglers will be vying for the top prize in the $232,000 event.
With the season at midpoint, the battle to qualify for the BASS Masters
Classic is heating up. The top five anglers in points at season's end
will qualify for fishing's "World Championship."
Currently tied for fifth in the standings is fishing legend Roland
Martin. The nine time B.A.S.S. Angler of the Year, who won at Lake
Okeechobee in 1991 with a 37-pound, 5-ounce total, believes that anglers
will find excellent fishing when they arrive in south Florida.
"It will take a lot of weight to win," Martin, of Clewiston,
Fla., explained. "I fished a tournament with my son recently and we
caught five fish that weighed 24 pounds in one day. It is definitely
possible that somebody could catch a limit that weighs 25 pounds."
If Martin's weight prediction holds, someone could easily surpass the
37-11 mark that Randy Yager of Syracuse, N.Y., won with during the
January 2000 tournament.
With lower water this time of year, anglers will not be able to key on
grass areas. As a result of having to fish shallow waters, anglers
likely will have more success with crankbaits.
"There will be a lot of low water and you will see a lot of open
water cranking," Martin explained. "Most of the guys on the
open flats will be cranking shallow water. There is very little grass
fishing right now, but you will see some fish caught on the Kissimmee
River where it is deeper. The lake doesn't offer much structure fishing
right now, but there are a few river ledges and some dredged out holes
where some success could be found."
Martin also believes that some warm temperatures could prompt a spawn.
"If we have some 75 degree water, it could produce a spawn, which
would be real nice. That would make it a lot of fun because of the
shallow water. The fish will likely be spawning in some gravel areas and
we will be able to see them pretty well."
The Florida BASSMASTER Eastern Invitational is the third of four events
on the BASSMASTER Eastern Invitational Trail this season. The winning
angler in the event will take home $51,000 out of the overall $232,000
purse. In addition to the prize money anglers will be vying to earn
valuable points that will help them qualify for next summer's BASS
Masters Classic. The top five anglers in the season's points standings
will qualify to fish in the "Super Bowl" of bass fishing.
The Florida BASSMASTER Eastern Invitational will launch at Okee-tantie
Additionally, a free CastingKids event, sponsored by Chevy Trucks and
Zebco, will be held there Saturday from 10:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. This
fun-filled national program designed by B.A.S.S. CEO Helen Sevier
encourages children to perfect the skills of casting, pitching and
flipping. Local B.A.S.S. clubs conduct the events and provide
instruction to all youngsters.
The BASSMASTER Tournament Trail is the oldest and most prestigious pro
bass fishing circuit. It continues to set the standard for credibility,
professionalism and sportsmanship, as it has for more than three
Sponsors of the 2001 BASSMASTER Tournament Trail include: Ranger
Boats, RangerTrail Trailers, Mercury Outboards, Chevy Trucks, ACDelco
Batteries, Worldwaters.com, Humminbird/Zercom Marine, Pennzoil Marine,
Flowmaster Exhaust Systems, First USA/B.A.S.S. Platinum Visa, MotorGuide
Trolling Motors, Gore-Tex Outerwear and GMAC Insurance.
The event is sponsored locally by the Okeechobee County Tourism
For more information contact: