Deb Johnson: BASS Reporter's Notebook

Denny Brauer goes live on 'Day on the Lake'; Dean Alexander reaches for Elite Series; Joey Nania, 19, puts himself to the test; and … The first 20,000 bass are always the hardest

Denny Brauer goes live on 'Day on the Lake'

 Tomorrow (Oct. 20), Bassmaster Elite Series pro Denny Brauer will take apart Missouri's Lake of the Ozarks while fans watch the action live on www.Bassmaster.com.

 "Live Day on the Lake" will begin at 9 a.m. ET and wrap at 1 p.m. ET. This is the first time the show will be offered on Bassmaster.com as well as on BASS Insider. 9 a.m. ET on Oct. 20 to watch on Bassmaster.com. Brauer brings a long and impressive list of credentials to the live challenge. He is a 16-time Bassmaster event winner and a 20-time Bassmaster Classic qualifier. He's also the 1998 Classic champ and a 1997 Toyota Tundra Bassmaster Angler of the Year.

 He lives in Camdenton, Mo., a few miles from Lake of the Ozarks, so to say he knows the fishery is an understatement. Still, the lake will not be a pushover, he said.

 "It's a tough time of year. The lake's starting to turn over, a lot of fronts are going through, and we have another front moving in tonight, so that makes it a little challenging," he said Monday. "Still, it's a great, great fishing lake."

 Going live online doesn't faze the veteran TV show host and tournament competitor. He has been on camera and next to a live microphone countless times.

"It's something I enjoy and hopefully with Live Day on the Lake I can help make anglers better anglers," he said.

 

Dean Alexander reaches for the Elite Series

 A desire to become a Bassmaster Elite Series pro is no less than what you'd expect from a man who wasn't laughing when he declared that "work just gets in the way of fishing."

 Dean Alexander of Florence, Texas, has the type of flex-time "day job" any tournament angler could envy. Installing commercial fire alarm systems is fine work, he says, but if he isn't fishing, he isn't really happy.

 The 36-year-old's chosen track into the Elite Series is the 2010 Bass Pro Shops Bassmaster Central Open circuit. The Central will wrap its season Oct. 21-23 on Lake Texoma out of Denison, Texas, and it will be Alexander's final push to his Elite goal.

 "If I can go to Texoma, and catch them good enough to maintain in points, I — 100 percent — want to do it," said the first-year Open pro. "I'm excited about the possibility of jumping up into the Elites."

 Going into the finale, Alexander is 4th in the Central's points standings. He needs to finish in the top seven to get one of the Central's automatic offers to move up. If he can do more and finish as one of the top two anglers, he'll qualify for the 2011 Bassmaster Classic.

 He is realistic about his Classic chances. He sees Craig Schuff's big tally of 600 points with one tournament to go. More to the point, Schuff has a substantial cushion against his nearest challengers: No. 2, Keith Combs with 545 points; No. 3, Elite pro Clark Reehm with 502; and No. 4, Alexander with 484 points.

 Schuff has such a lead that the hottest contest at Texoma is widely regarded as being the run for the No. 2 spot and second Classic seat. To be in contention for it, Alexander traveled to Texoma late last week to get in several extra practice days.

 He said he hasn't crunched numbers, or mapped out "what-if" points scenarios. He does know who he needs to beat, and what he needs to do.

 "If I needed a hundred points, I would not do anything differently than if I needed four points," he said. "And that's to get out there and do the best I can."

 Tournament results and photo galleries will be available beginning Thursday at www.Bassmaster.com. Free and open to the public, the daily weigh-ins at Highport Marina in Pottsboro, Texas, are set to begin at 3:30 p.m. CT.

 

Joey Nania, 19, puts himself to the test

 Over the next two weeks, 19-year-old Joey Nania of Liberty Lake, Wash., will compete in back-to-back tournaments that could kick his pro career up several notches — or send him back to the drawing table.

 First up for him will be the Oct. 21-23 Bass Pro Shops Bassmaster Central Open on Lake Texoma out of Denison, Texas. About 36 hours after the Open, he'll be miles away on the Red River out of Shreveport-Bossier City, La., practicing for the Oct. 27-29 BASS Federation Nation Championship.

 Nania is hoping the Open will lead to an invitation to join the 2011 Bassmaster Elite Series. At first glance, this may seem out of reach for him this season; he's 40th in points going into the Open season finale, and only the top seven are automatically asked to move up. But he's about 100 points out of the 12th-place spot that could earn one of the delayed invitations extended to others if first-draft pros decline theirs.

 Anyone who has encountered Nania's optimism and confidence would not be surprised to know he intends to win at Texoma.

 "I'm going for it. I don't think I have a chance at the Elites there unless I can win," he said.

 Even at 19, Nania knows the taste of victory. He is a two-time Junior Bassmaster World Championship winner.

 The Federation event could take Nania everywhere he wants to go, including into the 2011 Bassmaster Classic. If in the Federation tournament he outfishes the other 11 anglers within his Western Division, Nania would earn a berth in the upcoming Classic. He would be the youngest qualifier in Classic history.

 And if he were to win the championship by outfishing the other 54 Federation anglers, he would be offered an Elite invitation. He would not become the youngest to join the Elites; Bradley Roy of Kentucky set the record last year when at age 18 he qualified for the 2010 Elite season.

 Nania had been on the road for weeks prior to Monday's first official practice day for Texoma. He and his tournament travel buddy, co-angler Jeremy Smith, left Washington in early October. They spent a week scouting Lake Texoma before Nania hit the Red River for another week of long days on the water searching for fish.

 "It's been tough for some people, and tournament weights have been low," he said of the Red. "I found three solid areas where I think I can catch limits, so I'm excited."

 Leaving Louisiana, the fishing partners whipped back to Texas. They swung by the Dallas airport to pick up Nania's manager, financial backer and No. 1 fan — his father.

 From the water Monday, he talked as he fired cast after cast. He said he feels he's got something solid going for the Open competition, which begins Thursday. He said he's had a few minor equipment breakdowns over the past few weeks, but he worked through them, happy they happened before the tournaments began.

 Above all, he's feeling confident about both tournaments and isn't the least bit concerned that his energy will give out.

 "I'm going to give it my all for about 60 hours in these two tournaments. I've been waiting for this for a long time. If I'm meant to win it and make the Classic or Elites this year, then that's great. If I don't, there's always next year," he said.

 

The first 20,000 bass are always the hardest

 In 1985, New York BASS member Roy Bilby began to keep a log of catches. In the year 2000, he recorded his 10,000th bass. He recently reported to friends that at 9:30 a.m. on Oct. 13, he hit his goal of boating his 20,000 bass … all, of course, caught and released.

advertisement

advertisement