- Steve Bowman, Outdoors
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FORT WORTH, Texas It didn't take long hanging around the anglers in the Bassmaster Memorial to realize that fishing on Eagle Mountain for the next two days could be a crap shoot.
Not many of the anglers in the event think they have anything special figured out for this showcase event that rewards the first-place angler a cool $250,000.
"This is all about fishing what's in front of you," said Mark Tucker of Missouri. "There really aren't any patterns, at least that I've figured out or heard anyone bragging about.
"You basically have to fish those places that look fishy and don't give up until one bites."
That's a prevailing theme among the anglers.
"It will be all about the timing," Alton Jones said.
But the problem is most anglers won't be in control of their own timing. Eagle Mountain Lake is shallow and some anglers say about four feet low, making available cover a premium. After the first two hours of the event, Jones feels most of everything available will have already been fished at least once.
"It won't take long with the 50 best anglers in the world on this lake to have it totally beat up," Tucker said.
The anglers in the Bassmaster Memorial are getting a double break this week. The event that features the top anglers on the CITGO Bassmaster Tour is a no-entry event, which is nice considering the top prize is $250,000.
The second break comes in the form of not having to buy gasoline for their boats. Eagle Mountain Lake is fishing so small that many of the fishermen have yet to have to put gas in their rigs at $3 a gallon.
"I've used about a thimble full all week," Mike Wurm said. "I'm still burning the gas bought at Clarks Hill (Georgia)."
The Bassmaster Memorial, besides being a showcase event for the top anglers in the world, is an event that memorializes Don Butler, a former Bassmaster Classic Champion, who was the first member of BASS.
Ray Scott, the founder of BASS, was on hand to pay tribute to Butler, who he said was one of the main driving forces in the creation of the sport of bass tournament angling.
True to form, Scott passed along a story about Butler on the day after he had won the Classic.
Butler was the originator of the Okie Bug spinnerbait, and he won the tournament on a smaller version of the bait that was simply titled the "Small Okie Bug."
Not real catchy. But the day following Butler's victory, a local newspaper ran this bold headline: "SOB wins BASS Classic."
1dMarc Stein and Ramona Shelburne