Tournament Story

 

 

Duckett Rides Lucky Charm to Day One Lead at 2009 Bassmaster Classic

Pro Results

SHREVEPORT-BOSSIER CITY, La. – (Feb. 20, 2009) – After a jolt of frost at Friday morning’s launch for Day One of the 39th Bassmaster Classic, 51 competitors settled into their strategies for big bass on the Red River, but only one of them came back with 20-plus pounds. Boyd Duckett of Demopolis, Ala., the 2007 Bassmaster Classic champion, racked up a five-fish limit of 20 pounds, 3 ounces to take the lead on Day One in the three-day Super Bowl of bass fishing.

The 2009 Bassmaster Classic kicked off with temperatures in the low 30s as the crowd started gathering at Red River South Marina before 5 a.m. CT for the 7:15 a.m. launch. The early birds were greeted with a live broadcast of Mike & Mike in the Morning on ESPN Radio and ESPN2 from the docks with host Mike Golic and occasional co-host Erik Kuselias.

Duckett, who used a LaserLure crankbait and a pitching bait all day, edged fellow Bassmaster Elite Series pro Jami Fralick of Martin, S.D., by 1 pound. Fralick brought in a limit weighing 19-3, while Elite pros Fred Roumbanis of Bixby, Okla., (18-4) and Aaron Martens of Leeds, Ala., (18-1) finished third and fourth, respectively. BASS Federation Nation qualifier Terry Fitzpatrick of Waukon, Iowa, rounded out the top five, weighing in a limit at 18-0.

Martens had the big bass of the day, a 7-pound, 1-ounce largemouth.

Duckett, known for wearing bright red shoes during competition because he considers them lucky, might’ve gotten his hot start because of a lucky four-leaf clover charm his mother overnighted to him from Austin, Texas, or it might have been that he camped out for the day in two locations.

“You can’t really do a whole lot of running here, it takes so long to get back,” said Duckett, who won the Classic on his home waters two years ago on Lay Lake out of Birmingham, Ala.

Unlike Duckett and Roumbanis, Fralick, who’s fishing one spot with a jig around grass and laydowns, spent most of his day without company. He had a limit before 9 a.m. and culled out two smaller fish before noon.

“I think the whole thing is just the area that I’m fishing,” Fralick said. “It’s not getting pressure, so the fish are aggressive.”

Fralick, who battled down to the wire in the Bassmaster Central Open division to qualify for the Classic, said the excitement of fishing his second Classic was enough to keep him anxious about the overnight wait for the Day Two launch.

Saturday’s forecast includes a high chance of rain around noon.

“I don’t think the rain will matter,” Duckett said. “It’ll probably make them swim some, and they were pretty stuck to the stumps today, so I’ll probably catch more on my crankbait than I do on my pitching bait.”

Fralick said Friday’s early morning wind helped his bite, and an overcast Day Two could help even more.

“In the half hour when the wind laid down, I didn’t get bit,” he said. “So on a cloudy, windy day, they may really bite.”

Duckett said spectator boat traffic compounded the challenges of fishing the Red River.

“You can’t catch a fish around the spectator boats,” Duckett said. “If it made a difference, I trolled away from them today. That’s probably going to play into things tomorrow. Back in these stump fields, all that banging and knocking around hurts, so we’re going to have to make some changes tomorrow.”

Kim Bain-Moore of Alabaster, Ala., who made history Friday in becoming the first woman to fish the Bassmaster Classic, ended Day One in 46th place with two fish and an overall weight of 3 pounds, 6 ounces.

Two-time Classic champion Kevin VanDam, the 2008 Toyota Tundra Bassmaster Angler of the Year, was in 45th place after weighing in four fish for a total of 4-4. Alton Jones, the 2008 Bassmaster Classic champion, was 22nd with a limit weighing 13-5.

The public is invited to attend all launches and weigh-ins and witness the crowning of the 2009 Classic champion, who will claim a first-place prize of $500,000 on Sunday. The total Classic payout is $1.2 million.

Daily launches presented by the Red River Waterway Commission are set for 7:15 a.m. at the Red River South Marina, Highway 71 South in Bossier City. The daily weigh-ins will be at the CenturyTel Center, 2000 CenturyTel Center Drive, Bossier City. CenturyTel’s doors will open at 3:30 p.m., except on Saturday, Feb. 21, when a free concert by Zac Brown Band will begin at 3 p.m.

The 2009 Bassmaster Classic Outdoors Expo presented by Dick’s Sporting Goods continues at the Shreveport Convention Center, 400 Caddo St. Hours are 10 a.m.-7 p.m. Saturday and 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Sunday.

All events are free and open to the public.

ESPN2, ESPN360.com and Bassmaster.com are providing extensive coverage of the three-day competition. ESPN Classic will feature five hours of Bassmaster Classic specials Sunday, Feb. 22, starting at 1 p.m. ET. Schedules are posted at www.Bassmaster.com.

 

Story Courtesy of BASS Inc.

 

 

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Last modified: February 22, 2009