Clark, who in 2006 earned the inaugural WBT Angler of the Year title, said she didn’t even think twice about entering the Opens.
“When they announced there were some spots in the Opens, it struck me as a strong, new challenge I wanted to tackle,” said Clark, who lives in Bumpus Mills, Tenn. “I know there are a whole lot of good anglers, a whole lot more competition, but I realized I wanted that. I think I was the first one to call.”
Wong, the WBT Championship winner in 2007 and 2009, said competing in a large field of mostly men is nothing new to her.
“I used to fish the BASS invitationals and I’ve also fished other circuits with men as well,” Wong said. “It’s just a different atmosphere. But as far as the competition, I’ll still have the same mental attitude; I’ll still be doing the same things I’d be doing preparing for a tournament. And I know a lot of the guys; I have competed against them in other circuits.”
Now living in Many, La., Wong was a Texan for many years. She’s familiar with two Central Open sites: Lake Amistad in Del Rio, Texas, the April 8-10 season opener; and the June 3-5 event on the Red River out of Shreveport, La.
The third venue for the 2010 Central Opens, Lake Texoma out of Denison, Texas, in October, will be her biggest challenge, Wong said, because it fishes deeper than suits her style. She said she plans to overcome that by putting in more practice time.
“If I were to do well in the Opens, it will bring women even more respect in this sport,” she said. “I’m not going to say it will be easy. There are a lot of good anglers there. I’ll just have to work harder at it.”
Clark, a retired U.S. Army staff sergeant who served in the Persian Gulf War, is also game for the competition.
“I don’t pay much attention to who the other anglers are,” she said. “Competition is competition. We’re competing against fish, not men or women. I’m out to bring in five fish a day, hopefully five big ones.”
ADDING RED: Skeet Reese’s signature yellow and black wrap on his boat rig and vehicle will have a slightly different look this season.
Berkley PowerBait will share title sponsorship of the 2009 Bassmaster Classic champ with Lucky Craft in 2010. The Berkley logo is a bright red; Lucky Craft’s trademark color is yellow.
Reese’s new boat wrap will split prime real estate between the two sponsors. Berkley PowerBait will dominate the port side and Lucky Craft the starboard side. A new wrap on Reese’s “Big Rig” also will feature the PowerBait logo and the Lucky Craft logo on alternating door panels.
“Lucky Craft has been my title sponsor for many years, and they have always been like family to me,” said the Bassmaster Elite Series pro from Auburn, Calif. “Berkley has also long been a partner, and I’m excited to be able to prominently display their brands as well.”
HONORS TO COME: The Berkley Conservation Institute once again is offering awards for the best conservation project and the best angler recruitment/retention program completed by a BASS Federation Nation club.
Applications, available from BASS Conservation Director Chris Horton, must be completed and returned by Thursday, Feb. 4.
NEW ON BOARD: Elite Series pro Brent Chapman of Lake Quivira, Kan., has a new sponsor in time for his ninth Bassmaster Classic appearance, Feb. 19-21 out of Birmingham, Ala.
Fulton F2 (www.fultonperformance.com), a brand of Cequent Performance Products of Mosinee, Wis., came on board with Chapman in late January. His rig will be equipped with a Fulton F2 jack and winch, his boat carpet will be inlayed with the company logo, and his competition jersey will carry the Fulton F2 logo.
“Professional bass fishing is a new venture for the Fulton brand,” Chapman said. “For my part, having the best equipment for my boat, trailer and truck are keys to success in the competitive fishing circuit.”
PARLEZ-VOUS PÊCHE?: 2009 Bassmaster Classic Champ Skeet Reese hasn’t just been sitting at home in Auburn, Calif., counting down the days until he gets to Alabama’s Lay Lake to attempt a second consecutive title Feb. 19-21 in the 2010 Classic.
Reese recently traveled to Paris, France, to appear at a fishing show on behalf of Lowrance, one of his sponsors.
Reese said he was a novelty. Bass are not prevalent in French waters, and pro bass anglers are even more rare.
For details, including how the Bassmaster Elite Series pro broke the language barrier (Reese does not speak much French, and many people in Paris do not speak bass fishing), click here to read his blog at Bassmaster.com.
TWO IN ONE: “We should call it hunting. We do a lot more hunting than fishing.” — 2007 Classic champ and Bassmaster Elite Series pro Boyd Duckett of Demopolis, Ala., on a typical Bassmaster Elite Series tournament.
About BASS For more than 40 years, BASS has served as the authority on bass fishing. The organization advances the sport through advocacy, outreach and its expansive tournament structure while championing efforts to connect directly with the passionate community of bass anglers through its Bassmaster media vehicles. As the flagship offering of ESPN Outdoors, the Bassmaster brand and its considerable multimedia platforms are guided by a mission to serve all fishing fans. Through its industry-leading publications Bassmaster Magazine, BASS Times and Fishing Tackle Retailer; comprehensive Web properties in Bassmaster.com, BASSInsider.com, ESPNOutdoors.com and ESPN360.com, and ESPN2 television programming, Bassmaster provides rich, leading-edge content true to the lifestyle. BASS oversees the prestigious Bassmaster Tournament Trail, which includes the Bassmaster Elite Series, Bassmaster Opens, BASS Federation Nation and the ultimate celebration of competitive fishing, the Bassmaster Classic. BASS 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.