September 24, 2004

Ten anglers advance to final round of EverStart Series event on Lake Champlain

PLATTSBURGH, N.Y. - Ten anglers remain at the final EverStart Series Northern Division event of the season, taking place this week on New York°«s Lake Champlain, and Art Ferguson of St. Clair Shores, Mich., leads the list of pros who will compete Saturday for a top pro award of as much as $61,900 thanks to a five-bass catch Friday that weighed 17 pounds, 11 ounces. The four-day, $256,825 tournament is presented by Schick Quattro and hosted by the City of Plattsburgh and I Love New York.

After Thursday°«s competition, Ferguson claimed he did not have a definite pattern figured out, and he says he still doesn°«t, but what he managed to do was give himself nearly a 2-pound lead heading into the final round. Lake Champlain has been good to Ferguson in the past, however, as he finished fourth at last year°«s EverStart Series event on the prolific New York fishery.

°»I did the same basic thing, but I had to expand,°… Ferguson said. °»I expanded a half mile in one little area that I°«m fishing. It ended up that my partner (today°«s co-angler leader) keyed me onto a way to catch my fish, so that really helped me. I wound up catching two of my better fish on the style of fishing he told me to do.°…

When Ferguson returned to the spot holding the school of fish that gave him the opening-round lead, he found the fish were scattered and no longer schooled. °»I had to move around,°… he said. °»I caught eight keepers today and just got the right bites. I°«m catching them on three different baits, and one of them is a Yamamoto Senko. I°«m also using Berkley Vanish line ? that Vanish with the low stretch is really helping me feel these fish and stay in contact with the fish, and that helps when you°«re talking about fish of this size. I didn°«t realize how big they were. I thought I had 15 pounds coming into the weigh-in.

°»If you°«re going to come into the final day of an EverStart, you want to have a 2-pound lead. Everybody°«s bunched up in that 15-pound range. I°«m not going to relax, but it eases some of the pressure.°…

Rounding out the top five pros are Mark Zona of Sturgis, Mich. (five bass, 15 pounds, 13 ounces); Scott Dobson of Waterford, Mich. (five bass, 15 pounds, 11 ounces); Yamaha pro Terry Baksay of Monroe, Conn. (five bass, 15 pounds, 11 ounces); and Craig Workman of Fort Worth, Texas (five bass, 15 pounds, 9 ounces).

Kenneth Witter of Pine Valley will enter Saturday°«s competition as the No. 1 co-angler, thanks to his catch Friday of five bass weighing 16 pounds. Witter also led the Co-angler Division after Thursday°«s conclusion of the opening round and fished with Ferguson on Friday. He will fish with him again Saturday.

°»I did things a little bit differently than I did yesterday,°… Witter said. °»You just have to adapt to that water. Art was a great partner today; we worked good together. I°«ve got just enough to make it, so hopefully we°«ll have the same kind of day tomorrow that we did today.°…

Rounding out the top five co-anglers are Brad Taylor of Catlettsburg (five bass, 15 pounds, 6 ounces); Chuck Willis of Dayton, Ohio (five bass, 15 pounds, 5 ounces); Rob McMurray of Troy, Mich. (five bass, 15 pounds, 2 ounces); and Mark Grahn of Wautoma, Wis. (four bass, 12 pounds, 3 ounces).
Mooney Bay Marina in Plattsburgh will host the final takeoff at 7 a.m. Saturday. The final-round weigh-in will take place at the Wal-Mart store located at 25 Consumer Square in Plattsburgh beginning at 4 p.m. The community is encouraged to attend the takeoff and weigh-in.

The tournament began Wednesday with 192 pros and 192 co-anglers competing for one of 20 slots in Friday°«s semifinal round. Weights were cleared for the semifinal round, and the top 10 from Friday°«s competition will fish Saturday for the win.

The winning pro is guaranteed $10,000 cash plus an Evinrude- or Yamaha-powered Ranger 519 VS equipped with Garmin electronics, a Minn Kota trolling motor and EverStart Batteries. If the winner is the original owner of a Ranger boat, he will receive a $10,000 bonus from Ranger for a top pro award worth $61,900. If he is a qualifying participant in the Ranger Cup incentive program, Ranger will award another $3,000 cash (or $1,500 to the highest-finishing Ranger Cup participant if not the winner), and Yamaha will match 50 percent of Ranger Cup winnings if the angler°«s boat is powered by a Yamaha outboard. Garmin will award the winning pro $1,000 if he uses only Garmin electronics and at least one unit is a qualifying unit.

The winning co-angler is guaranteed $5,000 cash, and if he is a Ranger boat owner, Ranger will award him a new Ranger 519 VS for a total prize package worth $35,000.

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.

For more information on the EverStart Series or any of FLW Outdoors°« six tournament trails, visit FLWOutdoors.com.

+For more infomation, clickwww.FLW Outdoors.com.

Posted by DODGE at September 24, 2004 08:59 PM in Tournament (FLW)

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