June 05, 2004

Newton claims EverStart Series victory on Kentucky Lake

GILBERTSVILLE, Ky. - Ranger pro Jonathan Newton of Rogersville, Ala., earned his second career EverStart Series victory Saturday by topping a hard-charging list of local pros on Kentucky Lake. Newtons two-day total of 10 bass weighed 34 pounds, 14 ounces and propelled him past runner-up Britt Cone of Benton by 1 pound, 1 ounce.

For the win, Newton earned $10,000 cash plus an Evinrude- or Yamaha-powered Ranger boat equipped with Garmin electronics, a Minn Kota trolling motor and EverStart batteries. He also earned $3,000 as the highest-finishing participant in the Ranger Cup incentive program.

Newton used jigs and crankbaits on Kentucky Lake ledges to claim victory in an event dominated by local anglers - eight of the 10 final-round pros hail from the Kentucky Lake area. He approached the weigh-in stage not believing he had a stringer heavy enough to topple Cone but walked away with his second win in two seasons.

"I was freaking out," said Newton, whose previous EverStart Series victory came on his home fishery, Alabama's Wheeler Lake. "I really struggled today and only caught six keepers, and I had ruled out winning this tournament. This is the best win yet."

After fishing Barkley Lake on opening day and finishing 21st, Newton switched to the Kentucky Lake side and ran nothing but ledges to take home the tournament crown. "I just wanted to prove that I could do something besides flip," he said. "Growing up on Wheeler Lake, we have limited ledge fish, so to come up here and have so much to choose from, it was awesome. There were 10 ledges I was fishing, but I'd say 90 percent of (the fish) came from just one."

Newton's day-four limit weighed more than 10 pounds less than his day-three stringer, which he attributes to Saturday's lack of current. He weighed in only largemouths on the final day.

Rounding out the top five pros are Cone (10 bass, 33 pounds, 13 ounces, $10,000); David Young of Mayfield (nine bass, 33 pounds, 7 ounces, $9,000); Billy Schroeder of Paducah (10 bass, 32 pounds, 4 ounces, $8,000); and Rodney Brown of Eddyville (10 bass, 29 pounds, 4 ounces, $7,500).

Team Yamaha angler Frank Divis Sr. of Fayetteville, Ark., also earned his second career EverStart Series win Saturday with a victory in the Co-angler Division. Divis' two-day total of 10 bass weighed 28 pounds, 3 ounces, enough to earn him $5,000 cash as the winner plus a Ranger boat for being a registered owner of a Ranger for a total prize package worth $35,000.

Divis, one of the most successful co-anglers in FLW Outdoors history, also has a win on the Wal-Mart FLW Tour to his credit and 14 top-10s in the EverStart Series and FLW Tour combined. He has used a jig of his own design to catch most of those bass along the way, and this week was no exception.

"I dragged a football head jig that I designed and sold to PJ's Jigs, and I was using a BassMedics 2iG-Xtreme rod, Divis said. I had nine days of practice, and I fished the jig the whole time. Most bites came in 12 to 17 feet of water, and all four days I stayed in Kentucky Lake and fished ledges and drops."

Divis recently claimed fourth place at the Kentucky Lake FLW Tour event. "This is the last win Ive had (since 2001)," Divis said. "I've had several top-five finishes, and everybody says, 'Frank, you're consistent.' Well, I don't want to be consistent. I want to win. This is a monkey off my back."

Rounding out the top five co-anglers are Jon Lessard of Tullahoma, Tenn. (10 bass, 26 pounds, $4,000); Keith Newsom of Memphis, Tenn. (eight bass, 24 pounds, 9 ounces); David Fields of Sikeston, Mo. (six bass, 22 pounds, 11 ounces, $2,500); and Woody (James) Clark of Bandera, Texas (nine bass, 21 pounds, 8 ounces, $2,000).

The $256,825 tournament began Wednesday from Moors Resort in Gilbertsville with 200 pros and 200 co-anglers fishing for two days to determine the 20-angler semifinal-round field based on two-day accumulated weights. Weights were cleared for Fridays semifinal round, and anglers competed that day for one of 10 slots in Saturday's final round. Weights carried over Saturday, and the pro and co-angler winners were determined by the heaviest two-day weights.

The EverStart Series features a pro/co-angler format with pros supplying the boats, fishing from the front deck against other pros and controlling boat movement. Co-anglers fish from the back deck and compete against other co-anglers. Every angler who receives weight credit in a tournament earns points that determine angler standings. Two hundred points are awarded to the winner, 199 points for second, 198 points for third, and so on.

Designed as a pathway to the $6.8 million Wal-Mart FLW Tour, the world's most lucrative bass-tournament series, the EverStart Series features four divisions - Eastern, Central, Northern and Western - with four regular-season events each. The season culminates with the $335,975 EverStart Series Championship, which will be held Nov. 3-6 on Lake Cumberland near Somerset, Ky. The event will be broadcast to 65 million subscribers of the Outdoor Life Network on the "FLW Outdoors" television series. Central Division anglers who finish in the top 40 in the final points standings are eligible to compete in the championship.

Named after the legendary founder of Ranger Boats, Forrest L. Wood, FLW Outdoors is the world's leading marketer of competitive fishing. FLW Outdoors-sanctioned tournament trails are the Wal-Mart FLW Tour, EverStart Series, Wal-Mart Bass Fishing League, Wal-Mart Texas Tournament Trail, Wal-Mart RCL Walleye Tour and Wal-Mart RCL Walleye League. EverStart Batteries, the best-selling batteries in the world, are marketed exclusively by Wal-Mart stores.

Posted by DODGE at June 5, 2004 03:57 PM in Tournament (FLW)