DEL RIO, Texas As the weekend progressed, the temperatures on Lake Amistad warmed up and so did Jason Williamson. The third-year BASS pro from…
DEL RIO, Texas As the weekend progressed, the temperatures on Lake Amistad warmed up and so did Jason Williamson. The third-year BASS pro from Aiken, S.C., shoved aside consistency and posted a backbreaking total of more than 68 pounds through the final two days, which was enough to advance from 38th position to third heading into Day 3, then secure his first BASS victory and the accompanying $100,000 top prize Sunday at the 2009 Bassmaster Elite Series season opener, the OPTIMA Batteries Battle on the Border.
Williamsons four-day total of 96 pounds, 6 ounces, was enough to hold off a consistent Alton Jones of Waco, Texas, who finished second with 87 pounds, 15 ounces. Williamson was able to overtake Jones with a tremendous two-day charge, which accounted for more than 70 percent of his weight.
Williamsons catches Saturday and Sunday were all cultivated from one ultra-productive spot that yielded nothing for him in the first two days of competition. However, as the rain died, the clouds dissipated and the sun came out, the spot became crystal clear and an ideal area for big bass.
The area included three to four submerged trees positioned around a drainage channel and was a pathway for visiting and departing bass. Williamson mined the area with an 8-inch Osprey swimbait, which he threw to the trees in nearly 20 feet of water.
There were so many fish in that area that I think they were in competition for my bait, said the 28-year-old. Thats not a bad thing when you can get that going. It was like clockwork.
Fishing fans can catch all of the on-the-water action from the March 12-15 OPTIMA Batteries Battle on the Border on The Bassmasters, which airs Saturday, March 28, at 9 a.m. ET on ESPN2. The daily weigh-ins, hosted by BASS emcee Keith Alan, for this and the other seven regular-season Elite events and two postseason events will be shown live on ESPN360.com, ESPNs broadband sports network, while a wealth of unique content, including a live leaderboard, photo galleries and more, is available at Bassmaster.com throughout the season.
No stranger to the particulars of the area, Williamson first found his productive spot in 2007, at an Elite Series event. He primarily focused on it at a 2008 Elite event and finished fifth, his best performance in an Elite event at the time. The key to enticing the right bites this year, he said, was allowing the swimbait to sink and keeping it wet for lengths of time.
Williamson has been close to BASS victory before, scoring two second-place finishes, but was able to close the deal this time at Amistad with a final-day total of 34-12, the biggest bag of the tournament. His limit was buoyed by a 10-4 lunker, the largest Williamson has ever landed.
Im just a country boy who grew up loving to fish, so you bet this is a huge deal. The victory solidifies everything I have ever done in this sport, Williamson said. Its also a shot in the arm for the rest of the season. I can fish with confidence now. The timing of this win was just perfect.
While Jones finished second, it was more a case of Williamson seizing the day than Jones slipping. Jones, a steady veteran approaching $2 million in BASS career earnings, stuck with what put him in contention instead of going the unpredictable route and hunting for big bass.
While many others shuffled around the leaderboard throughout the tournament, Jones hung near the top, establishing a solid pattern that yielded fish in the 4- to 6-pound class.
All of his weighed fish fell for a Texas-rigged 6-inch Yum Dinger. The 2008 Bassmaster Classic champion threw the rig to shallow water, sometimes in less than 2 feet, and the key to his success was executing long casts to precise locations and slowly and deliberately fishing the bait.
I maximized my area and overall it was a great week, said Jones, 45. You dont mind getting beat by a giant bag like that. You never are pleased with second place but I gave myself a shot at it and that is all you can ask for.
It was a relative struggle for some of the other anglers who made the top-12 cut to fish the final day of competition. Jared Lintner of Arroyo Grande, Calif., and Stephen Browning of Hot Springs, Ark., were able to take advantage.
Like Williamson, both made charges after Friday. Lintner (76-10) advanced from 20th after two days to finish third, while Browning moved from 25th to fourth. Rounding out the top five was Day 2 leader Gary Klein of Weatherford, Texas, who finished with 74 pounds, 8 ounces.
Day 1 leader Mike Iaconelli, who landed the biggest bass of the tournament on the first day, a 12-13 behemoth, placed seventh and was followed by four-time Toyota Tundra Bassmaster Angler of the Year Kevin VanDam of Kalamazoo, Mich., (eighth) and 2007 Bassmaster Classic champion Boyd Duckett of Demopolis, Ala., (ninth).
The next Bassmaster Elite Series event is set for March 26-29 on Lake Dardanelle and Russellville, Ark. Duckett scored victory in 2007 on Dardanelle at a Bassmaster Major with 55 pounds, 9 ounces.
The Amistad event marked the debut of the Bassmaster Elite Series Marshals program. Marshals, who took the place of co-anglers, will help enforce tournament rules and ensure the integrity of the highest level of professional fishing. With the introduction of the Marshals program, the Elite Series becomes the only exclusive pro fishing league in the world. Despite the conditions, the Marshal program was at capacity.
Along with the top cash prize, the OPTIMA Batteries Battle on the Border awarded valuable points in the 2009 Toyota Tundra Bassmaster Angler of the Year title race. The full standings can be found on http://www.Bassmaster.com.
For more information, contact BASS Communications at (407) 566-2208 or visit Bassmaster.com. Visit ESPNOutdoorsmedia.com for ESPN’s latest releases, schedules and other news, plus photos, video, audio clips and more.
The local sponsor of the Battle on the Border is the Del Rio Convention & Visitors Bureau.
Sponsors of the Bassmaster Elite Series: Toyota Trucks, Berkley, BOOYAH Baits, Evan Williams Bourbon, Mercury, OPTIMA Batteries, Skeeter Boats, Yamaha Marine; Bass Pro Shops, Costa Del Mar, Lowrance, Ramada, SpongeTech and Triton Boats.
DAY 4- OPTIMA BATTERIES BATTLE ON THE BORDER STANDINGS
2009 Battle on the Border 3/12-3/15
Lake Amistad, Del Rio TX.
(PROFESSIONAL) Standings Day 4
Angler Hometown No./lbs-oz Pts Total $$$
1. Jason Williamson Aiken, SC 20 96-06 305 $100,000.00
Day 1: 5 16-12 Day 2: 5 11-01 Day 3: 5 33-13 Day 4: 5 34-12
2. Alton Jones Waco, TX 20 87-15 300 $25,000.00
Day 1: 5 24-00 Day 2: 5 22-04 Day 3: 5 22-07 Day 4: 5 19-04
3. Jared Lintner Arroyo Grande, CA 20 76-10 290 $20,000.00
Day 1: 5 15-04 Day 2: 5 17-04 Day 3: 5 22-06 Day 4: 5 21-12
4. Stephen Browning Hot Springs National Pa 20 75-08 285 $15,000.00
Day 1: 5 15-15 Day 2: 5 15-00 Day 3: 5 27-00 Day 4: 5 17-09
5. Gary Klein Weatherford, TX 19 74-08 285 $14,000.00
Day 1: 5 25-04 Day 2: 5 29-03 Day 3: 5 12-06 Day 4: 4 07-11
6. Dean Rojas Lake Havasu City, AZ 20 73-12 276 $13,500.00
Day 1: 5 12-15 Day 2: 5 15-15 Day 3: 5 29-05 Day 4: 5 15-09
7. Michael Iaconelli Runnemede, NJ 20 73-09 277 $13,000.00
Day 1: 5 27-09 Day 2: 5 15-15 Day 3: 5 16-10 Day 4: 5 13-07
8. Kevin VanDam Kalamazoo, MI 20 68-12 268 $12,500.00
Day 1: 5 19-09 Day 2: 5 17-14 Day 3: 5 18-02 Day 4: 5 13-03
9. Boyd Duckett Demopolis, AL 19 68-02 264 $12,000.00
Day 1: 5 21-10 Day 2: 5 25-05 Day 3: 5 12-09 Day 4: 4 08-10
10. Kevin Short Mayflower, AR 19 66-15 260 $11,500.00
Day 1: 5 20-04 Day 2: 5 15-12 Day 3: 5 22-06 Day 4: 4 08-09
11. Kenyon Hill Norman, OK 17 66-13 257 $11,000.00
Day 1: 5 15-00 Day 2: 5 19-07 Day 3: 5 26-14 Day 4: 2 05-08
12. Todd Faircloth Jasper, TX 19 66-05 254 $10,500.00
Day 1: 5 17-00 Day 2: 5 24-03 Day 3: 5 13-10 Day 4: 4 11-08
Day #Limits #Fish Weight
1 92 488 1382-06
2 87 473 1344-10
3 43 238 748-05
4 7 53 177-06
229 1252 3652-11
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, ESPNs 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, Womens Bassmaster Tour and the Bassmaster Classic, the ultimate celebration of competitive fishing. Through its grassroots network, the BASS Federation Nation, BASS sanctions more than 20,000 events annually.
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.