Frank Scalish has been the Comeback Kid on this year's CITGO BASSMASTER Tour, coming from behind in the last tournament of the season to grab the final berth for the 32nd annual CITGO BASSMASTER Classic.
Now he has to do it again after stumbling in the first day of competition.
"The spots where I was counting on catching a few big bass just did not produce," said Scalish. "I worked them hard, hoping they would give up the big fish I caught here in practice."
Scalish had to scramble late in the day to corral four small spotted bass that weighed just 4 pounds, 3 ounces. The first angler to weigh in fish on the Birmingham-Jefferson Civic Center stage on Thursday afternoon, he was 42nd in the standings at the end.
"Sure, I'm disappointed," said Scalish. "But I'm not ready to give up. I'll go back out there and just go fishing. I know I can catch a nice stringer and move up in the standings."
Media exposure made Scalish's task a littler tougher on the first day. After being featured in USA Today on Thursday morning and appearing on local broadcasts, he was shadowed by a dozen spectator boats on Thursday morning.
"I didn't expect that," he said. "I'm the Rookie of the Year, not a familiar face like Kevin VanDam, Davy Hite or Roland Martin."
Observor Jack Wollitz of the Youngstown (OH) Vindicator, who fishes in local tournaments around northern Ohio, said he could feel Scalish's frustration.
"Frank had plenty of bites, but the bass were very, very difficult to hook," said Wollitz. "He set the hook on a couple of fish that simply came off before he could put them in the boat."
Scalish says a change in his game plan is in order.
"I don't plan to keep plugging away and hope the fish start biting," said Scalish. "I need to make the changes that will put fish in the boat, and big ones. I want to be out there on the final day (after the field is trimmed to the top 25 anglers)."
By sanctioning over 20,000 tournaments worldwide through its B.A.S.S. Federation, B.A.S.S. is the world's largest fishing organization. The CITGO BASSMASTER Tournament Trail is the oldest and most prestigious pro bass fishing tournament circuit. It continues to set the standard for credibility, professionalism, and sportsmanship after more than three decades. B.A.S.S. is a wholly owned subsidiary of ESPN.
Sponsors of the 2002 CITGO BASSMASTERS Classic include: CITGO Petroleum Corporation, Chevrolet Trucks, Mercury Marine, Yamaha Outboards, Triton Boats, Skeeter Boats, Lowrance Electronics, Flowmaster Exhaust Systems, Kumho Tires, Long John Silver's, MotorGuide Trolling Motors, Bass Pro Shops, Armstrong Industrial Hand Tools, and B.A.S.S. Platinum Visa/First USA.
Associate Sponsors include Bass Cat Boats and G3 Boats.
The 2002 CITGO BASSMASTERS Classic will be presented locally by the State of Alabama, City of Birmingham, Jefferson County and Shelby County.
For more information contact: the CITGO BASSMASTERS Classic Media Center at (205) 458-8339.