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Elite Series swoops into Sooner State

12/29/2006

What's at stake: $673,150 in cash to the top 50 Elite pros and valuable points towards qualifying in the Bassmaster Majors, CITGO Bassmaster Classic and the race for the CITGO Bassmaster Angler of the Year award. The top 25 co-anglers compete for $115,400 in cash and merchandise.

Telecast: The Sooner Run will be aired on The CITGO Bassmasters on Saturday, June 17 at 12:30 p.m. ET on ESPN2.

The Pros Said It

"This will be a slow and scattered tournament. At the Bassmaster Memorial, I had a pretty solid idea of what I needed to do and this is completely the opposite. It's very unpredictable. The lake has been dropping and the bass are coming into their summer pattern, but they haven't relocated yet," — Peter Thliveros, 46, Jacksonville, Fla., winner of the Bassmaster Memorial earlier this month in Texas.

"The fishing is hit-or-miss out here but I have found some productive points and docks using both hard and soft baits. This is my first time fishing Grand Lake and there is a ton of bass to be caught." — Edwin Evers, Talala, Okla., ranked 16th on the Bassmaster Elite Series Power Index.

"Several patterns are working out here. I think you will see a ton of small limits caught on top-water early in the morning. As the day progresses, guys are going to be looking for that kicker fish throwing jigs and Carolina rigs." — Rick Morris, 43, Virginia Beach, Va., runner-up at the 2006 CITGO Bassmaster Classic.

"This is a great fishery with a lot of fish in it. I've been pleasantly surprised by number of fish and their sizes. I know I'm not setting the world on fire here but if a guy can catch 12 to 15 pounds a day for three days in a row, it will be a good tournament. I haven't found anything I can win with, but I'm looking at a decent finish." — Skeet Reese, 36, Auburn, Calif., who placed fifth at the recent Bassmaster Memorial.

The Strategy

Thliveros: "Peter T" is junk-fishing, but still hoping to find a pattern before the tournament begins. He's located a couple of places with bass, but said he doesn't know exactly how successful he'll be there, as he defined them as "unreliable." He's using a Carolina rig and a Texas-rigged worm.

Evers: Riding a wave of momentum after finishing third at the Bassmaster Memorial, Evers caught plenty of keeper-sized bass during the practice period, estimating 12 keeper bites in one day. He said that 66 pounds should be enough to win the $100,000 top prize and feels he has as good a chance as any angler in the field. He would not, however, say specifically how he planned to do it.

Morris: Amazingly enough, the Virginia pro caught two bass — one he estimated at 6 pounds — while discussing his practice period. He has found several viable patterns, and will look for an advantage with an early topwater bite. Morris will focus on brush piles and docks for the majority of the tournament.

Reese: Reese said Memorial Day boat traffic and unexpected winds was a big challenge during practice, and he's still searching for a pattern that will work. Junk-fishing is the word of the day, with Reese going both shallow and deep throwing Lucky Craft and Berkley baits, though he would not say which ones. Still, he's confident he'll pinpoint a pattern before Day 1 launch.

Location and Field

Sooner Run — CITGO Bassmaster Elite Series
Grand Lake
Grove, Okla.
June 1-4

Field
104 pros, 104 co-anglers
Cut to top 50 after Day 2
Cut to Elite 12 pro anglers after Day 3

Launch
North Beach Development
61201 East 270 Rd.
Grove, OK 74344
5:50 a.m. CT

Weigh-in
North Beach Development
61201 East 270 Rd.
Grove, OK 74344
3 p.m. CT

Background

Previous BASS events
2006, ESPN Outdoors Bassmaster Series
2006, ESPN Outdoors Bassmaster Series
2006, ESPN Outdoors Bassmaster Series
2006, ESPN Outdoors Bassmaster Series
2005, ESPN Outdoors Bassmaster Series
2005, ESPN Outdoors Bassmaster Series
1995, Bassmaster Invitational
1992, Bassmaster Invitational
1991, Bassmaster Invitational
1980, Bassmaster Invitational

Previous winners on lake
13-11, Chuck Lawless, 2006
12-1, Leroy Rease, 2006
24-4, John Shore, 2006
15-10, Robbie Dodson, 2006
13-8, Steve Dowty, 2005
13-5, Luis Nolda, 2005
52-6, Tommy Martin, 1995
43-15, Jim Morton, 1992
49-1, Ron Shuffield, 1992
26-3, Ken Cook, 1980

Heaviest winning sack
52-6, Tommy Martin, 1995

Lowest winning sack
12-1, Leroy Rease, 2006

Weather

Temperature
87 degrees

Lake level
744.66 above mean sea level