New York Fishery Hosts CITGO BASSMASTER Tour Event

CATSKILL, NY - September 5, 2001 - The nation's top bass pros return to the fertile waters of the Hudson River after a six-year hiatus as the New York CITGO BASSMASTER Tour comes to the Catskill resort area Sept. 19-22. At stake are $478,000 and a $110,000 first-place prize.

The BASSMASTER pros first discovered the wealth of bass living in this famous New York river in 1984, when legendary pro Roland Martin collected a winning weight of 50 pounds, 2 ounces. In 1986,Texan David Fenton took top honors on the Hudson with 49-2. The last time the nation's most storied tournament circuit came to the Catskills in 1995, it was Florida's Jim Bitter who walked away the winner with 43-11.

When it comes to sheer numbers of bass, the Hudson River has never disappointed the visiting pros.

"It's an excellent fishery," said Lee Bailey Jr., a Tour competitor from nearby Connecticut who regularly fishes the Hudson. "There are about 70 miles of river the pros can fish, and they'll find both largemouths and smallmouths all along the way."

Strategically, the pros must decide whether they will pursue largemouths, smallmouths or a mixed bag. From the Catskill Point Park launch site, they can go north about 20 miles to the Troy Dam, where smallmouths flourish. Or they can travel downriver where there are more creeks and other largemouth habitat.

Barring a cooling trend on the eve of the tournament, the conditions could create a more challenging Hudson fishery than the pros remember from past visits.

Ohio pro Joe Thomas emphasized that saltwater intrusion has impacted the bass fishery in significant portions of the downriver portion of the river. And Tom Dolin, a frequent Hudson visitor from Palatine Bridge, N.Y., reports that the river has been enduring considerably more muddy conditions than normal.

"It's going to be a tough tournament if the conditions don't change," Dolin, a second-year Tour (formerly Top 150) pro, said via cell phone while scouting the river before it went off-limits to tournament contestants. "I'm on the water now, and the water is muddy. It's been muddy every time I came down to the river this summer. It's pretty dirty right now, but I found a little area that was cleaner and caught a few fish this morning.

"It's tough right now, but if the temperature cools down between now and the tournament, things could get better."

Dolin mentioned another troublesome element - an overgrowth of water chestnut that could frustrate efforts to locate bass in sizable sections of the Hudson. Water chestnut is a small, tough, leafy rooted plant which grows on shallow flats. The explosion of "water chestnut on the river isn't helping matters," Dolin said. "It's grown so much that the fish can get back in there and hide where they're unreachable. Hopefully, it will break up some and the fish will start moving out to the points. Some sections of water chestnut are so massive that finding bass in there is like finding a needle in a haystack."

The water chestnut is so thick in places that outboards cannot penetrate it. So the most popular fishing tactic involves fishing the edges with topwater plugs and spinnerbaits, as well as pitching soft-plastic creatures and rubber-skirted jigs into reachable openings in the vegetation.

>From a tactical standpoint, there are two basic approaches to fishing the Hudson: running the tide and covering a lot of water; or selecting an area and mining it thoroughly throughout the day.

Roland Martin won the 1984 tournament on the Hudson by running the tide. And although he did not pre-fish the river before the off-limits period, the Florida pro knows exactly what he will do this time around.

"I'll be making a big run each day so that I can run the tide again," Martin said. "I'll run 60 miles down the river so that I can duplicate the same (favorable) tidal stage on the way back up the river. Do it right, and you can get six hours of fishing the good tide compared to two or two and a half hours if you don't run the tide."

Dolin has similar plans: "My strategy will be to run-and-gun a little bit and try to catch the tide with the right movement. But if a guy gets on the right little point and stays there real patiently, he could catch a big sack."

Daily weigh-ins take place at Catskill Point Park beginning at 3 p.m. Anglers launch beginning at 6:20 a.m. The field will be cut to the top 10 pros for Saturday's final day of competition.

Additionally, a free BASSMASTER CastingKids event, presented by Chevy Trucks and CITGO, will be held there Saturday from 10:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. This fun-filled national program 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.

By sanctioning over 20,000 tournaments worldwide, B.A.S.S. is the world's largest fishing organization. The CITGO BASSMASTER Tournament Trail is the oldest and most prestigious pro bass fishing tournament circuit. It continues to set the standard for credibility, professionalism, and sportsmanship after more than three decades. B.A.S.S. is a wholly owned subsidiary of ESPN.

Sponsors of the New York CITGO BASSMASTER Tour event include: CITGO, Chevrolet Trucks, Mercury Marine, Yamaha Outboards, Triton Boats, Skeeter Boats, Lowrance Electronics, Pennzoil Marine, Flowmaster Exhaust Systems, Stowaway Batteries, Kumho Tires, Long John Silver's, Gore-Tex Outerwear, MotorGuide Trolling Motors, Bass Pro Shops, Armstrong Industrial Hand Tools, GMAC/ B.A.S.S. Vehicle & Boat Insurance, B.A.S.S. Platinum Visa/First USA.

Associate Sponsors include: Bass Cat Boats, G3 Boats and Champion Boats

The New York CITGO BASSMASTER Tour event is presented locally by Greene County Tourism.

For more information contact:
B.A.S.S. Communications at (334) 272-9530.