February 24, 2005

Evers takes first-round lead on Guntersville/

GUNTERSVILLE, Ala. On a day when the weather got progressively worse, the weights in the first round of the $618,000 CITGO Bassmaster Tour event on Lake Guntersville kept climbing Thursday until the top nine anglers had bested the 20-pound mark.

That it got colder and windier throughout the day didn't seem to hamper the efforts of pros like Edwin Evers (27 pounds, 15 ounces), Jack Wade (25-6) or Tommy Biffle (25-4), who each brought five-bass limits totaling more than 25 pounds to the scales at Lake Guntersville State Park.

"It looks like a lot of weight, but I didn't get a lot of bites," Oklahoma's Evers said. "I had a decent practice, and I thought that if I got bites they would be quality fish because I'm fishing for staging fish and they tend to be bigger. Luckily, it worked out that way."

Evers, who caught Thursday's top weight using a single lure and running one pattern, left both of his most productive areas early in hopes of ensuring similar success in Friday's second round.

By virtue of having the day's best catch, Evers earns $1,000 and a great chance at a berth in the Busch Shootout. If his catch holds up as one of the 10 best from the Tour, Elite 50, Classic, Open Championship and Federation Championship, he'll be vying for $100,000.

Tennessee's Jack Wade was just glad to change his fortunes.

"It's about time I got out of the hole I've been in this year," he said. "I've got two or three things working, and I'm catching fish no matter what end of the lake I go to.

"I'm fishing big-fish baits that get quality bites."

Oklahoma's Biffle was the only angler among the leaders to admit enjoying a practice period that foreshadowed what was to come once the tournament started.

"I caught a few fish in practice, and I'd catch a big one each day," he said. "Today I changed baits and stayed in a couple of areas and really worked them over. I had a real good day."

Other members of Thursday's 20-pound club include Florida's Terry Scroggins (22-2), Mike Hicks of Virginia (21-10), Japanese pro Morizo Shimizu (21-5), Kentucky's Jack Gadlage (20-8), Mark Rose of Arkansas (20-3) and Oklahoma's Jimmy Houston (20 pounds).

Scroggins admitted being surprised with his catch. "I had the worst practice ever," he said, "so I just kind of went practicing today.

"At one o'clock I only had two fish. Then I found a pattern that was working, and I caught 10 fish in the last two hours. It's a pattern that I feel good about."

Michigan pro Gerald Gostenik took Thursday's Purolator Big Bass honors with a nine-pound, 12-ounce largemouth. "It was the first fish of the day," he said. "It never jumped, and, when I got it to the boat, I thought it was a six-pounder." The trophy bass was worth $1,000 to Gostenik.

In the co-angler division, Florida's Terry Bloom is atop the leaderboard with a shared-weight total of 39-1. He leads a pair of Alabama anglers Steve Stinson with 36-5 and Tommy Swindle with 32-8. The top four co-anglers will take home a Triton/Mercury boat and outboard package.

The Purolator Big Bass winner on the non-boater side was Danny Grissett of Walnut Hill, Fla., who came to the scales with a seven-pound, five-ounce lunker worth $500.

At the end of Friday's round, the field will be narrowed to the top 12 pros for Saturday's semifinal. The top six will move on to fish the final round on Sunday. At stake is a $100,000 top prize and valuable points toward the CIITGO Bassmaster Classic this summer in Pittsburgh.

Coverage of the 2005 CITGO Bassmaster Tour event on Lake Guntersville will be telecast on March 5 at 10:00 a.m. ET on The CITGO Bassmasters on ESPN2.

Sponsors of the CITGO Bassmaster Tour include CITGO Petroleum Corp., Toyota, Busch Beer, Purolator, Triton Boats, Mercury Marine, Berkley, Lowrance Electronics, MotorGuide, Bass Pro Shops and Cialis (tadalafil).

Local Sponsors include the City of Guntersville, Lake Guntersville Chamber of Commerce, Marshall County Convention & Visitors Bureau and Guntersville Merchants.

BASS Communications -Feb. 24, 2005

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Posted by DODGE at February 24, 2005 03:41 PM in Tournament (BASS)