Upstart pro claims victory on Sam Rayburn Reservoir

JASPER, Texas – February 23, 2002 – In seven previous tournaments on Sam Rayburn Reservoir prior to this week’s Texas CITGO BASSMASTER Central Open presented by Skeeter Jason Barber failed to catch enough fish to finish in the money. That all changed Saturday when the Gun Barrel, Texas angler weighed-in 13 pounds, 3 ounces of bass and claimed the $51,000 top prize.

“It hasn’t sunk in yet that I won,” said Barber who has competed in eight CITGO BASSMASTER events. “I had never earned a single cent on this lake, but I learned a lot from those losses.”

Barber’s three-day total of 46-10 gave him an 8-ounce margin of victory over the 2001 winner on Sam Rayburn, Takahiro Omori. Omori, of Emory, Texas caught 46-2 during the three day event. David Wharton of Sam Rayburn finished third with 42-14; Platter, Okla. pro Jeff Reynolds placed fourth with 42-7 and 41-7 was good enough for Carbondale, Ill.’s Chad Morganthaler to finish fifth.

“I used a 3/4 ounce Rat-L-Trap (Rayburn Red) to catch my fish,” explained Barber. “I knew the area in Harvey Creek had good numbers of fish, but I was concerned about the size of those fish. The coves presented an area that fish were going to move into in order to spawn, so I just kept casting and cranking over the top of the grass. I did not catch a single fish on a Rat-L-Trap during practice, but once the competition started I did what I had to do to catch the big ones.”

Interestingly, Barber’s last fish hit with only a few minutes’ of fishing time remaining as he and his partner, veteran pro Stacey King of Missouri, stopped on one of King’s favorite spots. On Barber’s second cast, he hooked and landed a five-pound largemouth that proved to be his winning fish.

Unlike Barber, Omori’s success was not limited to just one lure, as the Japanese native found fish on just about every technique imaginable. “I was confused all week long,” laughed Omori, victorious here last year with a catch of more than 55 pounds. “I had bites in two feet of water, 10 feet of water, in bushes, on trees and with four different baits. The crankbaits, spinnerbaits, Carolina-rigs and the Yamamoto Senko all worked. I like this lake a lot.”

Once again the field of 322 anglers found fishing tough with only 40 limits being brought in on the day. Gary Riffle of Paris, Texas brought in the day’s big bass, a 7-10 largemouth, claiming $1,000 for his efforts.

The Texas CITGO BASSMASTER Central Open presented by Skeeter will air on ESPN2 March 23 at 10:30 a.m. (ET).

Daily weigh-ins took place at Twin Dikes Marina. By sanctioning over 20,000 tournaments worldwide, B.A.S.S. is the world’s

By sanctioning over 20,000 tournaments worldwide, B.A.S.S. is the world’s largest fishing organization. The CITGO BASSMASTER Tournament Trail is the oldest and most prestigious pro bass fishing tournament circuit. It continues to set the standard for credibility, professionalism, and sportsmanship after more than three decades.

Sponsors of the Texas CITGO BASSMASTER Central Open presented by Skeeter include: CITGO Petroleum Corporation, Chevrolet Trucks, Mercury Marine, Yamaha Outboards, Triton Boats, Skeeter Boats, Lowrance Electronics, Flowmaster Exhaust Systems, Stowaway Batteries, Kumho Tires, Long John Silver’s, Gore-Tex Outerwear, MotorGuide Trolling Motors, Bass Pro Shops, Armstrong Industrial Hand Tools, GMAC/ B.A.S.S. Vehicle & Boat Insurance, B.A.S.S. Platinum Visa/First USA.

Associate Sponsors include: Bass Cat Boats and G3 Boats

The Texas CITGO BASSMASTER Central Open presented by Skeeter is presented locally by the Jasper Chamber of Commerce (409-384-2762).

B.A.S.S. Web site: