Snowden's late-season surge

Except for guiding on Table Rock Lake in his home state of Missouri, Brian Snowden won't be fishing for a while.

After qualifying for three consecutive CITGO Bassmaster Classics the past three years, the 33-year-old pro will not compete in the 2007 edition of the Classic, set for Feb. 23-25 on Alabama's Lay Lake. He will likely be there representing his sponsors, but will miss fishing in bass fishing's most major event.

"I didn't make the Classic, which is hard to accept," Snowden said. "So I was really disappointed with myself this season."

His CITGO Bassmaster Elite Series season started off slowly as he didn't qualify for a top 50 cut until the season's sixth Elite Series event — the Sooner Run on Grand Lake in Oklahoma. But Snowden is taking comfort in the fact that he steadily improved in the second half of the year.

"It started out very slow," he said. "I was a little disappointed with the first half of the season. The first five tournaments, I was 70th or 80th every time. It was frustrating. I'm usually not that bad in the springtime.

"I kept improving and made three top-12s in the final three events. So I take some comfort in that, but it was still a rough year."

With his late-season surge, which included a 11th place finish at the Bassmaster Legends presented by Goodyear on the Arkansas River, Snowden managed to finish in 54th in the CITGO Bassmaster Angler of the Year standings, qualifying for the 2007 Elite Series season. And the late improvement has him already looking forward to the next season.

"I really enjoyed the Elites," he said. "Bomber Lures was my major sponsor and then Procraft and Mercury stepped up, along with some other companies like Ardent reels. I hope that I generated enough press through the top-12 finishes and a few TV segments on BASS Insider that my sponsors will see the value out of the money they spent."

Help from friends

Ken Brodeur was looking forward to a little redemption (not to mention re-qualifying for the 2007 Elite Series) at this week's CITGO Bassmaster Elite Series Wildcard tournament on the Harris Chain of Lakes in Florida. That was before he started fixing a flat tire on his lawnmower and tore tendons in his lower back, which put his participation in jeopardy.

With driving from Connecticut to Florida out of the question for Brodeur, a friend and fellow Elite Series competitor came to the rescue. Pennsylvania pro Kurt Dove offered to drive Brodeur's Loctite-wrapped boat to Leesburg for him, while the injured angler flew to central Florida.

"I've had better days," Brodeur said. "I don't know what to expect [at the Wildcard], but I am going to tough it out and see where the chips fall."

His father's son

One of the anglers in hot pursuit of a spot in the 2007 Bassmaster Classic through the 2007 BASS Federation Nation National Championship carries a famous name in fishing circles. Wade Shahid is the son of Shag Shahid, a longtime renowned trick-caster and bass fishing ambassador.

"I hear, "You're Shag's boy, aren't you?' a lot," the Fort Walton Beach, Fla., angler told the Northwest Florida Daily News. "So you see I have to behave when I have this (tournament) shirt on."

The younger Shahid recently qualified for the Florida state Federation Nation team, which will compete in the Federation Nation Southern Divisional for spots in the Federation Nation National Championship set for Jan. 17-19 on Alabama's Lake Neely Henry. The top angler from each division will qualify for the Classic.

"There's no more competitive sport in the world," he said.

Wrap rap

If Oklahoma's Jeff Reynolds' Nitro boat was any more camouflaged, it might be invisible in certain situations. That's because his Elite Series wrap promotes Mossy Oak Classic Fishing Line — with the slogan, "It's not a passion, it's an obsession."

Did you know?

With a good showing in this week's Elite Series Wildcard event, Lucy Mize of Ben Lomond, Ark., would become the first female angler to qualify for the highest level of competitive bass fishing. She would join husband Jimmy on the 2007 Bassmaster Elite Series circuit. To accomplish the feat, Mize will need to finish in the top 10 at the event.

If I hadn't become a BASS pro

Bridget Allen, a competitor on the Mercury Marine Women's Bassmaster Tour presented by Triton Boats, would be able to work more hours at her job as a police officer in Philadelphia.

They said it

"Everyone is great now. And I'm convinced this (professional fishing) is where I'm meant to be. I know my time is a little more limited with so much going on, but we can make it work, and I can be successful at this." —Florida pro Preston Clark to The Palatka Daily News on the changes in his life, including the recent birth of triplets, a new home and a flourishing career.