Alton Jones of Waco, Texas, leads the KmartBASSMASTER Top 150 pro-am tournament on Wheeler Lake in Decatur, Ala., witha five-bass catch weighing 14 pounds, 14 ounces. His catch of one spottedbass and four smallmouth bass came within a 30-minute period this morningwhile the water in Wheeler Lake was moving. "When the water quit flowing,they quit biting," Jones told reporters. Wheeler is one of several powergenerating lakes on the Tennessee River, and current flows are regulated.
"I’m fishing one little area about the size of a Suburban," Jones said. "Ihad three other bites. I just never did connect with those fish."
One fin-thin ounce separates Jones and second-place angler Charles Ingramof Santa Fe., Tenn. Ingram weighed five bass for 14 pounds, 13 ounces.Ingram expects the fishing to be even better Friday because of the warmingwaters. "The water temperature came up about four degrees today," he said."From 49 to about 53 degrees." He backed up his theory with the largestbass of the day -- a 6-pound, 14-ounce largemouth that earned him $1,000 inaddition to bragging rights.
Mike Wurm of Hot Springs, Ark., weighed five bass for 14 pounds, 7 ounces,to claim third place after losing about one and one-half hours this morningwith equipment malfunctions. "And, I was in the last flight," he said. Buthe had a BASSMASTER Tournament limit of five bass per day by 11:45 a.m. CT." Wurm is using one fishing technique to catch a limit of smaller fish, andswitching techniques and baits to catch the larger "lunker" bass that canboost an angler up in the standings.
None of the top three can rest easy. The defending BASS Masters Classicworld champion Denny Brauer ranks fourth. The Camdenton, Mo., anglerweighed a five-bass limit to tally 13 pounds, 12 ounces. "I had a limit by9:30 and left that area," Brauer said.
Daily 2:30 p.m. weigh-ins at Riverwalk Marina are free.
Pro Tour: This tournament is the 5th of seven events on the KmartBASSMASTER Top 150 circuit - one of four qualifying circuits on the $6million pro tour for the BASS Masters ClassicÂ® world championshiptournament scheduled for New Orleans July 29-31. Anglers there will fishthe Mississippi River and the river delta. Daily Classic weigh-ins nextJuly will be held in the Louisiana Superdome.
National Magazine Coverage Of The Tournament: BASSMASTERÂ® Magazine andB.A.S.S. TIMESÂ® will cover this tournament in their May issues
National Television Coverage: The Lake Wheeler tournament will be filmedfor The BASSMASTERS TV Show airing on Saturdays and Sundays on TheNashville Network.
FREE BASSMASTER CASTINGKIDS (Sat., 10:30 a.m. - 1:30 p.m.) is a freenational program designed by B.A.S.S. CEO Helen Sevier to encouragechildren to perfect the basics of fishing - pitching, flipping and casting.Local B.A.S.S. clubs conduct the events, including, when asked, teachingchildren how to make the various casts. The theory is that people who knowthe basics of any sport have more success at it and, as a result, are morelikely to continue it.
The 31-Year-Old BASSMASTER Tournament Trail is the oldest and mostprestigious pro bass fishing tournament circuit. It has set the standardfor credibility, professionalism and sportsmanship for more than threedecades. Its BASS Masters Classic world championship and accompanyingClassic Outdoor Show annually attracts more than 100,000 avid fishing fansand top outdoor journalists each summer. The event is scheduled for NewOrleans July 29-31 with competition on the Mississippi River Delta and freeweigh-ins in the Super Dome.
Antique tackle show: Fans attending the KMART BASSMASTER Top 150 Friday andSaturday have something to keep them occupied while the pros are out on thewater. The River City Antique Fishing Tackle Show is part of the eventsbeing held in conjunction with the tournament. The Decatur show is one of adozen scheduled exhibitions by the club this year and is the only oneslated for Alabama. Many of the items will be abailable for purchase. Theevent is sponsored by The National Fishing Lure Collectors Club (NFLCC), anon-profit, educational, international organization founded in 1976. Formore information about the tackle show, contact the Decatur-Morgan CountyConvention & Visitors Bureau 256-350-2028 or 800-524-6181.
NATIONAL SPONSORS: KMART, Ranger Boats, RangerTrail Trailers, MercuryOutboards, Chevrolet Trucks, ACDelco Voyager Batteries, Humminbird/Zercom,JERZEES American ActiveWear, Wrangler Rugged Wear, Flowmaster ExhaustSystems, Plano Tackle Systems, MotorGuide Trolling Motors, and Pennzoil.REGIONAL SPONSOR: the Decatur/Morgan County Convention and Visitors Bureauand the Decatur-Morgan County Chamber of Commerce.