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Louisiana's Red River is final stop on WBT Tour

9/19/2007

What's at stake: $88,940 in cash and merchandise to the top 25 pros in the Mercury Marine Women's Bassmaster Tour, presented by Triton Boats; valuable points toward qualifying for the Women's Bassmaster Tour Championship; and the Toyota Women's Bassmaster Tour Angler of the Year title, announced this weekend.

The top 25 co-anglers compete for $47,040 in cash and merchandise.

The Pros Said It

"Practice has been very hard, but I have found bass. All of the fish are keepers but they are few and far between. I think anyone who comes in with five fish a day will compete in the third and final day of the tournament. Right now everybody is struggling, and if they can put five keeper fish in the boat they'll be in contention for the win."
Laura Heflin, 40, Topeka, Kan.

"Practice has been pretty tough, but it's been good, too. The high air pressure went down some today and the wind also changed, which made the fishing a little bit better. They're pretty deep in the grass. It's muddy but I found some clearer areas where I've been able to find some fish. This will not be a run-and-gun tournament. You'll have to sit and soak your baits."
Lori Masters, 47, Nashville, Tenn.

"It's been really tough. Some areas that I've checked out do not seem to have activity and the bite has been very slow. The conditions have changed since the pre-fish period. The water level has also dropped and the river is not as swift; I think that is contributing to the bass not biting. Right now I want to stay in position to qualify for the championship and I need to finish in the top 20 to get there."
Judy Wong, 55, Many, La., sixth in the Toyota Women's Bassmaster Tour Angler of the Year points

The Strategy

Heflin: The Kansan has identified a few key areas that she will target during the tournament, looking for three main things — depth, rocks and grass. Her two primary patterns are finesse fishing and jigs. Her approach is different than what she had originally expected and she has had to slow down quite a bit and choose smaller lures to catch the bass.

Masters: The Nashville native is staying off the main river and fishing in back pockets, which she has narrowed down to five main areas. She will be flipping grassy areas to get her limit and estimates 10 to 12 pounds a day will be needed to finish at the top.

Wong: She has narrowed down her fishing to a few key areas, targeting depth and a certain type of cover. She says the bass appear to be concentrated, and she must fish slowly to get a bite. She feels that the weights will be lower than expected, but if an angler is able to bring in a limit each day, she will be doing pretty well.

Event details

Location:
Red River
Shreveport-Bossier City, La.
September 20-22, 2007

Field:
Cut to top 25 after Day Two

Launch and Weigh-in:
7:50 a.m./ 4 p.m. ET
Red River South Marina

Previous winners on lake:
42-6, Danny Smith, 2007
9-14, Mark Smith, 2006
36-2, Sean Hoernke, 2005
38-2, James Niggemeyer, 2005
15-10, Danny Gulledge, 2005
42-3, Homer Humphreys Jr., 2002
41-8, Davy Hite, 2001
50-3, Brent Chapman, 2000

Heaviest winning weight:
50-3, Brent Chapman, 2000

Lowest winning weight:
9-14, Mark Smith, 2006

Weather:
92 degrees, mostly sunny

Lake level:
145.5 ft. above mean sea level