DEL RIO, Texas — Only 24 years old and a Bassmaster Elite Series rookie, Madison, Ala., pro Derek Remitz bested 107 of the world's best anglers Sunday by winning the "Battle on the Border presented by Longhorn" with a four-day total of 111 pounds, 7 ounces.
Remitz won the season-opening event on Texas' Lake Amistad by nearly eight pounds over 2006 Toyota Tundra Bassmaster Angler of the Year Mike Iaconelli, who finished second with 103 pounds, 11 ounces.
Iaconelli and Remitz were two of four anglers to post a four-day total weight of more than 100 pounds.
Fishing fans can catch all of the on-the-water action and details of Remitz's winning pattern on The Bassmasters Saturday, March 17, at 9 a.m. ET on ESPN2.
"I am excited to think I'll be watching myself on ESPN2," Remitz said. "I watch The Bassmasters every weekend, so I think it will be a little surreal to see myself on the program."
For all four days of competition, Remitz worked a 3/4-ounce Omega football jig on flats next to underwater bluffs. He said he found eight or nine areas in a productive practice period and exclusively fished those areas during the competition.
Remitz quietly moved up the leaderboard after finishing in 37th place after the first day of competition. He posted three consecutive limits weighing more than 29 pounds. His final-day weight of 31 pounds, 6 ounces was the heaviest.
He earned $100,000 with the win, doubling his total BASS earnings. The rookie qualified for the 2007 Elite Series via his first-place points finish in the 2006 Bassmaster Northern Tour. He recently moved from Texas to Alabama to be more centrally located to travel to the 11 Elite Series events in 2007.
"This is the way you want to start off the Elite Series," said Remitz, who scored the Purolator Big Bass on Sunday, an 8-11 lunker. "This is absolutely unbelievable. I guess this will sink in during the next few days but it hasn't hit me yet."
Despite missing out on his sixth BASS win, Iaconelli was satisfied with his runner-up finish on famed Amistad.
"I did the best I could do in this event," the 2003 Bassmaster Classic champion said. "I just got beat. I'm pretty satisfied with my finish, though. Anytime I can do well in one of the early-season events, it's almost a bonus for me."
Iaconelli worked two baits the entire tournament; a Berkley PowerBait Beast thrown to trees, and a swimbait around trees.
Rounding out the top five were Steve Kennedy of Auburn, Ala., with 101 pounds, 10 ounces in third; Todd Faircloth of Jasper, Texas, with 100 pounds, 5 ounces in fourth; and Kevin VanDam of Kalamazoo, Mich., with 90 pounds, 13 ounces. 2006 "Battle on the Border" champion Ish Monroe of Hughson, Calif., finished sixth with 87 pounds, 13 ounces.
"Battle on the Border presented by Longhorn" paid a total of $673,150 in cash to the top 50 Elite pros. Pros also earned points that count toward winning the season's-end title of Toyota Tundra Bassmaster Angler of the Year.
The next stop for the 108 Elite Series pros is Stockton, Calif., for the "Duel in the Delta" on the California Delta, March 22-25.