Hoernke lassos 1st win in shootout

NATCHITOCHES, La. — Sean Hoernke has a really good excuse to miss a wedding.

The Magnolia, Texas, angler didn't escort his longtime girlfriend to a friend's wedding on Saturday because he was too busy winning the CITGO Bassmaster Central Open on the Red River in Louisiana. With the win, Horenke took home a fully rigged Triton boat with Mercury outboard and nearly $10,000 cash.

"I don't think my girlfriend minded too much — now that I've won," he said.

Hoernke, who went into Day 3 in third place, edged out 2006 CITGO Bassmaster Elite Series anglers Takahiro Omori and Gary Klein of Texas with a total weight of 36 pounds, 2 ounces for his first BASS win.

Klein finished in second with a total weight of 35-12 and Omori came in third with 34-9.

Hoernke, 29, said he called his girlfriend after he made the Day 2 cut to let her know he'd be fishing on the water Saturday instead of dancing at the reception.

Her response? "She was happy," he said.

Meanwhile, Omori said he had a disappointing day on the water, bringing in only four fish weighing 5-13. It was a far cry from Day 2, when he brought more than 20 pounds to the scales.

Still, his performance — which included the Purolator Big Bass of the tournament — was just enough to qualify him for the CITGO Bassmaster Open Championship, where the top 25 boaters and non-boaters in the CITGO Bassmaster Central Open point standings compete on the Alabama River in Prattville, Ala., Dec. 1-4, 2005.

The top-five finishers in the Open Championship will move on to the 2006 CITGO Bassmaster Classic Feb. 24-26 on Lake Tohopekaliga in Kissimmee, Fla., and compete for a $500,000 top prize.

Klein also will compete in the Open championship, but already has earned his berth into the Classic.

"I'm ready to get the monkey off my back and finally win the Classic," said the 23-time Classic qualifier, who has five top-five Classic finishes.

The winning non-boater was Louisiana local Jason Bordelon, who led the pack on Day 2. Bordelon lives in Pineville and called Red River his stomping grounds.

Location and Field

CITGO Bassmaster Central Open
Red River
Natchitoches, La.
Nov. 10-12, 2005

Grand Ecore Recreation Area
160 Rufus Morgan Road
Natchitoches, La., 71458

Grand Ecore Recreation Area
160 Rufus Morgan Road
Natchitoches, La., 71458

Day 3 Purolator Big Bass
Boater: Paul Ferguson, 6-3, Arp, Texas
Non-Boater: Austin Banks Jr., 6-3, Madison, Miss.

Purolator Big Bass of the tournament
Boater: Takahiro Omori, 6-8, Emory, Texas

Local sponsors: Local sponsors include the City of Natchitoches.

Bassmaster Open Series sponsors: CITGO Petroleum Corp., Toyota, Busch Beer, Purolator, Triton Boats, Mercury Marine, Berkley, Lowrance Electronics, MotorGuide, Bass Pro Shops and Cialis (tadalafil).