The perfect score
What do CITGO Bassmaster Elite Series anglers Mike Iaconelli, Greg Hackney, John Crews and Mike Wurm have in common?
Besides being great anglers, they're also the four anglers who've cashed checks in all seven premier BASS events this season, including six Elite Series tournaments and the Bassmaster Memorial, the season's first Major.
With the perfect record, they have won close to $530,000 combined.
New Jersey pro Iaconelli leads the quartet with $192,365 in winnings this season, followed closely by Gonzales, La., pro Hackney with $178,625. Next is Virginia pro Crews with $85,245, and Arkansas pro Wurm at $73,434.
In order to cash a check at Elite Series events, anglers must finish in the top 50.
Not surprisingly. Iaconelli also leads the CITGO Bassmaster Angler of the Year standings, while Hackney and Crews hold down fourth and fifth, respectively. Wurm is 14th in the race, which awards $125,000 to the winner at the end of the season. Hackney is tops on the Bassmaster Elite Series Power Index, catching an average of 47-5 per tournament. Iaconelli is right behind with an average of 46-6. Crews is in sixth and Wurm is 16th.
Iaconelli's worst finish this season was 18th at the Santee Cooper Showdown presented by MotorGuide in South Carolina. He has made the final-day cut for four of seven events this season, including his victory at the Southern Challenge presented by Berkley on Lake Guntersville and a runner-up finish in the Bassmaster Memorial.
While they didn't cash checks at the Memorial, two other pros have succeeded in going home with money at all six Elite Series stops this year — South Carolina pro Jason Quinn, who has more than $76,000 in winnings, and Florida's Terry Scroggins, who has cashed checks for almost $65,000 this season.
Quinn is ninth in the Angler of the Year standings and eighth on the Power Index. Scroggins is 10th in the Angler of the Year standings and seventh on the index.
Sleepy goes fishing
As part of its partnership with Elite Series pro Mark Tyler, Travelodge soon will feature its Sleepy Bear mascot with a fishing pole in an advertising campaign that will debut in June.
According to BrandWeek magazine, Sleepy Bear lands a marlin in the print ad and later kicks back in bed to watch television. The campaign continues the hotel chain's attempt to target active middle-income consumers. The company has previously featured its Sleepy Bear icon riding a mountain bike and a personal watercraft.
Tyler, whose boat and jersey feature the Travelodge logo, is also scheduled to take part in additional promotions as part of the ad campaign. Travelodge also has plans for an on-line game, in which players try to hook pillows of cash or a fishing trip with Tyler.
"I wish I could tell you more," Tyler said, "I'm just real excited to be a part of it."
Travelodge, which is part of the Cendant hotel group, also sponsors the No. 16 car driven by NASCAR driver Greg Biffle.
Another piece of the Reese family
Elite Series angler Skeet Reese of California didn't have the best tournament last week at Grand Lake in Oklahoma. But even though he finished 70th in the Sooner Run, Reese wasn't totally disappointed about the outcome.
By failing to make the cut after two days, Reese could travel by plane back to California for some extra time with his wife Kim, who is due to give birth to the couple's second child any day. The infant girl, to be named Courtney Ren Reese, will join the Reese's 3-year-old daughter, Lea. "Another girl, I am tortured for life," Reese joked.
Reese, who caught just 10 pounds the first day at Grand Lake, said shortly after the weigh-in that he was ready to leave.
"I could get a call [to come home] at any time now," Reese said noting that his wife already is having contractions, "and after the way my day went today, that would be just fine with me."