BassWestUSA - May/June 2009, Page 12

national report

Californian Skeet Reese

Bassmaster Classic is un- doubtedly the crown jewel of bass fishing’s titles and as of the 2009 Classic at Shreveport / Bossier City, Louisiana’s Red River there have been 39 different Bassmaster Classics held. Until Auburn, California’s Skeet Reese held the trophy aloft February 22, 2009 in his 10th trip to the Classic, no Californian had held the title of Bassmaster Classic Champion. Despite his national visibility, and a string of consistently excellent seasons, including his 2007 run that ended in the Toyota Tundra Bassmaster Angler of the Year title, the 39-year-old Reese began the tournament as a dark horse. As happens at high visibility events, pundits had selected anglers with history and proximity to the Red River as their favorites. While the bass fishing media was fo- cused on Greg Hackney the lone competi- tor from Louisiana and Kelly Jordon, Edwin Evers, Gary Klein, all with central United States roots, and of course perennial favor- ite Kevin VanDam; Reese was almost an af- terthought. As the first day came to a close, Reese finished with a solid 15-pound, 8-ounce limit that landed him in 13th place, in contention, but somewhat ‘out of sight, out of mind.’ However, he would make a charge on the second day of the event with a giant 22-pound, 9-ounce limit that would vault him eleven places in the standings to the runner up position heading into the final day with 38 pounds, 1-ounce; only eight ounces behind leader Jami Fralick of Mar- tin, South Dakota. As the final day weigh-in pro- gressed, Mike Iaconelli, the win- ner of the 2003 Bassmaster Classic weighed in a 20-pound, 3-ounce limit to take the lead as the ‘Super Six’ anglers came into Bossier City’s Century Tel Center. One by one they placed their fish on that scales, and one by one they fell short, as Iaconelli held onto the leader’s hot seat until Reese stepped to the podium. As

10

phoTo And sTorY BY dAn o’suLLiVAn

wins Bassmaster Classic

The

he handed his creel to Weighmaster Trip Weldon, Bassmaster Emcee Keith Allen an- nounced that Reese would need to have 16 pounds, 4 ounces to eclipse Iaconelli. As the weight bottomed out at 16 pounds, 12 ounces, Reese knew his total weight of 54 pounds, 13-ounces would be enough to take home the trophy as Fralick, the only man left to weigh in, didn’t have enough weight to close out the victory. Re- ese would only have to wait a few moments to begin the celebration as Fralick was to be the final angler to come to the scales. Fralick’s 10-pound, 9-ounce limit fell short, and the crowning ceremonies began. The win makes Reese one of only 11 other anglers who have won both the Bass- master Classic and Angler of the Year titles. “I’ve always looked at the Angler of the Year title as proof of consistent excellence, so winning that was the primary goal for my career,” said Reese. “Since winning the AOY and coming within four ounces of winning the Classic in 2007 (he finished 2nd to champion Boyd Duckett) I’ve want-

ed to win the Classic; I can’t believe that I won it this year it’s an amazing feeling that I’m sure will take a while to sink in.” Throughout the three day event, Reese would target one of the more fa- miliar community holes on the Red River, a small flat known as ‘Bobo’s Hole’ out- side of the Goose Pond Backwater in pool five, the closest to the take off. The area combined a passageway from the back- water to the main channel, and was re- plete with stumps, laydown logs and lily pad stems on the shallow flat adjacent to deep water. The Goose Pond itself was responsible for the weights of day one leader Boyd Duck- ett, and Aaron Martens and Randy Howell, who all sat in the top 10 after day one. As the fishing pressure and spectator traffic in- creased on the second day, Reese was the benefactor as the fish began to filter out of the backwater to the main river, where they set up for the eventual champion. Reese relied on two patterns to capture his winning weight. The morning bite uti- lized a 3/8-ounce Redemption Lures spinnerbait by Lucky Craft in MS American Shad with a customized pearl skirt and tandem Colorado / wil- low leaf nickel blades on his signature Skeet Reese Lamiglas SR705R and Abu Garcia Revo Winch spooled with 30-pound-test Spiderwire Ultracast braided line. The 5.1:1 retrieve speed of the Revo Winch helped him keep the spinnerbait in the strike zone longer while the braided line helped him pull the largemouth from the pad stems as they would strike and bury up in the cover. In the afternoon, Reese would pick up his Lamiglas SRFT 7108 flipping stick with a Revo SKT reel and a black / blue flake Berkley Crazy Legs Chigger Craw on 20- pound-test Berkley Trilene 100% Fluorocarbon. Reese would slowly pick apart stumps and laydowns in his area, targeting bass seeking cover from the afternoon sun. BW

«

May/June 2009