California’s Skeet Reese Edges New Jersey’s Mike Iaconelli by 11 Ounces to Win 2009 Bassmaster Classic
SHREVEPORT-BOSSIER CITY, La. – After Skeet Reese of Auburn, Calif., realized his first career goal in 2007 of winning the Toyota Tundra Bassmaster Angler of the Year award in the Bassmaster Elite Series, he set his sights on winning bass fishing’s ultimate event.
Just 1 ½ years later, Reese fulfilled the dream, winning the 2009 Bassmaster Classic Sunday on the Red River with 54 pounds, 13 ounces, barely beating 2003 Bassmaster Classic winner Mike Iaconelli of Runnemede, N.J., who had 54 pounds, 2 ounces after a Day Three haul of 20 pounds, 3 ounces.
So what goal will the 39-year-old Reese set for himself next?
“Repeat, repeat, repeat,” Reese said.
“Winning Angler of the Year – at the time – was the biggest achievement of my career, that was my lifelong dream. Since I won that title in 2007, I’ve had a new focus and a new dream, and this is it. You don’t know when it’s going to be your time. To win a one-derby event like this – our Super Bowl, with everything on the line, it is tough to do.
“Now I’m going back to working on another Angler of the Year.”
Alton Jones of Waco, Texas, the 2008 Bassmaster Classic champion, awarded an emotional and excitable Reese the 2009 trophy on stage at the CenturyTel Center in front of a capacity crowd. Jones finished 14th with 46-11.
Just behind Reese and Iaconelli, Brian Snowden of Reeds Spring, Mo., was third with 52-14; Mike McClelland of Bella Vista, Ark., was fourth with 52-1; and Edwin Evers of Talala, Okla., rounded out the top five with his 51-5.
Jami Fralick of Martin, S.D., who was second after Day One and lead the Classic after Day Two, fell to eighth with a final weight of 49-2.
Changing weather conditions forced the 25 competitors to change their plans Sunday as water temperature dropped overnight.
Reese, whose Sunday total was 16 pounds, 12 ounces, concentrated on a few areas just outside Caspiana Lake to find groups of fish. He said the water cooled by four or five degrees and he couldn’t catch fish Sunday on the spawning areas he worked Friday and Saturday.
“My bigger fish came out of the muddy water,” Reese said. “Anytime we fish high-pressure, post-front conditions, clear-water fish are the hardest to catch. They’re moving up there to spawn, but when it gets cold like that, they pull back out and into ditches. If you have fish in dirty water, those fish are going to be easier to catch. The fish felt more comfortable staying shallow where the water temperature stayed warmer.”
Reese fished most of the tournament at the neck of Caspiana Lake. He caught his first three fish Sunday on a 3/8-ounce white Redemption spinnerbait with a nickel blade, and the others came while he was flipping a black and blue Berkley Crazy Leg Chigger Craw.
“I made a conscious decision to stay in Pool 5 and put myself in the area that had the highest possible potential for me winning the tournament,” Reese said. “That lake back there, every local knows about it. I read a little about it online, something about Caspiana Lake, and you look on a map and it’s one of the best looking lakes in Pool 5.”
Iaconelli, who worked the edge of a slope in a cove, was grateful Sunday for what he called a magic day, bringing to the boat every fish that bit, unlike his first two days when he lost a few lunkers.
“I had a two-pronged approach out here,” Iaconelli said of his three days on the Red. He used reaction baits to cover water, and then a LaserLure crankbait in a custom black and blue; he also fished an Ike’s Revenge, a Chatterbait style lure by Longshank, in black and blue; a black and blue Ike’s Finesse Jig by Berkley; and finally a Tru-Tungsten black and red metalflake tube.
“All week I used all four of those baits interchangeably,” he said. “When I got in there today the water was 50 degrees. It was 10 degrees colder than at the start of the tournament. So I threw that reaction stuff for 10, 20 minutes and nothing. I realized I had to slow down, so I fished a 4 ½-inch tube all day. I caught all my stuff today on that tube.”
Louisiana’s own Greg Hackney, of Gonzales, had the big bass of the day, a 7 pound, 1 ounce lunker. Kenyon Hill of Norman, Okla., had the big bag of the tournament with his Sunday haul of 24 pounds, 2 ounces.
The 2008 Toyota Tundra Women’s Bassmaster Tour Angler of the Year Kim Bain-Moore of Alabaster, Ala., who made history Friday in becoming the first woman to fish the Bassmaster Classic, missed the cut Saturday, finishing the tournament in 47th place with a two-day total of 12 pounds, 2 ounces.
Two-time Classic champion Kevin VanDam of Kalamazoo, Mich., the 2008 Toyota Tundra Bassmaster Angler of the Year, finished 30th with 23-11.
2009 Bassmaster Classic - Shreveport, LA 02/20-02/22 Red River, Shreveport La.
1. Skeet Reese Auburn, Calif. 15 54-13 0 $500,000.00
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