Inside BASS: Quinn is the Man in Upcoming Lake Wylie Bassmaster Major
With back-to-back CITGO Bassmaster Elite Series events behind him, Jason Quinn is finally allowing himself to think about the upcoming Major — the Bassmaster American presented by Advance Auto Parts, July 27-30, on his home waters of Lake Wylie in Charlotte, N.C. The 34-year-old South Carolina pro is a longtime guide on Lake Wylie, which straddles the Carolinas border. That fact, along with his solid career track record and 2006 Bassmaster Elite Series successes, makes him the heavy favorite to claim the whopping $250,000 top prize in the Bassmaster American.
“I can’t wait for the Major. I really can’t wait,” Quinn said. “I’m looking forward to getting back there.”
The earring-laden angler will go into the Charlotte event with the momentum that comes from fishing well throughout the season. Quinn has missed only two top-50 cuts in the nine Elite Series tournaments. As a result, he has earned $87,500 so far in 2006.
“My season has gone really well,” he said. “I’m in 11th in the Angler of the Year standings, so I feel like I’ve had a good year.
“In the Tour and Elite events, I fished consistently for a couple of years and I made the Classic three times. Last year, I did something a little bit different.
“Because we’ve got so many tournaments this year, I went back to concentrating on consistency. Being consistent, catching enough fish to make the first cut — the top 50 — and get some good Classic points along with some money.”
For Quinn, the Bassmaster American could be déjà vu all over again.
He was the big pre-tournament favorite in the 2004 CITGO Bassmaster Classic on Lake Wylie. In fact, he was one of the biggest pre-Classic favorites in the event’s history. Although he posted a respectable sixth-place finish, Quinn’s chances were doomed by his local popularity — as many as 50 boats followed his every move at times, impacting his success.
“I’m sure I’ll have some boats following me. Then there will be some boats following other guys. It’s going to be a circus,” he said. “I’m not going to be able to hide. I will not be out there practicing on my better spots during (the three-day) practice. You can count on that.”
SHE’S THE BEST. Best Angler ESPY winner Tammy Richardson of Amity, Ark., in enjoying her new-found fame back home. The small-town girl, who’s fishing the Mercury Marine Women’s Bassmaster Tour presented by Triton Boats, got back from the ESPYs in Hollywood to find poster boards and signs all over town congratulating her on the win. They are at the local bank, shops, and even churches.
“Everyone in town was so excited for me,” she said. “I had such a good time and it was a once-in-a-lifetime experience.”
Richardson, who is heading to North Carolina for the third WBT event on July 27-29, said she was star struck at the ceremony, and met show host Lance Armstrong and NBA star LeBron James, among others. She never imagined winning an ESPY would be so fun. “I never expected this,” she said.
OVERLOOKED FEAT. Somewhat overshadowed in his recent victory in the Bassmaster Elite Series tournament on New York’s Oneida Lake is the fact that Tommy Biffle joined the exclusive BASS millionaires club. By pocketing $101,500 for the win and contingency awards, the 48-year-old Oklahoma pro became the 16th Bassmaster pro to top the $1 million mark in earnings, with $1,010,478.80.
ANOTHER MARTENS. In the early 1990s, Carol Martens used to team with son Aaron in California tournaments. She later went on to compete in Bassmaster Invitational and Open tournaments, as well as the preview event of the Mercury Marine Women’s Bassmaster Tour presented by Triton Boats.
Aaron Martens went on to become the reigning CITGO Bassmaster Angler of the Year and now, early indications are that a third Martens is working his way up the BASS ranks. Justin Martens, Aaron’s nephew, has been doing well as a co-angler in Bassmaster Elite Series tournaments. He finished 14th at the Empire Chase on Oneida Lake and 22nd in last weekend’s Champion’s Choice on Lake Champlain.
Justin Martens, 19, has been traveling with and learning from his uncle the last three summers and while these were the first two BASS events he’s fished, he plans to get his college degree in California and then become a professional angler.
MORE RELATIVES. Two of Kevin VanDam’s nephews also joined the co-angler ranks during the past two Bassmaster Elite Series competitions.
Jonathan VanDam finished 16th at Oneida Lake and was 52nd at Champlain. Stephen Gould’s performances were 71st at Oneida and 14th at Champlain. Both share their uncle’s hometown of Kalamazoo, Mich. “They both had a blast for two weeks,” said Kevin VanDam.
WILL FISH FOR FOOD. Don’t expect to see Marcia Rubin of Ohio on the street corner holding such a sign.
But the Women’s Bassmaster Tour competitor is using a novel approach to help finance her tournament efforts.
On her Web site (http://www.reelady.com) is a section titled “Make a Donation” with a PayPal link. “Please consider making a donation to my Women's Bassmaster tournament fishing fund to help offset some tournament expenses,” it reads.
WRAP RAP. Women’s Bassmaster Tour pro Janet Parker has a new title sponsor — Aaron Rents Inc., a national furniture rental, sales and lease company. Her Triton boat was wrapped last week by Jax Wraps in Jacksonville, Fla.
Aaron Rents also sponsors NASCAR’s Michael Waltrip.
WEIRDEST CATCH. You could say Joe Thomas has cat-like quickness.
The veteran Ohio pro had an encounter with a feline during a recent Elite Series tournament when he accidentally flung a crankbait up on the shore. He was about to pull it back toward the water when a cat sprang from some nearby bushes and pounced on the lure.
To keep from hooking the tabby, Thomas peeled off line as the cat walked away with the crankbait. “I didn’t know what to do other than feed out line,” he said. “I didn’t want to jerk it because I was afraid I’d really hook it if I did.”
Finally, after walking around in circles for several minutes, the cat dropped the lure and walked away.
DID YOU KNOW? Legendary angler Bill Dance will be inducted into the prestigious International Fishing Hall of Fame on Oct. 24 in Dania Beach, Fla.
Dance, who lives in Collierville, Tenn., was a three-time BASS Angler of the Year and eight-time tournament winner before retiring to go into television’s fishing-show business in 1968. His Bill Dance Outdoors program has been on the air ever since.
IF I HADN’T BECOME A BASS PRO … Women’s Bassmaster Tour competitor Secret York would be able to devote her full attention to her job as a heavy-equipment operator and her hobby as a youth league basketball coach in Benton, Ky.
THEY SAID IT. “Man, heaven can't be much better than this. I don't think there's any place out there where you can drop your bait in and not catch a fish.” – Veteran Texas Bassmaster Elite Series pro Gary Klein was full of praise for Oneida Lake, according to his comments in the Syracuse Post-Standard.
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