Valladolid. August 2007.
The fourth annual Eurobass Cup will be held September 25th and 26th at the reservoir of Ricobayo (Zamora). The European team will try to achieve its first victory in a tournament which, until now, has only seen one winner: the team of professionals from the United States.
The veteran, O.T. Fears III, will captain the U.S. team consisting of eleven other anglers, all of whom are professionals who compete in the two American circuits: FLW and B.A.S.S.
In last year’s event, Fears played a key role in the U.S. victories over the European anglers in the Eurobass. He also participated in another of the competitions organized by the Iberian Hunting and Fishing Week: the Latin Bass Tournament, where he was awarded the trophy for biggest fish, weighing in at 1,730 grams. (3 lbs. 13 oz.)
In addition to Fears, the team from the U.S. is made up of Greg Gutierrez, Kevin Wirth, Rob Kilby, Darrell Robertson, John Sappington, Terry Segraves, Charlie Youngers, Charles Hammack, Aaron Hastings, Keith Phillips and Ray Scheide.
Currently, Greg Gutierrez, Kevin Wirth, Charlie Youngers and Keith Phillips compete in the B.A.S.S. circuit and the remaining eight, in the FLW.
This year’s team has a combined total of 29 times participating in the Bassmaster Classic and 19 in the FLW Championship. Past winners include John Sappington and Darrell Robertson. The accumulated earnings of these twelve professionals throughout their career make up more than seven million dollars.
The U.S. team of the Eurobass Cup combines the experience of anglers such as O.T. Fears, Terry Segraves and Darrel Robertson with the youthfulness of Ray Scheide, Aaron Hastings and Keith Phillips.
The results obtained throughout the year by this group of anglers reflect their superior skill. The victory achieved by Aaron Hastings at Lake Travis, the second place finish of Darrel Robertson last February at Lake Ouachita and third place by Greg Gutierrez in the championship competed at Lake Clear all stand out.
Also, Wirth has received sixth and seventh place finishes at Lake Erie and Lake Lay. As far as Sappington and Scheide are concerned, their best results this year have been eighth place finishes in tournaments celebrated in Ford Loudoun and Lake Beaver, respectively.
The professional careers of these anglers have reached important milestones with many tournaments won and countless top ten finishes: 16 from O.T. Fears, 11 from Gutierrez, 26 from Wirth, 24 from Kilby, 20 from Robertson, 15 from Sappington, 8 from Segraves, 5 from Hastings, 3 from Hammack, 18 from Scheide, etc.
The majority of the participants from team USA will be coming for the first time to Ricobayo, with only O.T. Fears, Greg Gutierrez and Kevin Wirth participating in previous events. Since 2004, prestigious names have participated in Ricobayo including: Aaron Martens, Mike Iaconelli, Shaw Grigsby, Ken Cook, Brent Ehrler, Steve Kennedy, Danny Correia, Anthony Gagliardi, John Murray, etc. In the past four years, 39 different anglers from the United States have competed in the Eurobass Cup.
Other participants in previous Eurobass Cup competitions are Scott Suggs, who won the FLW Championship and its one million dollar prize this year, Ishama Monroe, Byron Velvick, Lee Bailey Jr., John Crews, Fred Roumbanis, Bradley Stringer, Jeff Kriet, Bink Desaro, Ron Shuffield, Jason Reyes, Kelly Jordon, Mark Tyler, Darryl Burkhardt, Dennis Kolender and Jack A. Gadlage, among others.
Official practice days for the Eurobass Cup will take place September 23rd and 24th with the two round competition to follow on Tuesday and Wednesday, September 25th and 26th. After the tournament, the American anglers will give seminars on fishing techniques at the Trade Fair Center of Valladolid where the Iberian Hunting and Fishing Week Trade Fair will be celebrated. In addition, the anglers will participate September 29th in the Latin Bass Tournament, which will also be held at the reservoir of Ricobayo.