Skeet Reese bested the competition with an 11 ounce win over Mike Iaconelli at the 2009 Bassmaster Classic on the Red River February 22. Coming a short two years after Skeet lost by a mere 6 ounces, winning this event was really Skeet’s crowning achievement and capped off his 2007 AOY title. With a wild tournament that saw long runs, lock strategy, and even a few small aluminum boats (Steve Kennedy and Rick Clunn were sporting these), Reese kept it simple by fishing a 200-yard run of bank near the Goose Pond area. He keyed on old pad stems that stood well out of the water, and threw a 3/8-ounce Lucky Craft Redemption spinnerbait and a newly released Berkeley Crazy Legs Chigger Craw.
Iaconelli gave Skeet a run for his money as he stayed consistent over three days. His prevailing pattern was throwing a Texas rigged tube around stumps in shallow water. Ike stayed fairly close to deeper water, but on the river deeper water can mean just 5 feet. He, like many anglers over the three days, continually kicked up mud in the shallow flats just off the main river. In the rivers, fish spawn sooner, and by the looks of the fish caught many were full of eggs. Water temps ranged from 46 to 49 degrees as a front series gave many of the anglers fits. While Ike found his fish were around stumps, for the most part they weren’t on them. He was purposely over and undercasting his targets and fishing very slowly. This would have been Iaconelli’s second Classic win, as he won his first in 2003 in New Orleans. By Iaconelli standards, he seemed to be a bit more subdued, though he had flashes of “Ike” as he pumped his fist, yelled into the fish’s mouths, and reportedly threw a plastic worm in jest at a spectator boat that got too close.
TTZ’s Robby Crabb and Brian Booker attended the Classic. From February 20th to February 22nd, they mingled with a mere 140,000 other fishing fans in the Shreveport Convention Center for the massive expo. The vendors were out in full force, and none spared expense to promote their wares. Berkley, Evan Williams, Mercury, and Yamaha had a huge presence in the main expo area. All the boat brands were out and about, but of particular note was the Legend display. Randy Qualls, president of Legend boats spent some time with our staff, and showed many of the intricacies of the Legend brand. TTZ found the anglers to be very approachable and accommodating, as we were able to get a little time with pros like Gerald Swindle, Ben Matsubu, Ken Cook, Paul Elias, Marty Stone, Jay Yelas, Byron Velvick, and even Rick Clunn. Some of the more impactful moments for TTZ were spending a few moments with a couple of the sport’s legends, Forrest L. Wood and Hank Parker.
The weigh-ins at the CenturyTel Center were electric. With record crowds and standing room only, it was reported that as many as 5,000 fans were turned away on any given day due to capacity issues. A testament to the ever growing popularity of our sport, the Classic broke all attendance records even in a record recession. Hats off to the sponsor city of Shreveport/Bossier City for doing an incredible job in regards to traffic management, crowd control, and delivering a warm welcome to the fishing community. If you have yet to attend a Classic, TTZ says it is a must for your fishing resume.
Inside the Outdoors Expo
TTZ With the Pros