Sunday Feb 22 2009
Reese reels in Bassmaster title
By: The Associated Press
Auburn resident rallies to win fishing tour’s premier tournament
BOSSIER CITY, La. (AP) — Skeet Reese of Auburn held off a rally from former champion Michael Iaconelli to win his first Bassmaster Classic on Sunday. Reese, who trailed leader Jami Fralick by 8 ounces entering the final day, bagged a limit of five bass weighing 16 pounds, 12 ounces from the Red River in northwest Louisiana and edged hard-charging Iaconelli by 11 ounces in the three-day event. “This creates validation for me,” said Reese, an 11-year pro and 2007 BASS Angler of the Year. “It’s a very fickle sport. We’ve seen superstars who haven’t accomplished this goal. I didn’t know if I’d ever achieve it. This is every bass fisherman’s dream.” In his 10th classic appearance, Reese compiled a total of 54 pounds, 13 ounces of bass. “I stayed in Pool 5 (the closest pool) to maximize my fishing time,” he said. “I didn’t look at every nook and cranny. I picked out two areas and stayed there.” His $500,000 payday was made official in front of a packed house at the CenturyTel Center and helped him move to the brink of $2 million in career earnings. Reese, 39, qualified for bass fishing’s biggest event by finishing fourth on 2008 Bassmaster Elite Series. Reese used a basic strategy in his 10th Classic appearance and compiled a total of 54 pounds and 13 ounces of bass. Iaconelli began the final day at the bottom of the top 10 with opening-day leader Boyd Duckett. The duo was almost 5 pounds behind Fralick. Iaconelli bagged 20 pounds, 3 ounces of bass to vault up the leaderboard. Brian Snowden finished third at 52-14 and Mike McClelland was fourth with a 52-1 total.