March 06, 2005

Iaconelli on top on Clarks Hill Reservoir

2005 CITGO Bassmaster Pro Tour Clarks Hill Reservoir, Ga.

Despite his position atop the leader board, Iaconelli said he's, uh, not thinking about winning. AUGUSTA, Ga. The race is on! The CITGO Bassmaster Tour event on Clarks Hill Reservoir began with Maryland's Frank Ippoliti jumping out to a huge lead with his 26-pound, 7-ounce Day One catch. On Day Two, Ippoliti stumbled, giving up the top spot to Guy Eaker, who posted a second round catch of 20-7.

Another day means another leader at Clarks Hill. On Day Three, 2003 CITGO Bassmaster Classic champion Michael Iaconelli of New Jersey posted a catch of 14-9 and a three-day total of 44-7 to grab a slim 6 ounce lead over California's Mike Reynolds. Reynolds had the day's best catch with a limit that weighed 15 pounds, 9 ounces.

Despite his position atop the leader board, Iaconelli said he's not thinking about winning.

"I'm just trying to make the Classic," the charismatic pro said. "Winning would be awesome though. Right now, I'm in 'The Zone'."

Iaconelli is targeting pre-spawn largemouths and has been fishing the same crankbait pattern each day, moving up in the standings from sixth to third and now to first.

Mere ounces behind Iaconelli is Mike Reynolds who moved up from sixth place on the strength of the Busch Heavyweight catch and the Purolator Big Bass of the day, a 7-pound, 2-ounce lunker.

"I'm fishing an area that has lots of big fish," Reynolds said. I've caught them on something different every day. Today it was a spinnerbait."

Each day Reynolds' fish are moving a little further back into a pocket off the Savannah River. On Day Three, he caught them in the back of the pocket. He believes he can do it again tomorrow.


California's Mike Reynolds had the day's best catch with a limit that weighed 15 pounds, 9 ounces. In third place are Arkansas' Jimmy Mize and Oklahoma's Terry Butcher, tied with 40-11.

Alone in fifth is Day Two leader Guy Eaker of North Carolina. The 65-year-old pro weighed in a single 3-pound, 7-ounce bass today and has a total of 39-8.

Rounding out the Super Six is another longtime pro, Texas' David Wharton, with 36-5. Wharton was appreciative of the enthusiastic crowd both on and off the water.

"I had several boats following me today," the affable pro said, "but they were great about staying out of my way and letting me fish."

Just missing the cut were Texas' Gary Yamamoto with 36-0, Oklahoma's Jeff Kriet with 35-8 and first-round leader Frank Ippoliti of Maryland, who zeroed on Day Three.

"I really expected to catch them today," Ippoliti said. "I was working the biggest school of fish I've ever found in the South. During practice, I was catching three pounders, and when I fought them to the boat I could see 10 more fish following. It was amazing. Unfortunately, I was sharing them with Kevin VanDam, and neither of us could catch them today."

VanDam qualified for the semifinal round, but finished in 12th place with 30-7, just behind Missouri's Mark Tucker (32-2) and Arkansas' Larry Nixon (31-13).


Non-boater Chris Snow jumped from fourth place into the winner's circle with a shared weight of 52-4. On the non-boater side of the competition, Tennessee's Chris Snow jumped from fourth place into the winner's circle with a shared weight of 52-4. His catch was just 14 ounces better than Alabama's T.R. Fuller, who made the biggest move in the standings by vaulting from 11th place into second.

Snow used the Purolator Big Bass of the day on the amateur side to take the top prize. His 4-pound largemouth was worth an additional $500.

In the CastingKids competition, Bryan Rosier, 7, and Mac Doyle, 14, took top honors with scores of 90 and 120 respectively. Doyle said he was "just getting into bass fishing," but that winning the CastingKids competition was a great inspiration. He mostly fishes rivers and already has a 7-and-a-half-pound largemouth to his credit.

At just seven years of age, Rosier is already an experienced angler who loves crankbait fishing. His best bass to date is a 4-and-a-half pounder that came from Clarks Hill.

The CITGO Bassmaster Tour event on Clarks Hill Lake will be telecast on The CITGO Bassmasters on Saturday, March 12 at 10:00 a.m. ET on ESPN2.

Sponsors of the CITGO Bassmaster Tour include CITGO Petroleum Corp., Toyota, Busch Beer, Purolator, Triton Boats, Mercury Marine, Berkley, Lowrance Electronics, MotorGuide, Bass Pro Shops and Cialis (tadalafil).


BASS Communications -Mar. 6, 2005

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Posted by DODGE at March 6, 2005 03:29 PM in Tournament (BASS)

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