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Elias to compete in Bass Masters Classic World Championship

By By Mikes Giles/The Meridian Star
July 27, 2001
Local angler and former Bass Masters Classic Champion Paul Elias will be competing in his 13th Bass Masters Classic in New Orleans August 3 through 5th. Elias qualified for the all-important Classic by finishing in15th place on the Top150 Tournament Trail. The seasoned veteran will once again be competing against the best fishermen in the world during Classic week.
Elias is no stranger to competing against the best anglers as evidenced by his 1982 win in the Classic where he was crowned World Champion. After many years on the circuit, Elias is still a force to be reckoned with.
Murky Water
According to Elias, the water around New Orleans has really been messed up of late due to a lot of rain and intrusion of marsh and salt water into some of the prime fishing habitat. During their practice days earlier this year, the fishing was really tough for most of the pros. During Classic week the pros will only have one day of practice and it will be shorter than most practice days .So it will be imperative that the pros concentrate and make the best of their time on the water.
The star anglers will arrive in New Orleans on Monday, July 31st. On Tuesday, August 1st there will be an autograph session for the kids in LAFRENIERE PARK. Tournament days will follow for the rest of the week with a new champion to be named on Friday, August 4th.
Elias will be on the lookout for grass, pads and wood in his search for the winning combination. Due to the layout and makeup of the surrounding area, the fishing will be strictly shallow water fishing. Some of the popular baits are sure to be frogs, buzz baits, spinnerbaits and flipping baits.
Elias has returned to the forefront of the sport in the past few years, buoyed by a win in the Inaugural Legends Bass Tournament. In addition to competing in this year's Classic, Elias has come in10th and 6th on the FLW tour the last 2 years. With over $800,000 in winnings, it's just a matter of time before he becomes the first Mississippian to crack the million-dollar mark! In a career that spans over 22 years, Elias has competed against many of the legends of the fishing world and has come out on top time and again. Now at 50 years of age he is continuing to hold his own with the younger anglers. Most of the old time pros have retired.
Education First
Elias started his pro career in 1979 after attending the University of Southern Mississippi. He recommends that aspiring young anglers get a college education before trying to make it on the fishing trail. A lot of the professional angler's job today entails speaking at seminars and representing many different sponsors. If an angler is not educated and polished enough to speak publicly and represent the sponsors in a professional manner, he won't last long.
Elias also recommends that young anglers read fishing magazines, watch videos and learn all they can about techniques and patterns. And of course the most important thing is time and experience on the water.
In the old days of tournament fishing the top pros only fished 6 or 7 tournaments a year. These days most fish15 or more on 2 of the top professional trails. Elias himself is on the road more than off and he fishes in excess of 200 days a year. "The people of Mississippi have always supported me, so I hope I can go down there and make something happen that everyone will be proud of," he stated. Along with Elias, Pete Ponds of Madison, will also represent our state in the world championship.