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Elite Series #3: Santee Cooper

What's at stake: $673,150 in cash to the top 50 Elite pros and valuable points towards qualifying in the CITGO Bassmaster Majors, CITGO Bassmaster Classic and the race for the CITGO Bassmaster Angler of the Year award. The top 25 co-anglers compete for $115,400 in cash and merchandise.

Telecast: The "Santee Cooper Showdown presented by MotorGuide" will be aired on The CITGO Bassmasters April 8 at 10 a.m. ET on ESPN2.

The Pros Said It

"There is a cold front right now and it has really caused these fish to scatter. This lake is going to be really tough to fish and I expect to see a lot of these guys junk fishing and trying to locate warm pockets of water."
—Ish Monroe, 31, Hughson, Calif., winner of the Elite Series season-opener Battle on the Border presented by Mercury Marine.

"It's tough out here right now, but the good news is we are experiencing a slow warming trend and if the water temperature keeps increasing, we can expect to see some really giant fish brought to the scales."
—Greg Hackney, 32, Gonzales, La., winner of the Lone Star Shootout presented by Triton Boats. Hackney is also ranked second on the Bassmaster Elite Series Power Index.

"I just don't have the fish figured out yet. They aren't biting like they usually bite. We really need that sun shining to get those fish in the spawning phase, and if that happens, it could be just like two years ago and anglers will really catch them."
—Ray Sedgwick, 51, Cross, S.C., ranked 43rd on the Bassmaster Elite Series Power Index.

"The water is very clear and very cold. I have got a few bites, but it is much tougher out here than I anticipated. We need the sun to shine to bring in those giant fish."
—Matt Reed, Madisonville, Texas, ranked ninth on the Bassmaster Elite Series Power Index.

The Strategy

Monroe: The California angler will junk fish — using a variety of baits — in hopes of finding something that works. Adding to his uncertainty, Monroe had 11 differently prepared rods ready during practice.

Hackney: Hackney is toughing out the practice period, and partially blames a cold front for the unusually slow fishing. He believes the water temperature will increase rapidly for the tournament and is planning accordingly, targeting shallow fish with a variety of baits.

Sedgwick: The South Carolina resident has two patterns available, depending on the weather. If the spawn phase becomes active, he will sight-fish. If the bite remains slow, he will target trees and lily pads with soft plastic baits.

Reed: Reed will be look for very shallow fish flipping senkos and other soft baits. While the bite is tough, Reed expects the sun to shine which will help him locate Santee-sized lunkers.

Location and Field

Santee Cooper Showdown presented by MotorGuide - CITGO Bassmaster Elite Series
Santee Cooper Reservoir
Manning, S.C.
March 30-April 2

Field
105 pros, 105 co-anglers
Cut to top 50 after Day 2
Cut to Elite 12 pro anglers after Day 3

Launch
John C. Land III Landing
Greenall Road
Summerton, SC 29148
6 a.m.

Weigh-in
John C. Land III Landing
Grenall Road
Summerton, SC 29148
3 p.m.

Background
Previous BASS events
2006 ESPN Outdoors Bassmaster Series
2005 ESPN Outdoors Bassmaster Series
2005 ESPN Outdoors Bassmaster Series
2004 CITGO Bassmaster Tour
2003 CITGO Bassmaster Tour
1998 Bassmaster Invitational
1997 Bassmaster Invitational
1994 Bassmaster Invitational
1994 Bassmaster Invitational
1976 Bassmaster Invitational
1975 Bassmaster Invitational

Previous winners on lake
Lex Costas, 19-15, 2006
Lex Costas, 25-13, 2005
Joey Outlaw, 25-14, 2005
Kelly Jordon, 93-13, 2004
Zell Rowland, 98-9, 2003
Scott Martin, 39-2, 1998
Julian Reitzel, 61-13, 1997
Kevin Wirth, 39-15, 1994
O.T. Fears III, 77-4, 1994
Jimmy Houston, 67-5, 1976
Roland Martin, 64-0, 1975

Heaviest winning bag
Zell Rowland, 98-9, 2003

Lowest winning bag
Lex Costas, 19-15, 2006

Weather
Temperature
66 degrees

Lake level
75.2 ft. above mean sea level

Sponsors

Local Sponsors: Local sponsors include the Clarendon County Chamber of Commerce.

CITGO Bassmaster Elite Series sponsors: Sponsors of the CITGO Bassmaster Elite Series include CITGO Petroleum Corp., Toyota, Busch Beer, Purolator, Triton Boats, Mercury Marine, Berkley, Lowrance Electronics, MotorGuide, Advanced Auto Parts and Theraseed.