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July 20th, 2007, 12:07 PM
Yesterday was day one of the Bassmaster Elite 100 tournament out of Buffalo, NY, Lake Erie. Below are some details of the 1st day...

Hi to all WNY fishing fans,
From the Fishing Wire.....End of Day 1 BASS Elite Empire Chase Tournament Day in BUFFALO, see release below. Thanks to a "working press" authrorization from BASS, I was able to attend BASS events behind the scene for weigh-in line conversations and talks with the anglers one on one. Most of them enjoyed the incredible world class fishery we have here, all of them took a physical beating from the windy weather and 5 to 8 foot waves on the lake yesterday. They have sore backs today! Darren Schwencbeck broke his boat in two places, he has a brand new Triton loaner boat today. Rick Clunn wore his three 12 volt batteries down by 10 a.m. and returned for another loaner boat. Takahiro Omori was hit from behind by a huge wave and his 6 cylinder Yamaha 225 HP engulfed some of the water from the wave and this "blew his engine". He made it back for a loaner boat too and still caught his limit of 5 fish for 37th place!! Some exciting moments for these guys.
Also, note that the Bison City Rod & Gun Club at 511 Ohio St has opened their doors to all professional and amateur anglers fishing this tournament. A representative from the club told me yesterday that anyone wishing to meet the anglers can stop over to the club after each competition day Thursday thru Saturday night only, from 4 to 6 p.m., this is free. The tournament leader, Paul Hirosky, as well as Darren Schwenckbeck and others, were there yesterday signing autographs and talking with sportsmen and sportwomen as they caught their breath from the hectic day on the waves. Thanks to Bison City!
Dave Barus

BUFFALO - Taking advantage of his considerable experience on massive Lake Erie, Bassmaster Elite Series pro Paul Hirosky of Guy Mills, Pa., persevered through windy conditions Thursday to boat a limit of 21 pounds, 11 ounces, and lead the Empire Chase presented by Mahindra Tractors.

Hirosky, who leads Matt Reed of Madisonville, Texas, by a mere 5 ounces, scored his lone BASS victory in 2005 on Erie in a Bassmaster Open event, part of a qualifying circuit for the Elite Series. Despite a slow start, the 37-year-old eventually found his "sweet spot" and built his limit around 10 spots he located in practice.

Fishing fans can see all of the on-the-water action on The Bassmasters at 9 a.m. ET Saturday, July 28, on ESPN2.

"My original plan was to make a long run," Hirosky said. "But with the rough conditions I thought I would play it safe and stay close to the check-in area."

In all, Hirosky said he caught 12 keepers with a drop-shot rig. He said the key to his success was a slow, methodical approach on top of rocky areas in deep water.

"I had a great day," said Hirosky, who has fished Erie hundreds of times. "My familiarity with the fishery really helped me out there and I have the confidence I need to do well."

Unlike Hirosky, Reed took a calculated risk and is one of a contingent of anglers making a long run southwest from the launch point on Erie. When Reed arrived at his area more than 40 miles from the launch location, he caught consecutive 4-pounders on his first two casts. He built his limit to nearly 20 pounds by 9:30 a.m., and headed back toward the launch site.

Despite sharing his honey hole with a host of other anglers, Reed, 45, said the area has plenty of fish and should remain productive throughout the four-day tournament. Reed was unsure, however, whether anglers would be able to make the run in worse conditions.

"That area is so awesome. You can catch fish all day there," said the one-time BASS winner. "It's a rough ride though, and my back doesn't feel all that great right now."

Just one ounce behind Reed was Kevin Langill (21-5) of Terrell, N.C. Rounding out the top-five were 2004 Toyota Rookie of the Year Greg Hackney of Gonzales, La., with 21 pounds, 2 ounces, and one-time BASS winner Kevin Wirth of Crestwood, Ky., with 21 pounds, 0 ounces.

With only three events remaining that affect the Toyota Tundra Bassmaster Angler of the Year race, leader Skeet Reese of Auburn, Calif., put himself in position to maintain his lead with a solid 24
-place showing. But two-time Bassmaster Classic Kevin VanDam is close behind in a tie for 26
. Heading into the Empire Chase, Reese held a slim 12-point lead over VanDam. The new standings will be tabulated after the tournament.

Meanwhile, Robert Suhr of Roscommon, Mich., led the co-angler division in the chase for a Triton/Mercury boat package valued at $50,000 with 20 pounds, 1 ounce. Local favorite Randy Bell of Hamburg, N.Y., trailed with 19 pounds, 9 ounces, and Canadian Bill Wray was third with 18 pounds, 13 ounces.

July 23rd, 2007, 09:57 AM
The Bassmaster Elite 100 Empire Challenge, Buffalo, NY is now history, and what a tournament it was. After a grueling first day and suspension of the event on the second, Saturday and Sunday brought the weather dreamed of by Lake Erie anglers.

When it was all said and done, Edwin Evers from Tulsa, Ok walked away with the event, by bringing in the heaviest bag of the day (and the tournament!) at 23lb 10oz to win going away.

To the man, every Bassmaster stated without any hesitation or reservation that Buffalo, NY and Lake Erie is by far and away the best smallmouth bass fishery in the Nation, and indeed the world.

With 5-fish limits averaging, AVERAGING over 4lb per fish, who the heck can argue?

Great event, and they are indeed coming back again next year.

For those who would like to see a little about Lake Erie Smallmouth, tune into ESPN's The Bassmasters this coming Saturday.