One coveted spot remains

CELEBRATION, Fla. — Fifty of the contenders in the 36th CITGO Bassmaster Classic, Feb. 24-26, are busy organizing tackle and studying maps in preparation for the world championship event.

They also are preparing for the three-day official scouting period on Lake Tohopekaliga in Kissimmee, Fla., on Feb.14-16.

But there is one angler that doesn't yet know he will compete in the upcoming Classic.

The final Classic ticket will be punched this month by one of 50 possible boaters at the conclusion of the ESPN Outdoors Bassmaster Series National Championship, Jan. 19-21, on East Lake Tohopekaliga in Florida.

"Because this is the very last berth, all eyes will be on these anglers this week," said Dan Simmons, ESPN Outdoors Bassmaster Series tournament manager. "It's very exciting for both them and for BASS."

The ESPN Outdoors Bassmaster Series National Championship is the crowning event of the inaugural series of one-day tournaments designed to give grassroots-level anglers a quality competitive experience. The winning boater takes home $100,000, as well as the final invitation to the 2006 Classic. The winning non-boater receives $50,000.

The 50-boater field includes four former Classic qualifiers: Jason Quinn, Jamie Horton, Jeff Coble and Kim Carver.

"I really enjoyed fishing these tournaments," said Quinn, a three-time Classic contender from South Carolina." This is my last chance to make the Classic and I'm hoping to make the best of it."

The 2006 CITGO Bassmaster Classic will be hosted by the Kissimmee Convention & Visitors Bureau and the Central Florida Sports Commission.