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Bassmaster Elite 50s enter uncharted waters

5/31/2005

LEWISVILLE, Texas — After more than 35 years of staging world-class professional bass fishing tournaments throughout America, it seems impossible that a top-notch lake has escaped the BASS traveling show, but that's exactly the case with Lake Lewisville and the Bassmaster Elite 50 Tour.

Bass fishing's all-star lineup comes to Lake Lewisville June 1-4 for the third stop of the 2005 Elite 50 season, and it will focus the bass world's attention on one of Texas' less-publicized lakes.

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Lake Lewisville is 29,592 surface acres in size and has 233 miles of shoreline. With an average depth of 25 feet, the Corps of Engineers reservoir is one of the most popular recreation spots in the Dallas-Fort Worth area. It's located adjacent to Interstate 35, just 15 minutes north of downtown Dallas and 10 minutes from DFW International Airport.

A good largemouth fishery lives in this 51-year-old impoundment of the Trinity River in Denton County (the fastest growing county in Texas).

"It's a party lake. It's got a lot of big boats on it," said Texas pro Alton Jones, who lives in Waco. "It's kind of the playground for Dallas. Being there practicing on Memorial Day weekend, structure fishing should be a challenge.

"We have a lot of fisheries in north-central Texas that don't get any publicity because of lakes like Lake Fork, Sam Rayburn and Ray Roberts. You don't hear much about Lake Lewisville."

Jones loves the fact that Lewisville will provide a rare element in Bassmaster tournaments — a largely unknown, unfamiliar watery battleground.

"I really doubt that there has been a pro who has fished a tournament on this lake or even spent any time on it," said Jones, who spent two days scouting the lake before it went off-limits nearly a month ago. "It really evens the playing field.

"No one has the advantage of being able to dig back in their memory banks and say, 'Boy, I know what to do on this lake in these conditions.' It's something you're going to have to figure out as you go, and I personally like fishing those kinds of tournaments.

"This tournament will also have guys really thinking outside the box. We'll probably catch fish doing some things that the local fishermen don't do because we don't have any preconceived notions. There's going to be somebody coming down from New Jersey like (Michael) Iaconelli who's going to do something that no one's tried here, and it's going to work."

The Elite 50 pros will find plenty to like on Lake Lewisville.

"It's a more varied lake than I expected," Jones said. "It has a lot to offer. It's got a lot of targets to throw at in the form of stumps, boat docks, rock shorelines. There's plenty of stuff to fish. It's not a place where you're out there fishing and throwing at nothing."

Jones expects the fishing action to rival or even surpass the most recent Elite 50 tournament on Arkansas' Lake Dardanelle.

"I expect the catch to be real similar to what we saw at Dardanelle," he said. "It'll take about 10 pounds a day to make the cut, but somebody will catch an 18- to 20-pound limit one day. In fact, I think you'll see quite a few limits.

"There's plenty of fish there. I've looked at some tournament results, and they catch 20-pound sacks out there, so it's got some good fish in it. We might event see some 8- to 10-pound bass."

The Elite 50 Tour is the first time that an entire tournament trail matched the cream of the crop of today's bass pros in limited-field events. The 50 top pros earned their Elite status through either their combined performance over the past three CITGO Bassmaster Tour seasons or based on a career of excellence that placed them atop of the BASS all-time money list.

At stake in the Lewisville event are the $100,000 top prize and valuable points toward qualifying for the 2005 and 2006 Classics. The top 10 pros in the Elite 50 standings after four tournaments will earn a ticket to both Classics.

Daily launches will occur at Sneaky Pete's on Eagle Point Drive beginning at 10 a.m. CT each day. Weigh-ins will be at Lewisville Lake Park on Lake Park Road for the first two days of competition. On Friday and Saturday, weigh-ins will take place at Copperas Branch Drive in Highland Village. The Bassmaster Outdoor Expo will be held on Friday and Saturday, and a county fair and carnival will be held in conjunction with tournament events. Friday and Saturday evenings will end with fireworks shows over the lake.

Part one of the Bassmaster Elite 50 Series event on Lake Lewisville will be telecast on The CITGO Bassmasters on Saturday, June 11 at 10:00 a.m. ET on ESPN2. Part two will air on Saturday June 18 at 10:00 a.m. ET on ESPN2.

Sponsors of the Bassmaster Elite 50 Series include CITGO Petroleum Corp., Toyota, Busch Beer, Purolator, Triton Boats, Mercury Marine, Berkley, Lowrance Electronics, MotorGuide, Bass Pro Shops and Cialis (tadalafil).

Local Sponsors include the Lewisville Visitors Bureau.