Ultimate Bass

Sooner Run at Grand Lake

Oklahoman Jeff Kriet Surges to Lead Bassmaster Elite Series Event at Grand LakeGROVE, Okla. – Erasing a margin of more than 8 pounds, home state favorite Jeff Kriet of Ardmore, Okla., boated the biggest limit of the tournament Saturday with 24 pounds, 11 ounces, and took over the lead from BASS’ all-time top money winner Kevin VanDam of Kalamazoo, Mich., at the Sooner Run presented by Longhorn Tobacco.


Kriet has totaled 59 pounds, 13 ounces, over three days of competition and capitalized on a cloudy, rainy day that caused many of the other anglers to struggle. He leads VanDam, already an Elite Series winner in 2007, by a mere 7 ounces.


The seventh Bassmaster Elite Series event of the season will end Sunday with the winner receiving a $100,000 top prize. Fishing fans can view all of the on-the-water action on The Bassmasters on ESPN2 at 9 a.m. ET Saturday, June 30.


An accomplished Elite Series pro, Kriet has appeared in four Bassmaster Classics and has amassed more than $440,000 in earnings in his BASS career. His lone BASS victory came nearly 10 years ago in Oklahoma on Lake Texoma, in a Bassmaster Invitational event, a qualifying circuit. Kriet is focused on victory once again.


“I have struggled closing these tournaments out in the past,” the 38-year-old said. “But I was fairly conservative with my big-fish spots today and I feel that I can really catch them again tomorrow.”


Primarily working jigs and Carolina rigs to rocky points, Kriet built a limit of 4- and 5-pounders Saturday. Duplicating the effort will be tough, but, for the final day of competition, Kriet has identified six spots that he believes hold bigger fish.


{mosgoogle right 6838717991}With a good showing at the Sooner Run, Kriet also gains valuable points in the Toyota Tundra Bassmaster Angler of the Year race. Heading into the Grand Lake event, he was in sixth place, and he now believes that he can make a run at the prestigious award.


“Stranger things have happened,” Kriet said. “I want to win tournaments, but most of all I want to have a shot at the Angler of the Year award. I just want a chance at it heading into the last event.”


VanDam, one of the most accomplished anglers in the sport, slipped Saturday with 16 pounds, 3 ounces. Employing his typical “run-and-gun” approach, the 11-time BASS winner was unable to entice the bigger bites he had on the first two days of competition. However, he believes he has identified a solid pattern for the final day regardless of weather, and he’ll look to move even faster, rotating to spots multiple times throughout the day.


“With the cloudy and rainy weather during the summertime, typically the fish are more aggressive,” the two-time Bassmaster Classic champion said. “But I couldn’t get the bigger ones to bite. It can get interesting in a hurry out there but I never could get the timing down to produce. I like things a lot better when it’s close.”


Regardless of the tournament outcome, VanDam will lead the Angler of the Year standings, as previous leader Skeet Reese failed to qualify for the top-50 cut.


In third Saturday was Elite rookie Marty Robinson of Landrum, S.C., who fell from second with a three-day total of 58 pounds, 1 ounce. Finishing fourth was Kevin Short of Mayflower, Ark., who jumped from 13th with 55 pounds, 14 ounces. In fifth was Davy Hite of Prosperity, S.C., who moved up one spot from sixth with 53 pounds, 3 ounces.


Also finishing in the top 12 who qualified for Sunday were 2007 Bassmaster Classic champion Boyd Duckett in seventh and 2006 Sooner Run champion Mike McClelland in 11th.


The co-angler competition ended Saturday with Chad Kallina of Texas winning a Triton/Mercury boat package valued at $50,000. Kallina, who scored his second victory as an Elite Series co-angler, posted a three-day weight of 38 pounds, 3 ounce. Trailing Kallina were Texan David Stewart with 37 pounds, 11 ounces, and Kansan Robert Heath with 36 pounds, 14 ounces.


Fishing fans can watch live, streaming video of the daily weigh-ins of the Sooner Run presented by Longhorn Tobacco at http://www.ESPNOutdoors.com beginning at 3 p.m. CT. On Sunday, fans can also monitor http://www.ESPNOutdoors.com throughout the day for live updates and Hooked Up with Tommy Sanders and ESPN Outdoors personality Mark Zona. Bob Cobb, former Bassmaster Magazine editor and an Oklahoma native, will join Zona and Sanders on Sunday’s Hooked Up.

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