Along the All-Star Week campaign trail

B.A.S.S.
Bassmaster Elite Series angler Greg Vinson.

Greg Vinson left his dentist’s office with a new toothbrush and promises from the entire staff to vote for him — and to tell their friends to go to Bassmaster.com and vote for him.

Vinson is campaigning hard to be one of four final entrants in Toyota Trucks All-Star Week, the July 23-31 Bassmaster Elite Series postseason. The $100,000 competition will be on his home water, Lake Jordan and the Alabama River.

Vinson is a pro angler, not a politician, but he knows that even a dental appointment is another chance to ask for the vote. He’s also working Facebook hard, and he has jumped on all recent offers for TV, radio and print interviews.

He feels what he’s doing is working, that he has a chance to win this unique, vote-once-a-day election.

“Everywhere I go, I’ve been getting a lot of support. The feedback’s been awesome,” he said.

Vinson sees his strong 2011 season as the reason fans should vote for him, not because he happens to live in Wetumpka, Ala., the host of the Lake Jordan leg of the postseason. He ended the regular season 11th in the Toyota Tundra Bassmaster Angler of the Year points system.

“I don’t want people to vote for me just because I’m the local guy, but because I’ve earned it,” he emphasized.

Alton Jones finished the points race even higher than Vinson — ninth place. As first man out of the Top 8 cut for a postseason berth, Jones is hoping his 12,000 Facebook and Twitter followers — and their friends — will vote him into the final four.

“I’m pouring myself completely into it (campaigning). We’ll see if I have enough support to get to All-Star Week,” said Jones, who is working the vote from his Waco, Texas, home.

He spends time each day online giving fishing tips based on fan questions, and he thinks the strategy is working.

“I’m finding that people are saying, ‘Thanks for the tips; I voted for you today.’”

Keith Poche is another candidate who feels he has shown he deserves an All-Star berth. He ended the season in 10th place in points.

“My whole thing is, I finished 10th in points and I’m a local guy. So I am saying, ‘Vote for me because I deserve to be there. Give me, a guy who lives in Alabama, an opportunity to represent you.’”

Poche is not missing any opportunities to get the vote.

“I’ve called everybody I know, even people I haven’t talked to in a long while,” Poche said. “I Facebooked it up, I’ve got friends working on Facebook for me, my sponsors are reaching out, people back home in Louisiana are working for me. My brother-in-law is sending about 40 emails once a day.”

Poche, a Louisiana native who moved to Troy, Ala., about 12 years ago to attend college, fished his first bass tournament on Lake Jordan, and he knows the Alabama River well.

Chris Lane, another Elite Series pro who finished the 2011 regular season high in points, has a campaign manager: his wife, Holly Lane.

“She has been doing a fantastic job of campaigning. She’s taken the bull by the horns,” he said.

His wife has been using social media to ask for the vote, he said, working from their Guntersville, Ala., home, while he’s on tour. She’s touched all their contacts, and uses email as well as Facebook.

The last day to vote at Bassmaster.com will be July 10. Each vote is also an entry in a sweepstakes for a $30,000 Triton/Mercury bass boat. There is no limit to voting, but voters are entered only one time in the sweepstakes for the boat.

The pros who get the most votes will be announced by July 13.

After one week, preliminary voting results were published at Bassmaster.com. Michael Iaconelli was leading the Region 1 voting. In Region 2, the leader was Denny Brauer; Aaron Martens was the leader of Region 3; and Skeet Reese was the leader of Region 4. More first-week results by region are expected to be published each day.

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