EUFAULA, Ala. Sean Dassau readily admits his bass fishing pattern on Lake Eufaula is a bunch of junk, but that's okay by him. The strategy has paid off handsomely so far at the B.A.S.S. Federation Nation's Southern Divisional, where the Alabama angler has taken the lead going into tomorrow's final round with a total weight of 23 pounds, 14 ounces. The catch also included the day's biggest bass, a largemouth weighing 6-3.
Dassau has a precarious lead going, with current runner-up Florida's Justin Willits' 22-2 total putting him within striking distance.
"It's just a junk pattern," said Dassau. "I'm fishing a bunch of different baits, shallow and deep, just covering a lot of water and a lot of different types of cover from the shoreline out into deep water."
Dassau was quick to point out, however, that his success is all about teamwork, not individual effort.
"We have a great team this year," said Dassau, 37, a home builder and contractor from suburban Birmingham. "Our guys have really come together; most of them know each other and we know our strengths and weaknesses. The guys who are doing well are helping the guys who are not."
"In the past everybody fished against each other," he continued in referring to his 11 teammates. "This time around it's a total team effort."
He made note of teammate Mike Sanders, who zeroed yesterday and bounced back with a 14-6 catch made possible after the team rallied behind him and shared their information.
Dassau and his 12-man team have much to gain if they continue the trend. B.A.S.S. Federation Nations from seven states are competing for team bragging rights with the winner towing home a Triton Boats TR-186 rigged with a Mercury 150 h.p. outboard, all valued at $32,000.
Alabama has a solid lead in the team competition with 137-1, compared to the second-place effort of Kentucky and its 103-1 total after the second round. South Carolina is third with 101-14, Florida fourth with 87-4 and North Carolina fifth with 87-3. Georgia is sixth with 78-1 and Tennessee in seventh place with 73-10.
The top angler from each state also has much to gain. Each man will advance to the B.A.S.S. Federation Nation Championship, the sport's most prestigious event for amateur bass anglers.
Dassau and Willits are the men to beat from Alabama and Florida, respectively. Also leading their respective states are Mike Prindle (Georgia); Alfred Goldsberry (Kentucky); Chuck Murray (North Carolina); Mitch Driggers (South Carolina) and Mike Pierce (Tennessee).
The Southern Divisional concludes tomorrow with the weigh-in beginning at 2 p.m. CDT at Lakepoint State Park.