CELEBRATION, Fla. The Mercury Marine Women's Bassmaster Tour presented by Triton Boats has turned the corner in the 2007 season and heads into the home stretch with just two tournaments remaining.
As a result, the Toyota Tundra Women's Bassmaster Tour Angler of the Year race is heating up and is dominated by some familiar names.
The leader after three tournaments is Sheri Glasgow of Muskogee, Okla., with 885 points. The eventual winner of the award will receive a 2007 Toyota Tundra double-cab pickup truck.
Glasgow, who finished fifth in the 2006 standings, has put together an amazing run in 2007. To kick off the season, Glasgow placed third on Texas' Lake Amistad and then finished as runner-up in the inaugural WBT Championship on Alabama's Lake Mitchell. She followed that up with a win on Arkansas' Lake Dardanelle and a fifth-place showing at the recent Lake Guntersville event.
"If I won Angler of the Year this year, I think the exposure and publicity that surround it would help me out with advancing my career," said Glasgow, who works as a designer and representative for a custom-cabinet business. "Performing consistently enough to win the Angler of the Year award is a difficult thing to do and says a lot about what kind of angler you are."
Trailing Glasgow by more than 30 points in second is reigning Women's Bassmaster Tour Championship winner Pam Martin-Wells. Wells, of Bainbridge, Ga., has scored finishes of second, fifth and sixth in 2007.
"Angler of the Year is always my top goal at the beginning of a season," said Martin-Wells, who finished 12th in the 2006 Angler of the Year standings. "It would be a great honor."
Texan Juanita Robinson, who turned in a record-breaking performance with the heaviest three-day catch in WBT history en route to winning at Lake Amistad, is third with 807 points, followed by 2006 Angler of the Year runner-up Tammy Richardson of Arkansas with 781 points.
"Sheri's leading and she's so consistent, so making up ground in the points is tough," said Richardson, who won the last WBT event on Dardanelle. "Angler of the Year is such a hard title to get. And with my first tournaments this season, I'm not where I want to be."
The Angler of the Year standings also will determine the anglers who qualify for the WBT Championship to kick off the 2008 season. The top 12 anglers will qualify for the tournament held in conjunction with the 2008 Bassmaster Classic.
Among the official observers in this week's first Bassmaster Major, the Bassmaster American presented by Advance Auto Parts in Greensboro, N.C., will be Chris Huffine, video coordinator of the reigning NHL champion Carolina Hurricanes.
Huffine will produce a daily blog on www.Bassmaster.com covering his experiences as an observer. For the remaining two Majors, fishing fans can sign up via www.Bassmaster.com and serve as observers with top Bassmaster Elite Series pros.
Fans might remember Huffine's passion for bass fishing. When offered a customary day to spend with the Stanley Cup trophy last year, the BASS member took the Stanley Cup out in a boat during a fishing trip on North Carolina's Falls Lakes. The story was chronicled in the South Carolina newspaper The State.
Huffine, who fished a Bassmaster Weekend Series operated by American Bass Anglers tournament in 2006, joined BASS members Steve Jones and Kennon Brown, who's also a local guide, on the trip. The group, always mindful of caring for the Stanley Cup, kept a life preserver on it while it was on the boat.
HOTTEST RIG UPDATE.
The winner, according to Bassmaster Elite Series fans, in the third week of the Hottest Rig Running contest was Florida's Shaw Grigsby, with 31.8 percent of the vote. California's Greg Gutierrez and Ohio's Charlie Hartley were second and third, respectively.
Fans can vote for select Elite Series pros, including Alabama's Tim Horton and New Jersey's Mike Iaconelli, in Week 4 to pick their favorite boat wraps. The creativity of the pros and their primary sponsors will be on display throughout the 11 Elite Series tournaments. See them at www.espnoutdoors.com/hottestrig.
Each week will feature a different group of anglers' boats for which fans can vote. Winners advance to the final round July 6-13. Second-place boats from weeks 1-10 will compete in a Second Chance Qualifier, getting a chance in week 11 to win a spot in the final round. Voting is limited to one vote per person each week. The winner of the contest will receive $10,000 and will be awarded at the Bassmaster Memorial presented by Evan Williams Bourbon in Syracuse, N.Y.
WARRIORS ON THE WATER.
Several Bassmaster Elite Series pros participated in last week's Warriors on the Water Military Appreciation Tournament on Jordan Lake in North Carolina. They included Glenn DeLong, Marty Stone, Gerald Swindle, Steve Daniel, Mark Rogers and Keith Phillips.
The event involves local, regional and national anglers who take injured military personnel fishing.
The Elite Series pros were treated to tours of Fort Bragg and Fort Pope, and some were invited to participate in training exercises.
Fishing fans can chat with Toyota Tundra Bassmaster Angler of the Year leader Skeet Reese at 3 p.m. ET Wednesday. Reese, of Auburn, Calif., will answer inquiries from fans on www.Bassmaster.com. To submit questions before the live chat, click here.
It is hard to miss Dianna Clark's colorfully wrapped boat out on the water during a WBT tournament.
The reigning Toyota Women's Bassmaster Angler of the Year recently unveiled her new boat, which is dominated by a lime green and purple paint scheme. It features the slogan "Caught You Lookin," promoting her newest sponsor H2O Hydrowraps of Hendersonville, Tenn.
The same company wrapped Mike Reynolds' 2006 Elite Series boat, which won last season's Hottest Rig Running contest.
WHAT I LEARNED FROM BASSMASTER MAGAZINE.
For many years, four-time Bassmaster Classic champion Rick Clunn entered tournament results from Bassmaster Magazine into a computer to get a season portrait of bass patterns throughout the country.
DID YOU KNOW?
It doesn't seem possible, but missing from this week's Bassmaster Major will be ESPN's Greatest Angler Debate winner Rick Clunn. Clunn ranks 78th in the Bassmaster Elite Series Power Index (which ranks pros by their average weights in the past 12 qualifying tournaments) and 80th in the Toyota Tundra Bassmaster Angler of the Year standings.
IF I HADN'T BECOME A BASS PRO...
Bassmaster Southern Open pro Todd Auten likely would be working as an auto mechanic in Gastonia, N.C.
THEY SAID IT.
"Anytime you win a tournament, you always wonder if you'll ever win another one. I always expect the best from myself, and I always fish to win. I never fish for second but, still, when things aren't going as well as you hope, you start to wonder if you'll ever do it again. Winning at Guntersville was a big relief, and it gives me confidence that I'm back where I need to be." WBT pro Tammy Richardson talked to the Arkansas-Democrat Gazette about her recent win.