OC native’s ‘Elite’ pro fishing debut memorable as he cashes in for $10,000

OC native’s ‘Elite’ pro fishing debut memorable as he cashes in for $10,000

Posted: Monday, March 14, 2011 9:15 pm

OC native’s ‘Elite’ pro fishing debut memorable as he cashes in for $10,000 | Sunshine Showdown, Ben Parker, Bassmaster Elite Series
By KEVIN BOWDEN
Staff Reporter
Veteran pro bass fisherman Shaw Grigsby may have won the Sunshine Showdown in central Florida this past weekend, but it was Ben Parker’s debut in the Bassmaster Elite Series that is the big news in Obion County.
The Obion County native competed in the four-day contest and finished in 27th place out of a field of 99 professional anglers.
Parker actually hauled in a total of 33 pounds, 13 ounces over three days, earning him a $10,000 check in his first Bassmaster event.
Today, Parker and his travel partner, Tim Horton, are in Palatka, Fla., where they put their boats in before dawn to prepare for this weekend’s Citrus Slam.
At this past weekend’s tournament, Parker hauled in five bass weighing a total of 12.3 pounds on the first day, followed by a second day catch of five bass weighing a total of 12.6 pounds. His third and final day his catch weighed 9.4 pounds. Parker’s 27th place finish wasn’t good enough to qualify for the final day of the tournament (only the top 12 professionals qualify for the final day of the event) but was good enough to earn $10,000 for his efforts.
Grigsby earned $100,000  for his first-place finish in the event.
In a phone interview with The Messenger Sunday afternoon from Palatka, Parker said he was “really nervous” about competing in his first Bassmaster Elite Series event.
“Instead of swinging for the fences, I just wanted to be consistent,” Parker said. “I didn’t want to take any major risks and it turned out well.”
In fact, Parker ended up being tied with his travel partner and tournament veteran Horton after the first day of the event. Parker said Horton is helping him learn the ropes involved with being on the Bassmaster tour. The Obion County native currently lives in Springville, on Kentucky Lake, but for the next three months he will be on the road competing in various weekend Bassmaster tournaments across the mid-south.
Parker said Sunday he planned to be out on the water on the St. John’s River before sunrise today and would be out after sunset with his running lights on, trying to learn the waters of the Florida river. The competition for the Citrus Slam actually begins Thursday and continues through Sunday.
“It’s a completely new tournament,” Parker said about the Citrus Slam.
Looking back at his performance in the Sunshine Showdown, an obviously pleased Parker said he had to deal with a completely different fishing environment than what he’s used to on Reelfoot and Kentucky lakes. He said the water color is different and the water is warm year-round where he is fishing now.
In the Sunrise Showdown, Parker said he used a Yum six-inch finesse worm and an XCalibur XR75 lure to bring in his fish.
He said the two lures performed well for him during the three days he competed.
“I was absolutely tickled,” Parker said about his 27th place finish. “I beat more than half the field and I got a check.”
Kevin Bowden may be contacted by e-mail at kmbowden@ucmessenger.com.

Published in The Messenger 3.14.11

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