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Reel Time Fishing Northwest

Mark Yuasa covers fishing and outdoors in the Pacific Northwest.

June 19, 2009 at 10:00 AM

State’s top bass anglers compete in first step on the way to the coveted Bassmaster Classic in 2011

Some of the best Washington bass anglers competed at Banks Lake in eastern Washington on June 13-14 with a chance to reach the historic Bassmaster Classic 2011 being held in New Orleans on Feb. 18-20.

The smallmouth fishing was good on the first day for the BASS State Team Competition, then slowed on the second. The lake also gave up a few largemouth bass.

The field of 48 anglers are vying to make a 12 angler state team that will compete at the next level in 2010.

Anglers are divided into boater and non-boater categories. The top eight boaters and top four non-boaters (minimum) make the state team.

After two outings Moses Lake’s Erin Echternkamp leads the field with finishes of first place on day one, and third on day two. Second in the season standings is Jeff Boyer of Auburn with a fifth, and second place finish. Coming in third was Tony Lind of Auburn who placed second and eighth over the weekend.

Fourth and fifth place in the standings went to Mitch Ratchford of Kennewick, and Jeremy Percifield respectively also from the Tri-Cities.

In the non-boater category Spokane’s Heather Stiegelmeyer, age 22 of Spokane is tied in the top spot with 17-year-old Justin Sprengal from the Tri-Cities.

Steigelmeyer is also the only woman to fish this series. Her finishes 25th on the first day, and seventh on day two put her in a prime spot to make the state team in the non-boater category. She would be the first woman to make the state team since the new BASS organization was developed several years ago.

On Aug. 22, 23 the field will finish the competition with two one-day tournaments at Lake Sammamish.

Top boater category standings after two tournaments: 1, Erin Echtencamp, Moses Lake, 398 points; 2, Jeff Boyer, Auburn, 395; tied for 3 and 4, Tony Lind, Auburn, 392 and Mitch Ratchford, Kennewick, 392; 5, Jeramy Percifield, Tri-Cities, 391; Chris Lambert, Tacoma, 389; tied 7 and 8, Joey Nania, 387 and Ken Day, Kennewick, 387.

Top non-boater category standings after two tournaments: Tied 1 and 2, Heather Stiegelmeyer, Spokane and Justin Sprengal, Tri-Cities, 371; 3, Zac Shaff, Richland, 363; 4, Mike Whitlow, Kennewick, 360.

The ESPN Web site reports that the Bassmaster Classic will return to New Orleans for the fourth time. In 2011, the Greater New Orleans Sports Foundation will host daily weigh-ins at the New Orleans Arena, while the Classic Outdoors Expo will be held at the Louisiana Superdome.

“The City of New Orleans has a long-standing reputation as a favorite destination city for major sporting events, and the Greater New Orleans Sports Foundation has a history of hosting these world class events that include Super Bowls, Final Fours, and most recently, the NBA All Star Weekend,” said Sam Joffray, vice president, communications, for the Greater New Orleans Sports Foundation in an ESPN release.

“We are proud to include previous Bassmaster Classics in that list, and even more proud to announce BASS’ return in 2011,” Joffray said. “Since Hurricane Katrina, our event partners have played a key role in spearheading the recovery effort of New Orleans. Make no mistake about it, Louisiana remains a Sportsman’s Paradise.”

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