Ultimate Bass

The Inaugural Bassmaster Elite Series Postseason

Twelve pros will compete for the 2009 Toyota Tundra Bassmaster Angler of the Year crown and the $200,000 top prize at the events. Second place will receive a $75,000 check. Places three through 12 also will take home a check based on a sliding payout scale, for a total postseason purse of $499,500.

Imagine a dozen sprinters, almost neck-and-neck, two seconds from the finish line. Which runner will put on a burst of speed and win the race?

That scenario illustrates the setup — and the intense drama — for the Sept. 12-18 Toyota Trucks Championship Week, the newly-created two event Postseason, of the Bassmaster Elite Series.

Twelve pros will compete for the 2009 Toyota Tundra Bassmaster Angler of the Year crown and the $200,000 top prize at the events. Second place will receive a $75,000 check. Places three through 12 also will take home a check based on a sliding payout scale, for a total postseason purse of $499,500.

The postseason is made up of two separate competitions. The first will be the Saturday-Sunday, Sept. 12-13, Berkley PowerBait Trophy Chase on Lake Jordan out of Wetumpka, Ala. The action then will then shift to Montgomery and the Alabama River for the Thursday-Friday, Sept. 17-18, Evan Williams Bourbon Trophy Triumph.

The dozen qualifiers fought their way into the postseason by way of their top 12 finish in the regular-season Toyota Tundra Bassmaster Angler of the Year standings. Points were earned according to finishes in each of eight tournaments.

The qualifiers will not begin the postseason with the same points total, but with one based on what they earned in the March-August regular Elite season. Those totals were rounded and adjusted with the awarding of two bonus points to pros who won regular-season Elite events.

The pros will earn additional points after each postseason tournament. So, the most the pro can add to their score is 100 points. Each Postseason event will feature a sliding scale with 50 points to the winner, 10 points to the 12th-place man. After both events, the pro with has earned the highest number of points —regular season points plus postseason points — will be the 2009 AOY.

The reset points spread is so tight that any of the 12 qualifiers could emerge as the AOY. Kevin VanDam of Kalamazoo, Mich., leads with 205 points going into it. In 12th place is the 2004 AOY, Gerald Swindle of Warrior, Ala., with 174 points.

VanDam, the 2008 AOY, is only one point ahead of the 2009 Bassmaster Classic champion, Skeet Reese of Auburn, Calif. VanDam and Reese battled it out last season for the AOY crown.

Reese is only six points ahead of the 2008 Classic winner, Alton Jones of Waco, Texas. Swindle — an Alabama pro who knows the competition waters fairly well — could just as well end up the 2009 AOY.

The pundits are saying that the 2009 race might play out as a VanDam vs. Reese contest. But then again, it might not. With 50 points to a winner, that 31-point spread from No. 1 to No. 12 could change fast. The Postseason will receive two hours of coverage from ESPN2 on Sept. 27 from 5-7 p.m. ET. Bassmaster.com will be the home for Postseason coverage including daily Hooked Up updates, photo galleries, stories, analysis and more.

LUNKER CAM. Fishing fans can get up close and personal with trophy-sized bass via the BASS Lunker Cam presented by Toyota Tundra on Bassmaster.com. For more than 40 years, Glen Lau, who has chronicled bass through his many films, photographs and lectures, teamed with BASS to give fans the opportunity to observe Florida largemouth in a natural habitat through the real-time camera, which provides an unblinking look at the life of several trophy-class fish.

Fans can watch these fish as they feed and interact and apply what they learn from the LunkerCam to their next bass fishing trip. The bass are located near Ocala, Fla., and the video will be available daily from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. (ET). For an exciting, live look at how these bass feed, visitors can click here at 1 p.m. (ET) Wednesdays.

DID YOU KNOW? Alabama, the host state of the Sept. 12-18 inaugural Bassmaster Elite Series postseason, has been the site of more than 80 BASS pro-level events.

The first was in 1967, the Dixie Invitational on Smith Lake out of Cullman. Gerald Blanchard of Memphis, Tenn., won with a haul of 42 pounds in three days. The most recent was last May when Alabama pro Aaron Martens won a four-day Elite Series event out of Guntersville. Martens’ winning Lake Guntersville weight was 107 pounds, 8 ounces.

Now owned by ESPN and based in Celebration, Fla., BASS’ deepest tie to Alabama is the fact that it was founded in Montgomery in 1968 by native son Ray Scott.

FREE CONCERT: Zac Brown Band will take the stage at 7:30 p.m. CT, Sept. 18, immediately after the finale weigh-in of the Toyota Trucks Championship Week in Riverfront Park in Montgomery, Ala. In February, Brown played to a capacity crowd at the 2009 Bassmaster Classic in Shreveport-Bossier City.

VOTE TODAY: BASS has been nominated for a SportsTravel award, and the public gets to decide the winner.

The nomination is in the category of Professional Sporting Events, Best Sports Event Series or Circuit. BASS is up for the award for its 2009 Bassmaster Elite Series tournaments.

To vote, go to http://vote.schneiderpublishing.com/ballot/. SportsTravel, a publishing and expo organization, allows one ballot per person.

The winner will be announced in New Orleans during the Oct. 13-17 TEAMS 2009 Conference & Expo.

WIN A REVO: ESPN Outdoors Classifieds at ESPNOutdoors.com is offering all new users a chance to win an Abu Garcia Revo reel.

Those who want to get in on the offer must register for ESPN Outdoors Classifieds between Aug. 26 and Sept. 1. In addition to the Revo offer, everyone who registers will get their first two listings free. BASS members will get a $50 instant credit good toward upgrades and future listings.

Anyone who completes the three-step registration at http://classifieds.espnoutdoors.com/ is automatically entered for a chance to win a Revo. Five of the reels will be given away.

FALL EVENTS, CLASSIC HOPES: While everyone’s attention was drawn to the Bassmaster Elite Series last month, the 2009 Bassmaster Open circuit quietly geared up again. After skipping three summer months, the Opens resumed Aug. 20 when the Northern Open began in Plattsburg, N.Y., on Lake Champlain.

And over the next eight weeks, four final 2009 Open events will determine which Open pros earn their way into the 2010 Bassmaster Classic, Feb. 19-21 on Lay Lake out of Birmingham, Ala.

Open pros are shooting for six 2010 Bassmaster Classic berths. Two each from the three Open circuits — Northern, Central and Southern — will be awarded to the top points earners within each division.

Also this fall, the second woman in history to qualify for a Bassmaster Classic will be decided. She will be the top points earner in the Toyota Tundra WBT Angler of the Year race, the big competition within the Academy Sports + Outdoors Women’s Bassmaster Tour. Kim Bain-Moore of Alabama, the 2008 AOY, made history at the 2009 Classic as the first woman. The Championship event for the WBT, where the AOY will be determined, is set for Oct. 16-18 on the Red River out of Shreveport-Bossier City, La.

IT’S ANYONE’S AOY: “Even (Michael) Iaconelli and (Gerald) Swindle, being in 11th and 12th, have got a great shot.” — Kevin VanDam of Kalamazoo, Mich., points leader of the ultratight 12-man Bassmaster Elite Series postseason field

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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