Anglers gear up for Bassmaster Memorial

What's at stake

 $601,400 in cash to the top 25 pros, including $250,000 to the champion as well as the Don Butler Memorial trophy.


 For the first time ever, ESPN2 will provide same-day coverage of a regular-season BASS event. Coverage of the Bassmaster Memorial weigh-in at Will Rogers Coliseum will air Sunday, May 21 at 7 p.m. ET.

 ESPN2's expanded tournament coverage of the Bassmaster Memorial will be featured on The CITGO Bassmasters on May 27 at 10 a.m ET.

 The pros said it

 "Eagle Mountain Lake is fishing about the way I thought it would. The water level increased by about 15 to 18 inches and there is just a ton of ways to catch them right now. I probably have had about 20 bites today." — Gary Klein, 48, Weatherford, Texas, two-time CITGO Bassmaster Angler of the Year

 "The shad can be found all around docks and when you present moving baits, the bass are really feeding on them." — Brian Snowden, 33, of Springfield, Mo., who is ranked 74th on the Bassmaster Elite Series Power Index

 The lake has a lot of potential. Right now, the fish are in a post-spawn state and you can catch them in shallow water. With this field, there will be a lot of different patterns used and some of these guys will find a way to catch them." — Davy Hite, who will turn 41 on Thursday, winner of the last CITGO Bassmaster Elite Series tournament on Clarks Hill Lake.This is a very small lake, so boat traffic will be a problem. At this point, it is basically guys waiting to find the right boat docks that will produce that one kicker fish that can get you to the top." — Peter Thliveros, 45, who is ninth on the BASS all-time money list.

 The strategy

 Klein: In a tournament where there is an abundance of little fish, Klein says finding the kicker fish — in the 5 to 6-pound range — will determine who makes the cut. Klein had 20 bites halfway through his second day of practice and is catching bass on a crankbait, flipping a jig and worms.

 Snowden: Snowden is flipping soft-plastics around boat docks in depths of 6 to 10 feet. He has caught a 3-pounder but has yet to locate spots where the all-important kicker fish live.

 Hite: Hite estimates that 25 to 30-pounds will put him safely above the cut. He points to boat traffic as a problem and hasn't found one specific technique that is working for him in practice. He is optimistic he will develop something solid before the tournament begins

Thliveros: Thliveros said boat docks would be the areas of choice for most of the field. He has caught fish throwing soft-plastics and crankbaits around docks. Although boat traffic will limit his areas, his chance at taking home the $250,000 top prize is as good as everyone else's, he said.

 Location and field

 Bassmaster Memorial

 Eagle Mountain Lake: Days 1 & 2

 Benbrook Lake: Days 3 & 4

 Fort Worth, Texas

 May 18-21, 2006


 55 pro anglers

 Cut to top 12 after Day 2

 Cut to top 6 after Day 3


 Days 1 & 2

 West Bay Marina & RV Park

 6925 Liberty School Tap Road

 Azle, Texas 76020

 6:50 a.m. CT

 Days 3 & 4

 Benbrook Marina

 Fort Worth, Texas 76126

 6:50 a.m. CT


 Will Rogers Coliseum

 3401 West Lancaster

 Fort Worth, Texas 76107

 3:30 p.m. CT


 This will mark the first time BASS has visited either fishery.



 82 degrees

 Lake level

 Eagle Mountain Lake: 649 ft. above mean sea level

 Benbrook Lake: 691.49 ft. above mean sea level

 Daily tournament weigh-ins at Will Rogers Coliseum begin at 3:30 p.m. CT, May 18-21. Like the Bassmaster Classic, the Majors also include an ESPN Outdoors Expo, which will be held at the Coliseum's Amon G. Carter Exhibit Hall. It is open Saturday and Sunday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. CT.

 Local Sponsors: Local sponsors include the Fort Worth Convention & Visitors Bureau. For more information, please visit