After a long weekend in unfamiliar but exciting territory in Zapata, Texas, the Bassmaster Elite Series pros next will return to a familiar haunt just down the highway: Lake Amistad, where Elite anglers have produced significant hauls of bass in the past two seasons.
Fishing fans can see all of the on-the-water action from the April 10-13 Battle on the Border on The Bassmasters, which airs Saturday, April 19, at 9 a.m. ET on ESPN2.
The Battle on the Border presented by Mahindra Tractors will be held out of Del Rio, Texas, with a top prize of $100,000 at stake. Amistad, one of America's top bass fisheries, is located on the Texas-Mexico border. The 67,000-acre lake was created with the impoundment of three rivers — the Rio Grande, Pecos and Devils. Bass fishing on Amistad is helped by a number of prime bass habitat options, including abundant hydrilla, hundreds of points, coves, flooded brush, timber, rocky shorelines, inlets, submerged ledges, boulders and drop-offs that go as deep as 200 feet.
Amistad was the site of the 2007 and 2006 season-opening tournaments, and reigning Advance Auto Parts Rookie of the Year Derek Remitz of Madison, Ala., set the record there in 2007 as the quickest to achieve an Elite Series win in a rookie season. He had an overall weight of 111 pounds, 7 ounces. In 2006, the lake surrendered a total of 1,347 bass weighing more than 5,000 pounds for the inaugural Bassmaster Elite Series tournament. Ish Monroe of Hughson, Calif., won the event with a four-day total of 104 pounds, 8 ounces.
"I think the fishing's going to be pretty good," Remitz said of the upcoming tournament. "We've never been there in April before. There'll be a lot more fish that are done spawning. I'm sure to win it, it'll be somewhere a little over 100 pounds again. With the postspawn, I don't think the weights will be down any."
Remitz said he enjoyed a lot of solitude in his favorite spot last season on Amistad, fishing deep ledges in 35 to 40 feet of water, throwing an Omega football jig. Despite recent reports of sizzling temperatures in Texas, he said he's sure the bite will be on again.
"If it's hot, it'll make for some long days, and if it's windy, it'll make it tougher in deep water," Remitz said. "But there are lots of places to go out there to get out of the wind. There's always opportunity to pull one in that's 8 to 10 pounds."
Steve Kennedy of Auburn, Ala., who has had top-five finishes in both of the Elite Series' past events at Amistad, expects the fishing there to be plentiful.
I'm expecting the weights to go down in general, but the top weight may still take more to win," said Kennedy, whose overall catch in the 2007 event totaled 101 pounds, 10 ounces. "You're just as likely to catch a 3-pounder as you are a 7 now."Kennedy said he thinks the Elite pros and their co-anglers are still going to have fun catching a lot of fish at Amistad, and that 100 pounds or more will be needed for the win.
"A wacky worm, topwater will be good," said Kennedy, who plans to try his luck with a swimbait. "They may be out there deep. Every time I've been there, I've fished shallow. I'm expecting an early morning shallow bite, but I've found a few deep places. You've got to mix it up, I really think you're going to have to mix it up."
Daily launches Thursday through Sunday will be at 8 a.m. CT at Diablo East Marina on Hwy 90 in Del Rio. Daily weigh-ins begin at 5 p.m. at the marina.
Fans can meet the Elite Series pros at Angler Alley presented by OPTIMA Batteries on Wednesday, April 9, from 4:30-5:30 p.m. at the Del Rio Civic Center, 1915 Veterans Blvd.
Activities at the Battle on the Border, including music by Nashville Songwriters, will begin Saturday, April 12, and Sunday, April 13, at 2 p.m. at Diablo East Marina.. Fans can "Ask the Experts" during Bassmaster University with the Elite pros, set for Saturday, April 12, at 4 p.m. at Diablo East Marina.Sunday's activities include the live taping of Hooked Up, hosted by ESPN Outdoors personalities Tommy Sanders and Mark Zona. The show will air on Bassmaster.com on Sunday, April 13, before Sunday's final weigh-in. Live, streaming video of the Battle on the Border's daily weigh-ins begins at 5 p.m. ET on Bassmaster.com.
The local sponsor of the Battle on the Border is the Del Rio Convention & Visitors Bureau.
Sponsors of the Bassmaster Elite Series include Toyota Tundra, Advance Auto Parts, Berkley, Lowrance, Mercury, Purolator, Skeeter, Yamaha, Evan Williams Bourbon, Longhorn, OPTIMA Batteries, Triton Boats, Costa Del Mar, MotorGuide and Ramada Worldwide.