Shallow bite scarce at Elite finale

What's at stake: $673,150 in cash to the top 50 Elite pros. The top 25 co-anglers compete for $115,400 in cash and merchandise. This is the final event of the Elite Series season and contingency awards will be awarded in addition to qualifying spots in the 2007 CITGO Bassmaster Classic and BUSCH Shootout.

 Telecast: The Rock presented by TheraSeed will air on The CITGO Bassmasters on Saturday, Sept. 23 and Saturday Sept. 30 at 10 a.m. ET on ESPN2.

 The Pros Said It

 "This is my favorite kind of fishing and suits my style perfectly. I am fishing similar to everyone else - working a drop-shot rig and a spoon - but I am also going to explore some different patterns as well. There are spots both deep and shallow that could be productive." — Aaron Martens, 34, Leeds, Ala., 2005 CITGO Bassmaster Angler of the Year.

 "I think the better-quality fish will be shallow. I have had a slow day in practice, only catching two fish, but I think I will have them figured out by Thursday. My strategy is to secure a limit early and then find those spots which can produce a quality largemouth. I will probably throw topwater lures and a jig most of the day in shallow water, but I am not afraid to change it up." — Brian Snowden, 33, Reeds Spring, Mo., who placed 10th in the last Elite Series event.

 "Practice has been pretty tough, but if I can find a few keeper-sized fish, I can get on a roll. I am concentrating on deeper water, throwing a drop-shot rig and a football jig. I imagine most of the field is fishing similar to me. This is a huge tournament because I need to move up three spots in the Angler of the Year standings to qualify for the Classic." — Terry Butcher, 35, Talala, Okla., whose highest finish was third this season at the Champion's Choice tournament.

 "I'm not staying in one place too long because I don't want to catch all of the fish during practice, so I haven't caught a limit here. This tournament will be tough because the fish are deep and suspended. That makes them hard to locate and when you do, it's tough to get them to bite." — Randy Yarnall, 50, Womelsdorf, Pa., who finished 21st in the 2006 CITGO Bassmaster Northern Tour event on Lake Champlain.

 The Strategy

 Martens: Martens is looking to secure a spot in the top-12 field of anglers who will fish on Sunday. He believes 34 to 36

pounds would be enough to fish the final day. Martens finished second on Table Rock Lake at a BASS event last year, but it was at a different time of year and not something he believes will help him.

 Snowden: Snowden is confident he can catch a limit early. He feels the topwater bite will remain strong all day and plans to capitalize on it. The Missouri angler had a productive practice and will continue searching for areas with a kicker fish- one that will significantly add to his day's weight.

 Butcher: Although Butcher felt most of the larger fish were located in deep water, he will develop a shallow-water pattern first. Nine pounds a day will be enough to get in the top-50 field, he said, but he is aiming much higher, as he wants to secure a spot in the 2007 CITGO Bassmaster Classic- his goal of this event.

 Yarnall: He will fish a vertical jig and drop-shot for the deep fish and may use a swimbait to catch a few shallow bass. Yarnall said he'd finding keeper fish with each technique, but questioned the number of legal fish in the lake.

 Location and Field

The Rock presented by TheraSeed — CITGO Bassmaster Elite Series

 Table Rock Lake

 Kimberling City, Mo.

 Sept. 14-17

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