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Friday, December 29, 2006
Day One: Notes and quotes

By Angie Thompson and Scott Cooley
Bassmaster.com exclusive — May 4, 2006

Wirth's run for the roses

Kevin Wirth
Former jockey Kevin Wirth gave readers of USA Today tips on selecting a Kentucky Derby winner.
Kevin Wirth was featured in the Thursday edition of USA Today giving advice on how to pick a winner at this weekend's Kentucky Derby. Avid BASS fans will remember that Wirth is a former jockey who rode in the Derby in 1981.

The Kentucky pro's number one pick was Lawyer Ron, a horse Wirth knows a little about.

"His trainer, Bob Holtis, is a good buddy of mine," Wirth said. "So I have to pull for the home boys. But really, this horse has not be beaten on a dirt track. He didn't run well on grass, but he's great on the dirt."

When the first jewel in the Triple Crown of Thoroughbred racing runs on Saturday, Wirth is hoping he will still be fishing on Clark Hill Lake. He currently sits in a solid third place position with 20 pounds 10 ounces. But Wirth is the first to remind himself that fish have something in common with horses.

"Horses sometimes have a mind of their own and so do these little green fish," Wirth reminds us. "But I had some good fortune today and I think I can capitalize on it tomorrow."

Friday's aren't his friend

After a disappointing start to his 2006 Elite Series season, Steve Daniel felt good about his perch high at the top of the leaderboard today. His second place position after the first round o competition is the highest position for the Clewiston, FL pro so far this year.

In a year where every angler measures their performance against not only CITGO Angler of the Year points, but also how many 50th place $10,000.00 checks they cash, Daniel has only sniffed around the 50th place position so far. And the difference between taking home money and not has been mere ounces.

Daniel was nine ounces out of the cut at Lake Amistad and five ounces out at Sam Rayburn. Santee Cooper put a whipping on him and he was left 5 pounds behind, and at lake Guntersville he missed by only eight ounces. Each of his three near misses represent one missed fish during the forts two rounds. That fact is not lost on Daniel.

"Oh, believe me, I thought about the 'lost fish" before I ever got to the dock to weigh in," Daniel said. "In competition this stout, every ounce, every fish counts."

"It's really sickening in the literal sense of the word. The money is so good on this tour that it is sickening not to get a check."

When he looks back at this performance so far this year, Daniel feels like he knows how to start a tournament strong, but the second day of competition is his nemesis.

"Friday's aren't my friend. I always do something stupid on Friday that ends up costing me a check."

But he's feeling good about changing his Friday luck this week.

"If they bite tomorrow I will catch them. I'm fishing topwater using a Bang-o-Lure which has been around for about 50 years and is a Florida bait made by Bagley. I'm confident. I've caught them every day I have been here so far."

Deer - 1, Gutierrez - 0

Greg Gutierrez had a pre-dawn run in with a deer this morning on his way to the launch. After a fairly large whitetail deer ran in front of his truck, the California pro is wondering how he's going to get back across country to his home in Red Bluff.

"When I saw this blur in my peripheral vision, I hit the brakes. I was only doing about 55, but I felt the anti-lock system kick in and I knew if I slammed the brakes I would swerve and maybe wreck," Gutierrez said. "Now I have a smashed up front end, light knocked out and a hole in the radiator."

Gutierrez is hoping a local Ford dealer may be willing to help him repair his rig before the end of the weekend. After a grueling first leg of the season, this angler is not thrilled about any delays in getting a much deserved break at home.

"I hope I can get it fixed quickly. If not, I don't know how I'm going to get home."

Overheard

"I kind of stunk it up today. If you wanted to find me (on the water) all you had to do was run around the lake because you could smell me. That's how bad I stunk today." — Preston Clark after weighing in 5 pounds, 9 ounces

"I blew out my motor for the second time this year on the first day. I just had to stay close and use my electric motor." —Darrin Schwenkbeck who still managed to bring in a little over 10 pounds

"I've been hurting since Monday. It's not like I had a bad day today, everyday is a bad day. This lake has got my number and everybody else seems to be catching fish. It is very frustrating." — Bernie Schultz on his struggle to weigh in 3 pounds, 7 ounces "It felt as good if not better than winning the Classic. I am just going to each tournament and letting the fish tell me what to do. I'm trying to be as open-minded and consistent as possible." — Mike Iaconelli on winning the Southern Challenge on Lake Guntersville

BASS to the rescue

Elite anglers Dave Smith and Todd Faircloth ran into a little bad luck on the first morning of the Pride of Augusta tournament in Columbia County, Ga.

"I lost my lower unit," explained Smith. "I called BASS and they came out right away to give me a new boat, and they just told me my other boat is fixed now."

BASS officials act in a very timely manner when boat problems arise because minimizing the lost fishing time for the anglers is critical to their performance.

"I want to thank BASS for getting a boat to me so quickly," Faircloth stated. "I broke down at about 10:30 and they had me in a new boat within 20 minutes."

They both managed to catch a limit of bass due to the speedy BASS recovery system.