Sean Dassau pads lead at season-opening Bassmaster Open

Mar 3, 2007 - 7:03 AM LAKE WALES, Florida (Ticker) -- Sean Dassau breathed easier Friday when he learned he stretched his Thursday lead of one pound to more than two pounds in the Bassmaster Southern Open on the Kissimmee Chain of Lakes.

By padding his margin, Dassau set himself up for a possible win on Saturday and the top pro prize of $6,000 in cash and a Triton/Mercury rig valued at $50,000.

The Helena, Ala., angler's five-fish limit of 8-1 Friday increased his two-day total to 36-2. Closest to catching him was three-time Bassmaster Angler of the Year and 1995 Bassmaster Classic champion Mark Davis of Mount Ida, Ark., with 34-0.

"My lead yesterday is what carried me," said Dassau, 37, who has a job as a salesman and also owns a contracting business. "Today I lost my focus. I lost maybe 20 pounds out there. There were probably 40 boats around me and I panicked. But I knew I had to catch five, so I settled down and did it."

Dassau, a successful BASS Federation Nation angler, is looking for his first Bassmaster win in a pro tournament. This is his second year competing at the Bassmaster Open level.

Dassau and Davis both said wind was the one factor that hurt them on the water Friday.

"Today the wind was my No. 1 concern where I was fishing," said Davis, 43, who said he spent his fishing time on shallow Cypress and Hatchineha lakes. "The wind caused silt to come off the grass and muddy the water. I'm going to Toho (Lake Tohopekaliga) to clearer, deeper water tomorrow.

"Tomorrow," Dassau said half-joking of the wind. "I'm going to strap myself in the boat."

Dassau is in prime position to get the win, but the tournament has not been an easy one. He fished both days burdened with concern for his mother-in-law, who was airlifted from Mississippi to a Birmingham, Ala., hospital on Thursday for emergency surgery.

"The surgery went well, but my wife and 4-year-old daughter are not with me, and they usually are," he said. "They and my parents are my support."

Dassau and Davis led the list of 30 pros who made the cut for Saturday's finale. In third was Bassmaster Elite Series pro Charlie Hartley of Grove City, Ohio, with 32-15. Fourth was Kyle Fox of Lakeland, Fla, with 31-13. Fifth was Bassmaster Elite Series pro Terry Scroggins of San Mateo, Fla., with 31-5.

Friday's Purolator Big Bass honors went to pro Lee Cox of Hagerstown, Md. He received a bonus of $1,000 for his 9-0 catch.

In the co-angler division, the Purolator Big Bass award of $300 went to Joey Thomas of Fayetteville, Tenn. His bass weighed 6-3.

Leading the list of 30 co-anglers who made the cut to fish the final day were Joe Edwards of Kissimmee, Fla., who jumped from 16th into the lead with a 21-5 limit. If he holds on, he'll win $2,000 in cash and a Triton/Mercury rig valued at $32,000.

Behind Edwards were Joshua Fiedler of Maryland with 19-7; Justin Walker of Canada with 16-8; Stephen Schneider of New York with 16-4; and Joey Thomas of Tennessee with 16-0.

BASS is the worldwide authority on bass fishing, sanctioning more than 20,000 events annually through the BASS Federation Nation annually. Guided by its mission to serve all fishing fans, BASS sets the standard for credibility, professionalism, sportsmanship and conservation, as it has for nearly 40 years.

BASS stages bass fishing tournaments for every skill level and culminates with the Bassmaster Classic. Through its clubs, youth programs, aquatic resource advocacy, magazine publishing and multimedia platforms, BASS offers the industry's widest array of services and support to its nearly 550,000 members. The organization is headquartered in Celebration, Fla.

For more information, contact BASS Communications at (407) 566-2208 or visit www.bassmaster.com.






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