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Stacey King Wins the $250,000 LA Citgo BASSMasters Tournament - Toledo Bend
By Patty Schaefer

Cypress Bend Park - 3/21 - 3/23/02

The LA Citgo BASSMasters have come again to Toledo Bend, and Triton Boats hosted this event, being the 4th in the series of qualifying tournaments. With so many world class fishermen and lady anglers participating it was a hard guess as to who would take the event. When the final tabulations were done, Stacey King of Reeds Spring, MO clearly took the field by storm with a phenomenal three day total weight of 63 lbs 3 oz.

The weather patterns for the last week prior to the start of the tournament suggested perfect air and water temps, bedding bass, all the elements needed for prime fishing. At the end of the final weigh in five anglers would be announced being selected for participation in the BASSMasters Classic in Birmingham, Alabama. Fish Fishburn MC'd the tournament with Pee Wee being weigh master and showing the humor and style that has made him famous, Fish played to the anglers and the crowd and fun was had by all. Pee Wee, coordinating with many of the other crew members finally turned the tables on Fish. At one point in the weigh in a surprise mechanical snake was pulled out of the bag and took Fish by great surprise.

Day 1 brought in many "sows" to the scales, with the leading stringer weight being 22-3 and the big bass being 10-1. Sight fishing and bedding bass were a common denomenator with many of the anglers. After the big bass was certified it went into the Lunker Program which is sponsored by the Sabine River Authority / LA. Anglers who participate in this program with their lunker bass receive a free replica and the bass is live released back into the lake. So far this year there have been 9 bass entered into the Lunker Program.
1st place lead - (22-3) John Hale of Lufkin, TX
2nd place lead - (21-7) Stacey King of Reeds Spring, MO
3rd place lead - (20-0) Ben Matsubu of Hemphill, TX
4th place lead - (19-13) Todd Faircloth of Jasper, TX
5th place lead - (19-12) Ray Scheide of Cookson, OK
Big Bass - (10-1) Ray Scheide of Cookson, OK

Day 2 blew in a northern that made temps drop from the 70's enjoyed on day 1 to the 50's. That was the high for the day, lows were in the 30's with nasty winds that had some tournaments cancel for the day. Clear blue bird skies, dropping water temps and high seas were the setting for these anglers to contend with. Many of the bedding bass that were being caught shallow on day 1 had backed off into deeper water so the fishermen had to adjust their strategies accordingly. It was hit or miss for the anglers and leading places changed dramatically from day 1 to the end of day 2.
1st place lead (39-12) Stacey King of Reeds Spring, MO
2nd place lead (34-12) Charlie King of Shreveport, LA
3rd place lead (33-8) Todd Faircloth of Jasper, TX
4th place lead (33-0) Cody Bird of Granbury, TX
5th place lead (32-9) Brent Chapman of Shawnee, KS
Big Bass (9-11) Kenyon Hill of Norman, OK

Day 3, final day of the tournament started out very chilly with temps in the upper 20's. The wind factor improved, being out of the SE at 10-15 mph and highs a little warmer in the mid 60's.

1st Place Overall - (63-3 lbs) Stacey King not only maintained his first place lead but pulled ahead of the second place overall weight by almost 12 lbs ! On the final day he brought to the scales a 23-7 limit including a 7-10 lb kicker. Stacey explained that during practice, he started out by using a carolina rig in 6-10' of water, catching lots of small fish. On the last day of practice, he tried a jig and caught a lot of better quality fish and never put the jig down after that. Stacey fished with a 6 1/2' Bass Pro Signature Series rod with 17 lb Flourocarbon Bass Pro line. He tied on a 1/2 oz Stanley Jig with a twin tail trailer and covered a lot of water with it. His jig technique was to pitch the jig out there, "pop" or "snap" it 2-3 times, move the bait about 3' and do it again. Obviously it was a winning technique.

2nd Place Overall - (51-5 lbs) Cody Bird of Granbury, TX brought in a very healthy limit of bass weighing 18 lbs 5 oz. Cody sight fished all week in his Skeeter / Yamaha rig. Tying Lake Fork smoke/red flake tubs and Texas rigged Lake Fork Tungstons to his Pirana / Quantum / Stren 10-25 lb line, he concentrated his efforts in the Indian Creek area. Cody fished 5' pockets in bare spots and had three of his keepers by 11:30. On one of the humps he was fishing, he saw four nice 4 lb'rs and managed to boat three of them to help with his limit.

3rd Place Overall - (51-1 lbs) Kevin Broussard of Longville, LA brought to 24 lbs 11 oz to the scales including 9 lb 9 oz hawg. He had a fantastic day of fishing and lost a 13 lb'r. Fishing with Lonnie Stanley, Kevin used watermelon Vibra Minnows, carolina rigged Hog Assassins and Bass Assassins in the Housen Bay Area. He concentrated on 4' underwater points inside the grassline and had 16 lbs by 8am. Kevin fishes out of a Skeeter ZX225 / Yamaha bass rig and uses American Rodsmith / Abu Garcia / 17 lb Berkley Big Game combo's.

4th Place Overall - (50-12 lbs) Dean Rojas of Grand Saline, TX sight fished all week and brought in his limit today weighing 19 lbs 8 oz. He took his Skeeter / Yamaha to the Housen Bay and Six Mile area fishing secondary points and coves in 1'-5' of water with Texas riggedd watermelon lizards and craw worms. He said day 2 of the tournament was his biggest challenge due to the high winds constantly changing direction.

Big Bass Overall - (10-1 lbs) Ray Scheide of Cookson, OK caught this monster bass on day 1 of the tournament. Fishing with Bud Pruitt, he reports that it was a tough day of fishing and he caught her on a 3 1/2" craw tube in the grass.

The five lucky anglers announced to be contenders at the BASSMasters Classic are: Larry Mize - Charlie Hammack - Todd Faircloth - Brent Chapman - Stephen Browning
Congratulations and good luck at the Classic !

All bass recovered and live released by the BASSMaster fish recovery team and the SRA / LA Shimano live release barge and crew.
Day-1 Tally- 871 bass weighing 2,425 lbs-
Day-2 Tally- 668 bass weighing 2,136 lbs-
Day-3 Tally- 660 bass weighing 1,713 lbs-

While the BASS/Pro's were flipping, pitching, and casting their way to the BASSMaster Classic, the BASSMaster Casting Kids were present flipping, pitching, and casting their way to the Classic as well. Presented by Chevy Trucks and CITGO, this fun-filled national program encourages children to perfect their casting skills, where local BASS Federation clubs conduct these events to provide instructions to all youngsters.

Top Casting Kids Champions:
1- Sidney Billeaud of Prairieville, LA
2-.Page Richard of Morse, LA

ESPN airtime for this tournament will be April 13 at 10:30am Eastern Time, then again April 19 at 10:00 & 5:00 Eastern. For more info contact: BASS at (334) 272-9530.

By sanctioning over 20,000 tournaments worldwide, B.A.S.S. is the world's largest fishing organization. The CITGO BASSMASTER Tournament Trail is the oldest and most prestigious pro bass fishing tournament circuit. It continues to set the standard for credibility, professionalism, and sportsmanship after over three decades of operations.

Sponsors: CITGO Petroleum, Chevrolet Trucks, Mercury Marine, Yamaha Outboards, Triton Boats, Skeeter Boats, Lowrance Electronics, Flowmaster Exhaust Systems, Stowaway Batteries, Kumho Tires, Long John Silver's, Gore-Tex Outwear, MotorGuide, Bass Pro Shops, Armstrong Industrial Hand Tools, GMAC/ B.A.S.S. Vehicle & Boat Insurance, B.A.S.S. Platinum Visa/First USA, and the BASS-Central Anglers.

Associate Sponsors: BassCat Boats and G3 Boats Local Sponsors:


4th place- Dean Rojas with 2 reps of his 19-8 day 3 catch

10 lbs 1 oz wins Big Bass overall for Ray Scheide
< photos by Patty Schaefer>

2nd place - Cody Bird showing the best of his 18-5 day 3 catch

1st place winner Stacey King with 2 of his 23-7 winning stringer

3rd place - Kevin Broussard displaying the best of his 24-11 lb catch
 

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