Ohio's Marcia Rubin rounds out qualifiers for WBT championship
No one was more surprised than Marcia Rubin when she emerged as the 12th and final qualifier for the 2008 Women's Bassmaster Tour Championship, set for February 2008 in South Carolina.
Last week, before the final qualifying event in Louisiana, the pro from Chagrin Falls, Ohio, was in 16th place in the points standings. She was 42 points behind the 12th-place bubble and behind one angler who qualified last year. To pull herself up, Rubin had to bring in an impressive catch from the challenging Red River, site of the WBT's season finale Sept. 20-22.
In the end, Rubin beat Mississippi's Kathy Hurst by just two points for the coveted berth.
"I wanted this so bad, so bad," said Rubin, a 43-year-old owner of a woodworking machinery repair business. "But I never allowed myself to dream of getting into the championship. I've really tried not to stress out over it. What I've been doing this year is working for me, and I didn't want to change my energy."
The WBT Championship's prize package includes a $50,000 Triton/Mercury rig, a boat Rubin yearns to own to replace the walleye boat she has been running.
Along with Rubin, four other pros are first-time qualifiers: Colorado's Audrey McQueen, Louisiana's Judy Wong, Arkansas' Penny Berryman and Kentucky's Secret York.
The seven repeat qualifiers include newly crowned WBT Angler of the Year Sheri Glasgow of Oklahoma; defending champion Pam Martin-Wells of Georgia; Tennesseans Cindy Hill and Dianna Clark, the 2006 AOY; one-time WBT winner Juanita Robinson of Texas; and two Arkansans, one-time WBT winner Lucy Mize and three-time event champion Tammy Richardson.
With the Toyota Women's Bassmaster Tour Angler of the Year award wrapped up, Sheri Glasgow is looking forward to picking up the prize, a 2008 Toyota Tundra. She's also focusing on her next goal, winning the February 2008 WBT Championship on South Carolina's Lake Keowee.
"I'd like to be the next WBT champion," said the 40-year-old Oklahoma pro who placed second in the inaugural championship last February. "Angler of the year is the highest honor. It's an awesome award to have because it's so hard to win. To be the champion too would be amazing."
So which trophy, AOY or championship, would receive pride-of-place positioning on her mantle?
"I guess I'd have to put them side by side and use a bigger spotlight," Glasgow said.
Casting for a Classic berth
An event this week in Pittsburgh, Pa., will complete the field for the Nov. 8-10 BASS Federation Nation Championship.
The championship in turn determines which six Federation Nation anglers will compete in the 2008 Bassmaster Classic in February on South Carolina's Lake Hartwell.
The Pittsburgh event is the Federation Nation's Mid-Atlantic Divisional, the final of six such tournaments conducted this year. Each divisional produces a handful of qualifiers who won the right to represent their state in the BASS Federation Nation Championship. Six international competitors will join the state qualifiers at the championship event.
Last week, the Eastern Divisional on the Connecticut River determined eight more November championship qualifiers. They were: Abe Kalechman (Connecticut), Dale Simmons (Maine), Sheron Brown (Massachusetts), Gary Clawson (New Hampshire), Chris Loftus (New York), Frank Ramsay (Ontario), Mike Wolfenden (Rhode Island) and Carl Alexander (Vermont).
Points, not pounds
Several Bassmaster Central Open pros are more concerned about scoring points than taking home a check this week from the season finale on Texas' Lake Amistad.
The three pros who come out on top in the Central Open points race will qualify for the 2008 Bassmaster Classic. The top five will be eligible to join the Bassmaster Elite Series next year.
Going into the Amistad event, the leaders and their points totals are: Texas' Brian Clark (595), North Carolina's Dave Wolak (547), Arkansas' Clark Reehm (528), Louisiana's Danny Smith (516), Oklahoma's Jay Fuller (513) and Bradley Hallman (511), North Carolina's Pat Golden (508), Arkansas' Chip Hawkins (487), Minnesota's Trevor Rogge (484) and Arkansas' Ken Adamson (444).
Wolak and Hallman are Bassmaster Elite Series pros who missed the cut in points for the Classic. The Central Open is their final bid to join the Classic field Feb. 22-24 on South Carolina's Lake Hartwell.
While it's possible for one pro to earn as many as 315 points at Amistad, it's also possible for a pro to earn no points. Given that the top 21 pros are within 200 points of catching leader Brian Clark, the Amistad event promises to be a nail-biter.
The finish line of the Central Open points race is in Del Rio, Texas. The competition is Sept. 27-29.
In addition to real-time leaderboards, ESPNOutdoors.com will provide live, streaming video of the two remaining 2007 Bassmaster Open events.
The season-ending Bassmaster Central Open will be Sept. 27-29 on Texas' Lake Amistad. This year's Bassmaster Southern Open circuit wraps up Oct. 18-20 on Alabama's Lake Wheeler.
The live coverage begins at 4:15 ET for all three days of the events.
Fishing fans have been watching the weigh-ins of Bassmaster Elite Series and Women's Bassmaster Tour events online all season. Archives of selected WBT events are now available here.
The Rookie experience
"The hardest part's been seeing new waters, like Toho, for the first time, but harder is being away from home and not seeing your family for long periods of time."
—James Niggemeyer of Lindale, Texas, as he wrapped up his first Bassmaster Elite Series season and qualified to compete in next year's Elite Series