<
>

BASS Reporter's Notebook

CLASSIC TV SHOW IN LINE FOR AWARD

For the second consecutive year, ESPN2's Bassmaster Classic television coverage has earned a Sports Emmy Award nomination.

The 2009 Classic show was tapped as one of five candidates for the 2010 award in the Outstanding Live Event Turnaround category.

The nomination was one of 54 this year for ESPN Inc., and marks the second year in a row the company won more nominations than any other company. ESPN also garnered 54 nominations last year. This year's list of Emmy nods includes shows by ESPN2, ESPN Deportes, ESPN.com and ESPN, which alone took 29 nominations. Click here for a full list.

Winners will be announced April 26 in New York City at the 31st Annual Sports Emmy Awards by the National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences.

The 2009 Classic took place out of Shreveport-Bossier City, La., and on the Red River. The ESPN2 production tracked the Feb. 20-22 action on land and on water, turning a fully produced TV show within hours of competition each day.

ESPN Outdoors personalities Tommy Sanders and Mark Zona hosted portions of the show from a lakeside stage built for the production. The action shifted to the packed CenturyTel Center in Bossier City for the weigh-ins.

A sporting event that takes place on water, and a seemingly limitless playing field, presents a unique set of challenges for a TV production. At the 2009 Classic, camera operators in competitors' boats captured anglers' catches, and the resulting video was ferried by boat to production facilities set up on shore.

REESE IN FRONT

Skeet Reese now leads the 2010 Toyota Tundra Bassmaster Angler of the Year race by 37 points over Greg Hackney of Gonzales, La.

A top-36 points finish in the regular season will put a pro into the 2011 Bassmaster Classic. A top 12 is a qualification for the July 24-31 Bassmaster Elite Series Postseason, in which the prize is the $200,000 AOY award.

Reese, the 2007 AOY, battled Kevin VanDam to the wire for the 2009 title. VanDam won, claiming back-to-backs and his fifth crown.

At the season opener on the California Delta, Reese ended 1 ounce behind winner John Crews of Virginia.

"I'll take seconds all year long if I can win Angler of the Year again," said Reese, who also owns the 2009 Bassmaster Classic trophy. "We still have a lot of fishing left around the country to do, so I don't count on anything, I don't take anything for granted. This is the best group of anglers there is in the world."

He made his comments while on stage at the Golden State Shootout, where he finished not second, but fifth.

To win AOY, Reese would have to keep up through six more regular-season events. He'd need to be among the top 12 who move up to the Bassmaster Elite Series Postseason, July 24-31 in Alabama. Then he would have to prevail through the two postseason events to claim the $200,000 prize.

YOUNGEST, OLDEST SHINE

The results out of California in the first two 2010 Bassmaster Elite Series events begs the question: Is pro bass fishing an ageless sport?

Seventy-year-old Guy Eaker of Cherryville, N.C., the oldest pro on the Elite tour, did so well in California that he's now in third place in the 2010 Toyota Tundra Bassmaster Angler of the Year points race. Nineteen-year-old Bradley Roy of Lancaster, Ky., sits in 16th place.

If the season were to end now, Eaker would be one of the 12 Bassmaster Elite Series Postseason qualifiers of 2010; both Eaker and Roy would be packing for the 2011 Classic on the Louisiana Delta.

Eaker is pointed straight at his stated destination: one more Classic before he retires.

The current points leader, Reese, tipped his hat to Eaker last Sunday on stage at the Golden State Shootout on Clear Lake.

"You can't slip against these guys — even these old guys over here, they still keep catching them." Reese laughed as he turned to Eaker. "I've got to say this: if don't see anything else this season, the one thing I want to see is Guy Eaker qualify for the Classic."

Bill Lowen, the pro who came closest to tripping up Byron Velvick on his way to claim the Shootout trophy, also had compliments for Eaker.

"It's been an honor this week to fish around Guy," Lowen said. "We had a real good time, never butted heads or anything. He's a class act."

Also looking more and more like 2011 Classic material, Roy would be the youngest Classic competitor ever. He'd be 20 years old by February 2011. Besides his 16th place rank within the entire field, he's on point for the 2010 Rookie of the Year award.

"I'm extremely happy with the finishes, especially against these guys. I didn't quite know whether I could do that," said Roy on Monday as he towed his boat from California back home to Kentucky, a 40-hour trip. "It feels good to know I can. Now that I've got that out of the way, I can just worry about fishing."

NEWEST ELITE CHAMP

"Is there a masseuse in the house? I'm sore after four days of catching 98 pounds on a swimbait." — Byron Velvick of Del Rio, Texas, on stage last Sunday after his first Bassmaster Elite Series victory, his second BASS win on Clear Lake. His exact total was 98 pounds, 6 ounces, all taken by throwing and working heavy baits rigged on big rods and reels.