Rookie Remitz wins the Battle on the Border.
With a three-pound lead going into the final day of the Bassmaster Elite Series Battle on the Border, rookie Derek Remitz figured he needed another 30-pound limit to win the $100,000 first prize.
As it turned out, Remitz didn't need that much, but he did it anyway. The 24-year-old angler from Huntsville, Ala., was the last man on the weigh-in stage Sunday. And with his five-bass, 31-pound, 6-ounce limit, he easily topped Mike Iaconelli, who finished with a total of 103 pounds, 11 ounces. Remitz final count was 111-7.
With that, the rookie withstood a final-day charge from Iaconelli, the 2006 BASS Angler of the Year, Steve Kennedy, the 2006 Toyota Rookie of the Year; and previous BASS Angler of the Year winners like Kevin VanDam (four times) and Davy Hite (twice).
"I guess this is the way you want to start," said Remitz. "I can't believe it."
Remitz had a hard time describing how he felt after a magical four days of competition on Lake Amistad, a 67,000-acre reservoir on the Texas-Mexico border that has earned its reputation as one of the best bass fisheries in the U.S. and Mexico.
"Maybe it will sink in in a couple of days," said Remitz.
His total of 113-7 topped the 104-8 that Ish Monroe totaled in winning this event last year, and it nearly broke the all-time BASS record for a four-day, five-bass-limit-per-day mark of 115-15 set by Preston Clark last year at South Carolina's Santee Cooper.
Remitz targeted pre-spawn bass that were staging on bluffs near flats. He caught every one of his fish on a 3/4th-ounce brown living rubber Omega jig coupled with a five-inch, green pumpkin Yamamoto Hula Grub.
"I probably had eight or nine different spots within two miles of the takeoff," Remitz said. "Every spot had a bluff next to a flat. It might be 10 yards long or it might be 50 yards long.
"You'd pull up on a spot like that and you'd know in the first five or six casts. You'd get bit right away."
Remitz would have preferred clear skies and light wind; just the opposite of the conditions Sunday. But he made his pattern work anyway.
"With that wind blowing, it was really hard because of how deep I was fishing," Remitz said. "You'd have that 50-foot rainbow in your line, and you weren't sure if you got a bite or not. I swung and missed a bunch."
Remitz was asked if he would go back out on Lake Amistad to just do some fishing Monday, with the pressure off.
"I think I'm going to sleep-in until about nine o'clock," Remitz said. "If the wind's not blowing, I might go fishing."
But if he does that, it will truly be with the pressure off. There's nothing like winning $100,000 in your first Bassmaster Elite Series tournament to take the pressure off.