LAKEPORT, Calif. — In a record-setting performance on the Bassmaster Elite Series circuit, Steve Kennedy of Auburn, Ala., bested Skeet Reese of Auburn, Calif., by more than five pounds at the "Golden State Shootout presented by Evan Williams Bourbon" on California's Clear Lake.
The BASS record for the heaviest four-day catch had stood for just less than one year before the 37 year-old Kennedy demolished it after catching 122 pounds, 14 ounces of bass for his four-day total. Preston Clark of Palatka, Fla., set the weight record in April of 2006 at an Elite Series event on South Carolina's Santee Cooper Reservoir.
Fishing fans can watch all of the record-breaking action from Clear Lake on Saturday, April 7 on ESPN2 at 9 a.m. ET.
"I can't say anything more than this is absolutely awesome," said the 2006 Toyota Rookie of the Year. "I never thought I could catch this much weight in a BASS tournament. It is amazing."
Kennedy took home the $100,000 top prize for the third Elite stop of the season and also earned an additional $10,000 in contingency prizes for his daily catches on Saturday and Sunday.
It was Saturday that propelled Kennedy into contention for the victory. He caught a 40-pound, 7-ounce limit during the third day of competition and moved up from 12th place into second just behind California's Greg Gutierrez. He followed up that performance with a 32-pound, 10-ounce limit on the final day – good for the heaviest limit of the day.
Kennedy caught the majority of his weighed bass on a row of docks in the southern arm of California's largest natural freshwater lake. Like the majority of the top-12 who competed Sunday, the Elite Series pro worked a variety of swimbaits.
Finishing in a "disappointing" second was Reese. With six top-10 finishes in his last seven BASS events including a runner-up performance in the 2007 Bassmaster Classic, the 37-year-old has been in contention for his third BASS win a number of times.
"I'm shocked that I got beat," said Reese. "I caught 117 pounds of fish for four days and I finished second. That is very frustrating."
Reese also worked swimbaits throwing them to shallow flats that led to spawning grounds. After another strong performance, Reese holds the lead in the Toyota Tundra Bassmaster Angler of the Year race- his overriding goal for the 2007 season is to win the award.
After leading the first three days of competition, 45-year-old Greg Gutierrez of Red Bluff, Calif., fell to third place with 108 pounds, 1 ounce. Rounding out the top five were Gerald Swindle of Hayden, Ala., in fourth with 105 pounds, 8 ounces; and John Murray of Phoenix, Ariz., in fifth with 103 pounds, 1 ounce. '