Record Breaking B.A.S.S. Catch

Lake Toho Is Hot!!

Dean Rojas Brings in 108 Pounds, 12 Ounces to Claim Florida Top 150
Final News Story 

Day 1 Story - Day 2

Day 3 Total tournament weight record falls!

Dean Rojas Shatters B.A.S.S. Single Day Mark

New B.A.S.S. One Day Catch Record

Dean Rojas' record breaking limit of 45-02

Photo by: Bassmasters

Final results story: - Back to top  

KISSIMMEE, Fla., Jan. 20, 2001 - Near the end of the $431,450 BASSMASTER Top 150 on Lake Tohopekalgia Saturday, record-smashing Arizona pro Dean Rojas was the only person worried about the outcome.   As it turned out, he could have stayed in bed.

But Rojas was back at it Saturday, putting the finishing touches on one of the most remarkable performances in B.A.S.S. history. His 13 1/2-pound five-bass limit did the unthinkable - break the 100-pound mark - as Rojas increased his record to 108 pounds, 12 ounces for a five-bass limit catch in a four-day tournament. After his nine fellow finalists had weighed in, Rojas maintained a 2-pound, 4-ounce lead before he brought his final-round catch to the scales. 

When the scales had stopped spinning, Rojas had scored a 15-pound, 2-ounce victory and walked away with the $110,000. "I was really nervous about my lead," said Rojas, who enjoyed a cushion of nearly18 pounds entering Saturday's final round. "I was so afraid somebody was going to catch a big bag today and catch up to me. "I'm so excited I'm almost in tears. God, what a tournament. I just had a fantastic week, I only missed one fish all week, which was a 6-pounder. But I couldn't have dreamed this. Who could imagine catching 100 pounds in one tournament?" 

Who could have imagined destroying the B.A.S.S. record for a one-day, five-bass catch with 45 pounds, 2 ounces? Rojas did just that on the opening round, and followed it up with a 34-9 the next day. He actually broke the four-day tournament record with just three days of fishing before completing the task Saturday. 

Arkansas' Mark Davis, who brought in the largest catch Saturday (18-14), finished second with 93-10. Aaron Martens of California placed third with 85-15, followed by Texan Jay Yelas (80-1). Shaw Grigsby of Florida rounded out the top-five with 75-4. 

Like the other leaders, Rojas did most of his damage while sight-fishing for shallow spawning bass. His success came on two Texas-rigged soft-plastic lures - a Lake Fork Tackle Lizard and Hawg Caller Log Crawler. - rigged with a 3/16-ounce Lake Fork Tackle Titanium weight on 25-pound Izor monofilament. 

Although Saturday's overcast and rainy weather limited sight-fishing for visible bass, Rojas scored on the same lures (as well as a Smithwick Devil's Horse jerkbait) fished in shallow vegetation. After his masterful performance, Rojas left Kissimmee marveling at Lake Toho and the Kissimmee Chain, which surrendered two 40-pound-plus limits and 21 bass that topped the 10-pound mark this week. "You hear about California having all these big bass, but they haven't got squat compared to this lake," he said. 

Mark Davis was astonished at catching a 41-10 limit on day two and 93-10 overall -both records if not for Rojas' heroics. "It could only happen to me," he said, smiling. "I congratulate Dean. What he did this week in catching over 100 pounds is amazing. I never thought I would see that happen." Davis' sight-fishing strategy involved fishing a smoke-colored Strike King Denny Brauer Flipping Tube. On Saturday, he changed areas completely and caught the largest limit of the day on a gold-and-black Strike King Premier Diamond Shad. The Arkansas pro and two-time B.A.S.S. Angler of the Year took big-bass honors in the final round with a 7-pound, 11-ounce largemouth. 

Other winners on Saturday included two Apopka youngsters who took top honors in the BAASSMASTER CastingKids contest. Nick Anderson won the 7 to 10 age bracket, while Eddie Cole took the 11 to 14 division. 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 decades. 

Sponsors of the 2001 BASSMASTER Tournament Trail include: Ranger Boats, RangerTrail Trailers, Mercury Outboards, Chevy Trucks, Long John Silvers, Kumhoo Tires, ACDelco Batteries,, 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 was sponsored locally by the Kissimmee, St. Cloud Convention & Visitors Bureau. 

For more information contact: 

B.A.S.S. Communications (334) 272-9530 
or on-site at (888) 822-8470 
Copyright 2001 by B.A.S.S. Inc.

Day 1 Story  - Record one day catch - Back to top

"KISSIMMEE, Fla., Jan. 17, 2000 -- After years of lagging behind California and Texas, the state of Florida took a major step toward reestablishing itself as the Bass Tournament Capital of the World after a record-setting day on Lake Tohopekaliga in the opening round of the $431,450 BASSMASTER Top 150 Wednesday.

Wednesday's catch was nothing short of amazing with two five-bass limits that broke the existing B.A.S.S. record, four 30-pound-plus stringers and another 14 bags that topped the 20-pound mark. In addition, an estimated 12 bass in excess of 10 pounds were weighed in, including three 11-pound-plus largemouths.

Leading the way was Arizona pro Dean Rojas, who destroyed the existing five-bass record of 34 pounds, 7 ounces with a phenomenal stringer weighing 45-2. Included in his remarkable catch were bass weighing 10-13, 10-0, 9-0, 8-2 and 7-9.

"What a fantastic day," Rojas exclaimed as the scales came to a stop. "You guys have an awesome fishery here.

"It was just incredible. These fish moved up shallow more and more as the day went, and they were everywhere. I caught my biggest fish right away and my 7-pounder with less than an hour to go. I left all sorts of fish.

"Forty-five pounds really floors me. I thought I had in the high 30s, but nothing approaching 45. Every time I looked in the livewell, they kept getting bigger and bigger."

Rojas, a two-time BASS Masters Classic qualifier, scored on bedding bass by sight fishing with two Texas-rigged soft-plastic lures: a Lake Fork Tackle Lizard and Hawg Caller Log Crawler. He expects the same pattern to hold up as he sets his sights on the four-day tournament B.A.S.S. record of 91 pounds, 3 ounces.

Before Rojas' heroics, California pro Aaron Martens owned the B.A.S.S. five-bass record for about 20 minutes or so. Martens' limit weighing 34-10 included three big bass (10-6, 9-3 and 8-10) and two small fish (3-15 and 2-13).

"Everything went great," Martens said. "I never missed a fish that I wasn't able to catch on a subsequent cast. I saw every fish that I caught. It was a perfect day."

Defending tournament champion Shaw Grigsby, who flirted with the five-bass record last year with a catch of 32 1/2 pounds, is third after bringing 31-7 to the scales Wednesday. But the Florida pro wasn't as optimistic about his chances as the two leaders. "I think I've used up every fish I've found," he said. "I don't know that I can find many more unless some fresh ones start moving up.

Kentucky's David Walker rode the largest stringer of his career (30-12) to fourth position. Arkansas' Mark Rose rounds out the top-five with 27-9. 

Oklahoma's John Sappington took Wednesday's big-bass honors with a 12 1/2-pound largemouth. Other top catches belonged to reigning B.A.S.S. Angler of the Year Tim Horton (11-6) and Walker (11-12)...."

Copyright 2001 by B.A.S.S. Inc.

Day 2 Story - Back to top

"Rojas Takes Aim At Another B.A.S.S. Mark

"KISSIMMEE, Fla., Jan. 18, 2001 - The onslaught of big bass continued Thursday in the $431,450 BASSMASTER Top 150 as Lake Tohopeklalgia and the Kissimmee Chain again surrendered a 40-pound-plus catch and four 30-pound stringers in the second round of the four-day event.

Although Arkansas' Mark Davis' 41-pound, 10-ounce five-bass limit was the highlight of the day, his heroics were overshadowed by another impressive stringer by first-round leader Dean Rojas. Rojas, a 29-year-old pro from Arizona, opened the tournament with a record-setting catch of 45-2. His Thursday limit weighing 34-9 gives him a two-day total of 79-11.

With two days of fishing remaining, Rojas is just 11 1/2 pounds away from the B.A.S.S. record of 91 pounds, 3 ounces for a four-day, five-bass limit catch.

"It's just been an amazing week," said Rojas, a former BASS Masters Classic qualifier whose highest B.A.S.S. finish is sixth. "This is just an incredible fishery, just full of big bass.

"I moved around today and found some more big fish in different areas.  There are a lot of big fish moving in shallow to spawn, I know I left a lot of them out there. I don't know if I can catch another 30-pound stringer tomorrow, but I should be able to catch a 20-pound bag each of the next two days."

Rojas is leading a pack of sight-fishermen who are targeting big female bass that have migrated into shoreline vegetation to spawn. He again scored with two Texas-rigged soft-plastic lures - a Lake Fork Tackle Lizard and Hawg Caller Log Crawler. - rigged with a 3/16-ounce Lake Fork Tackle Titanium weight on 25-pound Izor monofilament.

Rojas holds a whopping 14-pound, 15-ounce lead over defending tournament champion Shaw Grigsby, who turned in another remarkable showing Thursday.  Grigsby posted his second consecutive 30-pound-plus limit (33-5) to increase his total to 64-12.

"Isn't this a tremendous lake?" Grigsby said. "This is like Florida in the old days. This whole chain of lakes has really come back.  

"There's still a lot of big fish out there that can be caught. I feel like I can catch another 31-pound string, but the way Dean is catching them, that won't be nearly enough."

Mark Davis, the former Classic champion and two-time B.A.S.S. Angler of the Year, stunned the Kissimmee Lakefront Park weigh-in audience with his 41-pound, 10-ounce catch that included a 10-13 and three 8-pound-plus bass. Coming on the heels of his opening-round catch of 20-9, the enormous limit lifted him from 18th to third place.

"I had 10 chances to break the record (45-2) today," Davis said. "I looked at fish that were 10 to 14 pounds that just nipped at my bait. I lost a 10-pounder right beside the boat. But what can I say - I caught 41 pounds.  To heck with the record!"

California sight-fishing expert Aaron Marten's brought in 27-5 Thursday, but fell from second to forth with 61-15. Kentucky's David Walker rounds out the top-five with 52-15. Walker took Thursday's big-bass honors with a 12-2 largemouth.

Six limits topping the 30-pound mark were weighed in Thursday, along with another 10 20-pound-plus catches. Amazingly, the old five-bass record of 34-7 by Mark Tyler of California has been broken by five anglers in the first two days of the Top 150.

At the conclusion of Friday's round, the field will be reduced to the top 10 pros, who retain their weight entering the final day. ..."

For more information contact:
B.A.S.S. Communications

Copyright 2001 by B.A.S.S. Inc.

Day 3 Story - Back to top

"Dean Rojas Continues His Assault on the Record Books in Florida 

KISSIMMEE, Fla., Jan. 19, 2001 - Arizona pro Dean Rojas added another record Friday to his incredible performance in the $431,450 BASSMASTER Top 150 on Lake Tohopeklalgia, eclipsing the 7-year-old B.A.S.S. record for the largest five-bass limit catch
in a four-day tournament. 

David Fritts of North Carolina had held the record since February of 1994 when he caught 20 Lake Seminole bass weighing 91 pounds, 3 ounces. But Rojas needed just three days to bury that record with 15 bass totaling 95 pounds, 3 ounces. 

And Rojas has Saturday's final round to add to his record-breaking weight. 

On Friday, the 29-year-old pro widened his lead with a limit weighing 15-9. He holds a whopping 17-pound, 14-ounce lead entering Saturday's final round in the race for the $110,000 top prize. 

"I had to scramble a lot today," said Rojas, who opened the tournament with a five-bass, one-day record catch of 45-2, followed by 34-9 on Thursday. "We had a lot of cloud cover and a lot of wind today, and that made sight-fishing very difficult. But I was finally able to catch a 6-pounder, thank goodness. 

"I have a big lead, but I still have to go out and catch another decent limit (Saturday). With guys like Shaw Grigsby and Mark Davis and Aaron Martens behind me, they are capable of catching me if I don't. I've got enough fish left to catch another limit, but it might not be a big limit." 

The 150-man field was cut to 10 for Saturday's lucrative final round. California's Aaron Martens is second with 77-6, followed by Mark Davis of Arkansas (74-12) and defending tournament champion Shaw Grigsby of Florida (72-6). Texan Jay Yelas is fifth with 70 1/2 pounds. The other survivors: David Walker, Kentucky, 64-15; John Sappington, Oklahoma, 59-10; Carroll Hagood, Florida, 59-6; Tim Horton, Alabama, 57-10; Jim Bitter, Florida, 56-2. 

"This has just been a phenomenal week for me," said Rojas, who again caught bass with a Hawg Caller Log Crawler and Lake Fork Tackle Lizard. "It's been a dream week." 

The leader board is dominated by sight-fishing pros who have targeted spawning bass in shallow vegetation throughout the tournament.  That strategy produced some mind-boggling catches, including two 40-pound-plus limits. But Friday's wind and cloud cover hampered their ability to spot the spawning females and significantly limited their catches. And Saturday's forecast calls for overcast skies and rain. 

"We're all fishing for second place (Saturday)," Martens said. "Even if Dean stumbled badly, I don't see how we could catch him." 

"Dean has such a big lead, it's all over. I congratulate him," Grigsby agreed. "Dean cannot be caught. His performance has been amazing." 

Georgia pro Stanley Mitchell took Friday's big-bass honors with an 11-pound, 3-ounce largemouth. It was caught on a Zoom Flipping Tube. 

Jimmy Hayes of North Carolina wrapped up the amateur division championship Friday with a three-day total of 24-3. Florida's Dan Flanders was second with 23-15. 

The Florida BASSMASTER Top 150 will conclude Saturday. 
For more information contact:
B.A.S.S. Communications
(334) 272-9530 or on-site at (888) 822-8470

Copyright 2001 by B.A.S.S. Inc.

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