DeBord Takes Early Lead at Bassmaster National Championship

ABARalph Steve DeBord jumped to an early lead in the 2010 Toyota Tundra Bassmaster Weekend Series National Championship tournament, which began Nov. 3.

On the first day of the four-day event at Lake Guntersville, Ala., the Martinez, Ga., angler topping the Boater Division caught a five-bass daily limit for 22.48 pounds with a 5.77-pound kicker. The top 400 weekend anglers from more than 40 states compete in two divisions. They all earned the right to fish the championship by competing in various state divisions and regional competitions.

"I caught four fish really early and only had eight bites all day," DeBord said. "I just kept moving around, but caught the big one at the end of the day. I only caught six fish in practice."

Anglers may fish anywhere in the 69,100-acre Tennessee River impoundment. The largest lake in Alabama dips to more than 60 feet deep in places. In the northern portion, the lake retains much of its riverine characteristics with grass dominating portions of the reservoir. Many anglers fish frogs over matted grass or flip soft plastics into weed beds.

Galen James of Sale Creek, Tenn., holds second with five bass going 21.11 pounds. He also leads the Boater Division big bass competition with a 7.22-pound bucketmouth.

Louis Aebersold, Jr. of Louisville, Ky., also caught a five-bass daily limit for 20.58 pounds, including a 6.29-pounder, to hold third place. In fourth for the 200 boaters, Justin Lynch of Chesterfield, Va., landed five bass at 19.36 pounds with one 6.53-pound kicker. Nick Kincaid of Tulsa, Okla., rounds out the top five boaters with a five-bass bag weighing 19.19 pounds.

In the Co-Angler Division, Dana Foster of Ocala, Fla., holds a sizeable lead after catching three bass for 13.73 pounds. He also caught the largest bass among non-boaters in the first day, a 7.45-pounder.

"I caught some good fish in practice," Foster said. "Some parts of this lake are similar to places I fish in Florida. I fish a lot of grass. I caught the big fish in the middle of the day. If the cold front comes through, it might make things tough."

Holding second for the non-boaters, James Caruso of Millersville, Md., landed a three-bass division daily limit for 10.99 pounds with a 4.11-pound kicker. In third, Patric Hulsey of Rockmart, Ga., landed three bass for 10.93 pounds, followed by Marty Colley of Ashville, Ala., with three bass going 10.41 pounds. In fifth for the non-boaters, Danny Moffat, Jr., of Whiteplains, Md., caught three bass weighing 10.32 pounds with one 4.92-pounder.

The action continues through Nov. 6 at Guntersville State Park in Guntersville, Ala. Free and open to the public, the daily weigh-in begins at 3 p.m. The full field fishes the first three days. Only the top 25 anglers in each division will compete on the final day.

The winning boater will take home a check for $100,000 and qualify to fish in the 2011 Bassmaster Classic, slated for Feb. 18-20, 2011, in New Orleans. In addition, the boating champion could add as much as $105,000 in cash bonuses for using a Triton boat, a Mercury outboard motor and a MotorGuide trolling motor. The boater who catches the largest bass each day will receive $1,000 bonus.

The winning co-angler will pocket $50,000 and could accumulate up to $52,500 in bonus cash. The non-boater who brings in the daily division lunker pockets a $500 bonus.

Besides watching the weigh-in, fans can check out the cooks competing in the ABA BBQ Championship Cook-off, sponsored by Early Times Whisky, or participate in various activities during the outdoors festival from 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. Nov. 6. The festival includes exhibits from various sponsors and vendors, a Kid's Fun Zone, silent auction and a U.S.O. show featuring the Bama Girls. Ashley Davis of Dothan, the reigning Miss Alabama, and Jeff Cook from the musical group Alabama will also be on hand.

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