Guerrette Advances to B.A.S.S. Federation Nation Nationals/ Team Finishes 6th
From Kip Pollay
The leader in the sport of tournament bass fishing, B.A.S.S., recently conducted the 2008 Western Divisional in Coeur D’Alene, Idaho, where the top anglers from each of the western 11 states would face off for a right to advance to the National Finals this November in Kansas.
Though this event is a team competition with cash money to be awarded to the states in the order they finish, it is also an individual tournament in which the highest placing individual from each state would earn a spot on the Western Division team at the Nationals.
At the Nationals, the highest finishing angler from the West Team will earn a spot in the “super bowl of bass fishing” — the 2009 Bassmasters Classic.
The Arizona State Team is comprised of the top anglers from the season determined by a point standing. Making the trip as part of the Arizona State Team would be State Team Captain Jaime Bialek, Angler of the Year Brian Severson, Jeff Guerrette, Ken Hurd, Dwayne Gregory, Otto Gal, Murray White, Jeff Mayes, Gerald Kimsey, Jeff Foley, Ron Johnson, Ted McGinnis, Richard Bleck, and Kip Pollay.
Temperatures From 31-90 F
Team members spent three days of practice on Lake Coeur D’Alene followed by three days of tournament fishing. During this six-day swing, the anglers faced temperatures from 31-90 degrees and experienced a full range of elements, including wind, snow, rain, and clear blue skies.
Though conditions were ever changing, it was evident that winning this event would require three solid bags, and finding the largemouth bass would be the key.
Arizona angler Murray White got off to good Day-1 start leading his teammates, as well as the tournament, with a five-fish weight of 23 pounds, 2 ounces. The total team weight brought to the scales was 109-01, which had the team sitting in sixth place.
White would struggle on Day-2, however, dropping to 21st place overall while Arizona angler Jeff Guerrette moved into the team lead, and fourth place overall, after bringing 15 pounds, 13 ounces to the scales. The team moved up to 5th with their two-day weight of 176-13.
Guerrette had a sizable lead on his teammates heading into Day-3, but found fishing very tough. Guerrette managed to bring just two fish to the scales weighing 5 pounds, 2 ounces, but it was good enough to maintain his lead on his teammates earning him his second consecutive trip to the Nationals.
Guerrette was not only the 2007 Arizona Champion at the 2007 Divisional on Lake Powell; he was the overall winner of the tournament. The team dropped back into sixth place where they finished the event with 248-04.
Pollay Brothers Net 4, Stroup 6th at Divisional
Three Arizona youth traveled with the State Team to the B.A.S.S. Federation Nation Western Divisional in Coeur D’Alene, Idaho, where they too competed for the right to advance to the B.A.S.S. Federation Nation Nationals. Representing Arizona in the Casting Kids competition, by virtue of winning the Arizona State Championship, would be Spencer Stroup in the 7-10 division, while three-time state champion Travis Pollay would compete in the 11-14.
Pollay also represented Arizona in the 11-14 division of the Jr. Bassmasters after earning his first state title in that program and becoming the state’s first dual qualifier. He found himself paired in the boat with his older brother Kyle Pollay who was competing in the 15-18 division after winning his third state title in the Jr. Bassmaster program. Kyle was a 4-time Casting Kids champion before aging out as well.
In a loaded Jr. Bassmaster 15-18 division field, which included 2005 World Champion Joey Nania and 2006 World Champion runner-up Zach Alexander, Kyle Pollay reeled in a 4th-place finish, which included the tournament’s second biggest bass of 4.6 pounds.
Lake Restrictions = Tough Fishing
Nania went on to edge out the field in a tightly contested weigh-in in order to claim the 2008 Western Division title.
In the 11-14 year division, most of the anglers found fishing very tough after lake restrictions, due to high river flow, caused the field to fish unfamiliar water of which they had no knowledge. Travis Pollay, who was the youngest competitor in his group, ended the day in 5th place.
Once back to shore, he was quickly pulled from his boat, loaded into an ESPN vehicle, and rushed to the Casting Kids competition that was already underway. Spencer Stroup had already concluded his attempts and finished in sixth place.
“Spencer was ear to ear smiles in his first appearance at the divisional level,” said Arizona State B.A.S.S. Federation Nation President Kip Pollay. “He represented us all very well and he is already excited about trying to qualify again.”
Travis Pollay ended the competition with a very respectable 4th-place finish for his efforts in his age group. “He did a great job”, said his dad Kip Pollay. “All the other competitors got to sleep in, eat breakfast, and practice all day.
“Though he was worn out from eight hours on his feet in the sun, he buckled down and put up a very good score.”
The Western Divisional featured a historic first “live” Web cast of the event on ESPN’s www.bassmaster.com. The weigh-in links remain on-line and can still be viewed.