Ultimate Bass

Women’s Bassmaster Tour heads to Ouachita River

Pam Martin-Wells Legend Boats ProThe race to win a berth in the 2010 Bassmaster Classic will resume when the Academy Sports + Outdoors Women’s Bassmaster Tour plays out April 23-25, when the anglers head to West Monroe, La., for the second event of the season.

Pam Martin-Wells Legend Boats ProThe race to win a berth in the 2010 Bassmaster Classic will resume when the Academy Sports + Outdoors Women’s Bassmaster Tour plays out April 23-25, when the anglers head to West Monroe, La., for the second event of the season.

WBT pros who have scouted the Ouachita River say the water is high and warming, and the bass are biting. The three-day tournament will be the WBT’s first stop on this part of the Ouachita, so it will be new territory for many of the anglers.

On the pro side, the top prize is $1,000 cash and a boat rig valued at $55,000. In the co-angler division, the top prize is $500 cash and a $25,000 boat rig.

Fishing fans can follow the action on Bassmaster.com with live, streaming video and real-time leaderboards. Daily coverage, including photo galleries, stories and standings, also will be available at Bassmaster.com.

Pros will earn points in the Ouachita competition that count toward the season’s most coveted prize, the Toyota Tundra Women’s Bassmaster Tour Angler of the Year trophy and qualification for the Feb. 19-21 Bassmaster Classic on Lay Lake out of Birmingham, Ala. At the end of the season, the WBT pro with the most points will earn the title and a spot in the 2010 Classic. She will follow in the footsteps of Kim Bain-Moore of Alabaster, Ala., who as the 2008 AOY competed in the 2009 Classic, the first woman to qualify for the prestigious competition.

Right now, first in line for the Classic spot is the winner of the season opener, Pam Martin-Wells of Bainbridge, Ga. She, of course, would have to hold her lead in the points race throughout the three remaining regular-season events and the WBT Championship, set for Oct. 16-18 on the Red River out of Shreveport-Bossier City, La.

Ouachita River fishing might prove to be good practice for those who make it to the championship. The Ouachita and Red rivers are similar in that access to bass-rich waters is controlled by water level.

Two weeks before the tournament’s start, WBT pro Meta Burrell of Fort Worth, Texas, said the water was high enough to reach some of the best spots.

“The water’s up so you can get up into some backwater holes now,” said Burrell, “and you can get back into the creeks. There’s a lot of structure, like cypress trees, and there’s buckgrass. You can get into some clear water or you can get into some black water.”

She said she caught good numbers of largemouth bass during pre-practice.

“There’s so much structure to fish here, so many cypress trees, I love it,” she said. “There’s going to be a pattern here for everybody — flip cypress trees all day, run a spinnerbait through — whatever you want, you can do that here.”

She predicted the winner will have to bring in 10 to 15 pounds a day.

Lila Bass, a WBT pro from Austin, Texas, has not been to the Ouachita to practice, but she has done her homework on the river conditions, which includes monitoring water levels at NOAA Web sites.

“The spawn likely will be over, and the bass will be ready to eat when the tournament starts,” Bass said. “It will be an issue of trying to look like food. With the water higher, we’ll be able to get to better spots. There’s a lot of backwaters, like on the Red River — and lots of stumps. It’s definitely a good haven for bass.”

Bass predicted 9 to 10 pounds a day will be needed to make the final-day, top-20 cut.

“I think there will be a lot of fish weighed in. Those with the 3- and 4-pounder kickers will win it.”

Fans are invited to attend the daily launches Thursday through Saturday at 7:15 a.m. CT at Lazarre Park at Hamilton and Thompson streets in West Monroe, La., and the 3:30 p.m. daily weigh-ins at the Academy Sports + Outdoors store at 111 Constitution Drive in West Monroe. Fans can meet and talk with the WBT anglers Wednesday, April 22, at the Academy store. All events are free and open to the public.

The local sponsor of the Women’s Bassmaster Tour stop on the Ouachita River is the Monroe-West Monroe Convention & Visitors Bureau.

Sponsors of the Women’s Bassmaster Tour Title Sponsor: Academy Sports + Outdoors. Official Sponsors: Toyota Trucks, Berkley, BOOYAH Baits, Mercury, OPTIMA Batteries, Skeeter Boats and Yamaha Marine. Supporting Sponsors: Ramada,Triton Boats, LaserLure and Legend Boats.

For more information, contact BASS Communications at (407) 566-2208 or visit Bassmaster.com. Visit ESPNOutdoorsMedia.com for BASS and ESPN Outdoors latest releases, schedules and other news, plus photos and more.



Place Name Hometown Points


1 Pam Martin-Wells Ga. 310
2 Tammy Richardson Ark. 295
2 Emily Shaffer Tenn. 295
4 Rhonda Pope Ga. 285
5 Robin Babb Texas 280
6 Juanita Robinson Texas 276
7 Lisa Johnson Ala. 272
8 Laura Gober Ga. 268
9 Kim Stapp Ga. 264
10 Melinda Mize Ark. 260

About BASS For more than 40 years, BASS has served as the authority on bass fishing. With its considerable multimedia platforms and expansive tournament trail, BASS is guided by its mission to serve all fishing fans. Through its industry-leading publications Bassmaster Magazine, BASS Times and Fishing Tackle Retailer and comprehensive Web properties in ESPN360.com, ESPN’s broadband sports network, Bassmaster.com, BASSInsider.com and ESPNOutdoors.com, the organization is committed to delivering content true to the lifestyle. Additionally, television programming on ESPN2 continues to provide relevant content – from tips and techniques to in-depth tournament coverage – to passionate audiences.

The organization oversees the prestigious Bassmaster tournament trail, which includes the Bassmaster Elite Series, Bassmaster Opens, Academy Sports + Outdoors Women’s Bassmaster Tour and the ultimate celebration of competitive fishing, the Bassmaster Classic. Through its grassroots network, the BASS Federation Nation, BASS annually sanctions more than 20,000 events.

BASS also offers an array of services to its more than 500,000 members while spearheading progressive, positive change on issues related to conservation and water access. The organization is headquartered in Celebration, Fla.

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