DEL RIO, Texas — When Juanita Robinson clinched the 2007 season-opener Saturday on Lake Amistad with 56 pounds, 8 ounces, she broke two records, but she was only one of the anglers who rewrote the record books of the Mercury Marine Women's Bassmaster Tour presented by Triton Boats.
Robinson's 56-8 shattered the 33-3 winning-weight record set by two-time WBT champion Tammy Richardson of Amity, Ark., on Lake Neely Henry in April 2006.
"With the fish I was on all week, I knew I had a good chance of winning," said Robinson, who jumped from 11th on Thursday to 8th on Friday before clinching the winner's spot. It was her first WBT victory.
The 57-year-old pro from Highlands, Texas, took home a Triton/Mercury rig valued at $50,000. Robinson will next compete in the Women's Bassmaster Tour Championship on Alabama's Lake Mitchell on Feb. 22-24.
Robinson's final-day limit that weighed 26-0 set another mark, making her the unofficial WBT "heavyweight champ" besting Lucy Mize's 24-13 catch on Friday.
"The wind helped me today and on the first day," she said, "But no wind yesterday hurt me. And I really didn't think I had that much weight today."
Scoring second place was Pam Martin-Wells of Bainbridge, Ga., with 53-5. She shot from 20th on the Thursday to fourth on Friday, and missed the top spot by 3 pounds, 3 ounces. Martin-Wells holds the title of the first WBT event ever held, a "preview" tournament, on Lake Lewisville in Texas in 2005.
Third was Sheri Glasgow of Muskogee, Okla., with 52-11 and fourth was Mize of Ben Lomond, Ark with 51-11. Karla Bullard of Del Rio, Texas, who led the first two days, slipped to fifth with a total of 48-9.
Co-angler winner Julie Shivers of Del Rio did more than her part to rewrite the WBT record book. In the first tournament of her life, she brought in a winning weight of 42-6, demolishing the 18-0 co-angler record set by Bonnie Ward of Snohomish, Wash., at Lake Neely Henry in 2006.
"I used a 'secret weapon,' " said Shivers, a 48-year-old who regularly fishes Lake Amistad with her husband. "I had beginner's luck, but I give all the credit to my pro partners. They helped me find my fish."
Shivers received $1,000 cash and a Triton/Mercury rig valued at $25,000.
The second-place co-angler was Kim Tucker of Red Bay, Ala., who totaled 38-9. She led the first two days on the strength of 22 pounds, 2 ounces on Friday, but finished more than three pounds behind Shivers.
Co-anglers finishing at the top were Crystal Langston of Leighton, Ala., third with 36-12; Cheryl Holloway of Pollack, La., fourth with 32-13; and Lesa Brown of Harrison, Ark., fifth with 29-14.
Anglers in both pro and co-angler divisions contributed to new WBT records for number of five-fish limits and tournament weight.
With Saturday's win, pro Robinson and co-angler Shivers top their respective WBT division's points standings. The pro with the most points at season's end will become the Toyota Women's Bassmaster Tour Angler of the Year, a title currently held by Dianna Clark. Pros and co-anglers finishing in the top 12 earn a berth in the WBT Championship.
The second stop of the 2007 regular season will be Lake Dardanelle in Russellville, Ark., March 29-31.
2007 Mercury Marine Women's Bassmaster Tour presented by Triton Boats
Stop No. 1
Del Rio, Texas
Feb 8-10, 2007
Day 3 Big Bass
Pro: Juanita Robinson, Highlands, Texas, 7-14
Co-Angler: Kimberly Martin, Clayton, Ind., 7