TV viewers take note: For the first time ever, ESPN2 will provide same-day coverage of a BASS event outside of the CITGO Bassmaster Classic. Coverage of the Bassmaster Memorial weigh-in will air Sunday, May 21, at 7 p.m. ET.
Observing a payday
Official observers in the Bassmaster Memorial weren't fishing this week but they had something at stake. The observer whose pro caught the biggest bass of the tournament on day two of competition won a brand new Triton TR186 bass boat.
Peter Thliveros caught the biggest fish on the day, but his observer was Bassmaster.com writer Scott Cooley who was ineligible for the prize. Cooley is writing a journal of his tournament experience for Bassmaster.com and because he is technically employed by BASS this week, he could not claim the prize.
The second biggest bass was caught by Kevin VanDam who brought a 4 pound, 15 ounce bass to the stage. His observer, Kent Caulfield of Cherryville, Kan., took home the prize.
Incredibly, this is the second Triton that Caulfield has won through his support of Bassmaster tournaments. In 2004 his name was drawn from over 200,000 entries at the Bassmaster Classic in Charlotte, N.C., to win a new Triton Tr21X and a Toyota Tundra double cab through a year-long sweepstakes held by Purolator.
Tyler adopts a kid
The DFW area lakes probably have a strong sentimental value to Arizona angler Mark Tyler. He met his girlfriend, Stacy, here a year ago when he competed in the Elite event at Lake Lewisville. They couple are now inseparable and travel together all year. Their commitment to each other may have gotten stronger this week after they adopted a kid.
"Stacy and I were camping out at West Bay Marina, whose owner Walter happened to have a bunch of baby goats. She fell in love with this baby goat. It didn't take long for me to realize that we weren't leaving here without it. So we adopted it."
They named the kid Walter.
"When you're finesse fishing under docks you're asking for trouble and I had some trouble."
"I tried to swing for the fences today and I had a four pounder jump off. I feel like Torii Hunter reached over the fence and robbed me of a home run."
"Eagle Mountain Lake got the best of me this week. It's frustrating. You get into this sport for the competition of man against fish. Well, the fish definitely got the best of me this week."
"To fish in a lake like this with only 50 guys, with only an observer in the boat, without having paid an entry fee and for a quarter of a million dollars ... this is what we have all dreamed of for years. Then to have it air on the same day on ESPN — that's incredible."
"Today was the first day I haven't weighed a limit in my Stike King boat. So I had a streak going that ended today."
Same fish, different day
On the first day of competition, John Crews told the audience about a big fish that broke off. Today he got to see that fish again.
"Today I went back to the area where I broke that fish off yesterday, Crews explained. "I was fishing with a Carolina rig and I use a specific kind of swivel ... a very small Spro swivel. I caught a fish today and when I began to remove the hook, I noticed that there was more line coming out of his mouth. I followed the line down and saw another hook. I cut the line and then found my little Spro swivel. So I'm pretty sure it's the same fish I broke off yesterday."
That might have given the Virginia angler a confidence boost and a taste of redemption. But he was also sharing water with current leader, Mike Iaconelli.
"There were three points about 50 yards from each other. I was fishing one that actually divided into two points under water. Ike was on the other two. So I got listen to Ike scream all day."
Tomorrow Crews may have a chance for more redemption and maybe a quieter tournament day. He finished 6th to Iaconelli's first place standing, but both anglers weights will be zeroed when they move to Benbrook lake tomorrow. And since they are fishing a course format, they won't be sharing water.
Jimmy Mize zeroed on the first day of the Bassmaster Memorial, but went right back to the same spot he fished yesterday to prove something to himself. He got that and more.
"I wanted to prove to myself that I could catch a limit," Mize said. "I tied on a very old bait. It was made in probably 1974 or 1975 and I only have a couple of them. It's a square bill Rebel in a color they only made for one year."
Mize caught a keeper on his first cast with the old crankbait and knew his day was going to go differently. But later, a fish broke the line with his prize in his mouth.
"I was disappointed because I only have a few of those left. I ended up coming back to that spot about two and a half hours later and as he trolled by the area where he had lost the fish his bait floated up on top of the water.
"I guess he shook it off. I got it out of the water and tied it back on and went fishing."
With about 20 minutes left in the competition day, Mize hooked another fish on the crankbait and it broke the line again. This time he couldn't come back to see if he would get lucky twice.
"I've got half a mind to go back out there tomorrow and look for it. I'm down to two of them now in my tacklebox."