Elite pros lend services for charity

CITGO Bassmaster Elite Series pros lend their names and efforts to a variety of charitable events and programs in every corner of the country throughout the year. One of those programs is Angler Angels, which schedules anglers to visit local hospitals at each Elite Series stop throughout the year. Certainly, charitable causes are dear to the hearts of BASS pros.

Case in point: Elite Series pros Alton Jones, Gary Klein, Brent Chapman, Matt Reid and Todd Faircloth will be participating in next week's Fish With a Pro event in Texas, which will benefit LifeLine Youth and Family Services. The event will take place Nov. 10 and 11.

LifeLine has long been one of Jones' pet causes.

The Indiana-based organization was founded in 1968 by a group of business leaders who had a vision to provide a healthy family environment to boys in trouble. Past BASS pros who volunteered include 2005 CITGO Bassmaster Classic champion Kevin VanDam and Texans Zell Rowland and Kelly Jordon.

"I think it's great to see pros like this volunteering their time," said Jones, who is sponsored by LifeLine. "This is a very worthy charity — just one of many that BASS anglers help out and promote throughout the year."

Mercury money

BASS-sponsor Mercury Marine recently announced a great deal for BASS fans. Its "Get the Best" sales event offers a special deal on Mercury FourStroke outboards from 40 to 115 hp, as well as select OptiMax and Verado models through March 31st.

By purchasing a new Mercury FourStroke or Verado outboard, customers will receive an additional three years of warranty coverage. Since this is in addition to the current three-year factory warranty, customers get a total of six years of coverage.

Under this special offering, OptiMax 75 to 250 hp models (not including racing outboards) come with an extra two years of coverage. That extends coverage to five years for these motors.

For more information, log onto www.mercurymarine.com.

Wrap rap

Lure giant Rapala was apparently pleased with Florida pro Bernie Schultz and the exposure provided by the 2006 Elite Series. The company recently re-upped with him as his title sponsor for the 2007 season.

"I'm really pleased that Rapala is again my main sponsor and I'll be running the same wrap," Schultz said, who finished in 51st in the 2006 CITGO Bassmaster Angler of the Year standings. "Especially after a sub par season, this is huge. They're a great company to be associated with."

Weirdest catch

West Virginia's Shelley Perry recounts a story that worked out great for all parties involved. Perry, a competitor on the Mercury Marine Women's Bassmaster Tour presented by Triton Boats, was fishing a Bassmaster Northern Open in Smith Mountain Lake in Virginia in 2004 when it happened.

"I heard my partner screaming and when I looked, he was being attacked by a bird," she recalled. "When he stopped swinging his arms, the bird landed. It was a parrot. Somebody had lost their parrot.

"I held my hand out and it flew over to my hand. I put it on my shoulder. I made a cast with the parrot on my shoulder and caught a keeper. I cast out again, made a couple of cranks and caught another keeper.

"We fed the bird some peanuts and gave it some water. I took him home and I still have him. I named him Smitty for Smith Mountain Lake."

Did you know?

Rick Clunn holds the record for most consecutive CITGO Bassmaster Classic appearances with 28. But can you name who owns the second longest streak? The answer is Larry Nixon with 18 (1977-1994). But Kevin VanDam is creeping up on Nixon. The 2007 Classic will be the 2005 Classic winner's 17th consecutive appearance.

If I hadn't become a BASS pro

Timmy Horton would likely be working as a youth counselor. "I got a degree in psychology and was going to go into counseling," he said.

They said it

"It takes more perseverance to be good at fishing than it does in any other sport. We are also called on to keep that level of intensity longer than any other sport. Most pro athletes have to stay at that level for three hours. For us, it's eight to 10 hours at a time." — Rick Clunn comparing pro angling to other sports.