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2009 Elite Series - Southern Challenge

Preview

BASS’ first visit to Guntersville was for the 1976 Bassmaster Classic. That’s when Rick Clunn won the first of his four titles. Michael Iaconelli and Kevin VanDam won the last two Elite Series events here. In a 2004 Tour event, it took just under 100 pounds to win. That tournament was in February — before the spawn. By May, many of the bass will be done spawning, but there should be a real mix of spawning and postspawn bass brought to the scales.

Tour Review

Current AOY Standings
1 Kevin VanDam Mich. 1298 2 Skeet Reese Calif. 1293 3 Alton Jones Texas 1240 4 Aaron Martens Ala. 1224 5 Gary Klein Texas 1207 6 Todd Faircloth Texas 1178 7 Greg Hackney La. 1155 8 Mark Menendez Ky. 1152 9 Michael Iaconelli N.J. 1116 10 James Niggemeyer Texas 1108
KVD finishes in 20th

Averaging over 20 pounds per day didn’t end up being enough for KVD. Notoriously strong on Lake Guntersville, Kevin needed to be in the upper 20’s to keep pace with Aaron Martens this weekend.

As for the Toyota Tundra Bassmaster Angler of the Year race. With a strong showing in hand at Guntersville, Skeet Reese is looking to gain on AOY leader KVD of Kalamazoo, Mich.

KVD in the lead

Halfway through the Bassmaster Elite Series regular season, the standings for the Toyota Tundra Bassmaster Angler of the Year award are starting to look like a list of the usual suspects: Kevin VanDam, Skeet Reese, Alton Jones, Gary Klein, Todd Faircloth and Aaron Martens are all in the top 10.

Things got shaken up pretty good after the Blue Ridge Brawl on Smith Mountain Lake. Alton Jones was the leader going into that event, but he stumbled — finishing 51st — and opened the door for tournament winner Kevin VanDam to pass him along with 2007 AOY Skeet Reese. Now Jones trails the past two AOYs going into the Southern Challenge on Lake Guntersville.

With four tournaments in the books and another four on the horizon before the two event postseason schedule in September, the race is definitely taking shape.

So who’s going to win the Angler of the Year award? It’s still anybody’s title halfway through the season, but if we look at the history of the Elite Series, we can probably narrow the field down quite a bit.

2009 Elite Series - Southern Challenge
Lake Guntersville, Guntersville, Alabama
May 8 - May 11, 2009

Leaderboard

1
Aaron Martens - 87-9
1. 29-2, 2. 29-12, 3. 28-11
2
Marty Stone - 80-13
1. 26-15, 2. 23-13, 3. 30-1
3
Michael Iaconelli - 80-2
1. 27-5, 2. 27-5, 3. 25-8
4
Mike Mcclelland - 77-4
1. 30-10, 2. 26-13, 3. 19-13
5
Skeet Reese - 76-9
1. 25-9, 2. 24-14, 3. 26-2
6
Alton Jones - 76-8
1. 28-12, 2. 22-15, 3. 24-13
7
Jami Fralick - 76-6
1. 26-11, 2. 24-11, 3. 25-0
8
Byron Velvick - 75-15
1. 29-4, 2. 25-14, 3. 20-13
9
Mark Menendez - 75-3
1. 24-7, 2. 26-12, 3. 24-0
10
Todd Faircloth - 74-14
1. 31-0, 2. 24-15, 3. 18-15
11
Matt Reed - 73-13
1. 25-12, 2. 23-8, 3. 24-9
12
Kevin Wirth - 73-0
1. 24-6, 2. 27-4, 3. 21-6
20
Kevin VanDam - 69-11
1. 25-9, 2. 23-7, 3. 20-11

History & Notes;

Big Bass
Day 3 – Terry Scroggins – 8-2

> Day 2 stats – 99 anglers, 95 limits (one fewer than day 1), 2 fours, 1 two, 1 zero (one more than day 1).

> Martens said he’s noticed a lot of recreational anglers keeping large bass for the frying pan and predicts it’ll have an impact on the fishery in years to come. “It’s really a shame,” he said. “In a couple of years the fishing might not be half as good.”

> Like Connella, Tim Horton caught 24 pounds on day 1 but failed to reach 16 today. He ended up 57th. “I really can’t put my finger on what went wrong,” he said. “I caught a lot of fish today, but I didn’t get the size.”