Red-hot Robertson grabs overall lead in EverStart Challenge

Monster bass come alive during second day of tournament as angler field is cut down to 10

CYPRESS GARDENS, Fla. - On a day where humungous bass were the rule and not the exception, pro Darrel Robertson of Jay, Okla., hauled in a whopping 8-pound, 7-pounce fish to vault into the overall lead in the $300,000 EverStart Series Invitational Challenge. Robertson, who won a first-prize check of $600,000 during the Ranger M1 Millennium Tournament at Cypress Gardens in 1999, found similar success today fishing in almost exactly the same spot as he did one year earlier.

With a total catch of 15 pounds, 5 ounces, Robertson brought his two-day total to 27 pounds, 15 ounces.

And to hear him tell it, he could have caught more.

"It was a really good day," he said. "I could have caught 25 pounds of fish if I wanted to."

Robertson, who also placed fifth at this year's Wal-Mart FLW Tour Championship at Shreveport, La., said that he hoped his string of strong fishing performances in the fall would continue this week.

"I think I understand the fish a little bit better this time of year," said Robertson of his comfort level with the fall-fishing patterns. "I'm excited to make the cut, but there are a lot of good fishermen out here. And to tell you the truth, I wish I could have saved that big fish for (the final round on) Saturday."

Taylor Hutchings of Phoenix, Ariz., was in second place heading into Friday's competition with a two-day catch of 26 pounds, 2 ounces.

Chip Harrison of Bremen, Ind., said he was pleased with his performance after recording a third-place finish with a two-day catch of 25 pounds, 15 ounces.

"I'm kind of excited," said Harrison, who won the inaugural EverStart tournament on Lake Okeechobee, Fla., in 1998. "I didn't have a good day yesterday and I really needed to stay focused. My goal was to make the top 10 and I accomplished that. So it feels good."

Harrison said that fishing in Indiana for many years has given him a slight advantage over the field.

"I grew up in northern Indiana and these are the type of lakes I'm used to," he said. "These lakes here are not very big and there are a lot of people fishing in a relatively small area. I think the congestion on the lakes here bothers some people, but like I said, I'm used to it."

Day-one leader Greg Hackney of Oak Ridge, La., dropped to fourth place overall with a two-day catch of 22 pounds, 7 ounces. Nonetheless, Hackney said he was pleased to make the all-important top-10 cut.

"I'm happy to be fishing tomorrow," Hackney said. "I had a good day yesterday and I knew what I needed to do today. I caught three fish pretty quickly and then I kind of backed off a little bit. I really wanted to save some fish for later in the tournament."

Hugh Crumpler III of Melbourne, Fla., finished in fifth place with a two-day catch of 21 pounds, 2 ounces.

Also surviving Thursday's top-10 cut were Mike Gough (sixth) of Gainesville, Fla., with a two-day catch of 19 pounds, 10 ounces; Eddie Hall (seventh) of Porum, Okla., with a two-day catch of 18 pounds; Alister Johnson (eighth) of Cottondale, Fla., with a two-day catch of 17 pounds, 2 ounces; Jim Short (ninth) of Ocean Pines, Md., with a two-day catch of 17 pounds, 1 ounce; and Al Gagliarducci (tenth) of Agawam, Mass., with a two-day catch of 15 pounds, 14 ounces.

The big fish kept on coming

While Robertson's red-hot performance was the hot topic of conversation, the real story of the day appeared to be the reemergence of gargantuan bass. Despite a host of relatively small stringers on day one, Thursday's action produced at least 6 bass weighing in over 7 pounds. But it didn't end there. In addition to Robertson's huge 8 pound, 7 ounce bass, Hall, who finished in seventh place in the Pro Division, hauled in a 9-pound, 12-ounce behemoth to capture a $750 prize for big bass of the day.

Harrison, who caught a 7-pound, 13-ounce bass today as well as another weighing 7 pounds, 12 ounces, believes that there are a lot more trophy bass to be had in the next two days given the right conditions.

"For some reason, there are some monster fish in here," said Harrison, in what was probably the understatement of the day. "I think tomorrow, someone is going to catch a load of fish. I just hope it's me."

Co-angler race remains tight

The Co-Angler Division leader board was still close after day two, with less than three pounds separating all 10 anglers. However, the faces of those leaders changed fairly dramatically. In fact, six of the top-10 co-anglers after day one did not make the final cut after the conclusion of Thursday's competition.

Fortunately for George Anders, he was not one of them. Anders, a native of Pineville, La., took the overall lead with a two-day catch of 13 pounds, 14 ounces - catching exactly 6 pounds, 15 ounces on both days.

"I've been pretty consistent so far," said Anders. "And obviously that has helped."

Although he was happy to make the top 10, Anders appeared to be having as much fun as anyone in the entire tournament.

"This has just been a great experience," he said. "The pros have been really nice and they've helped me a lot. It was really exciting watching everyone catch those fish today. It seemed like every time I turned around in my boat, someone was catching a huge fish. So far, it's been a pretty neat deal."

Rounding out the top 10 co-angler field were Lonnie Fuller (second) of Hemphill, Texas, with a two-day catch of 13 pounds, 2 ounces; Wesley Burnett (third) of Hot Springs, Ariz., with a two-day catch of 13 pounds; Clay West (tied for fourth) of Griffin, Ga., with a two-day catch 12 pounds, 15 ounces; Scott Sanders (tied for fourth) of Cataula, Ga., with a two-day catch of 12 pounds, 15 ounces; Russ Lauffer (sixth) of Littleton, Mass, with a two-day catch of 12 pounds, 7 ounces; Chris Abney (seventh) of Mount Sterling, Ky., with a two-day catch of 12 pounds; Kay Barton (eighth) of Tuskahoma, Okla., with a two-day catch of 11 pounds, 10 ounces; Kendall Martin (ninth) of Tremont, Ill., with a two-day catch of 11 pounds, 1 ounce; and Asa Godsey (tenth) of Mechanicsville, Va., with a two-day catch of 11 pounds.

The top 10 co-anglers will compete for a $10,000 first-place check and a new Ranger boat on Friday.

Friday morning takeoff for both pros and co-anglers will take place at 8 a.m. at the Cypress Gardens launch site. Weigh-in is scheduled for 4 p.m.

Click for results, press releases, photos and Quick Bites.


Tags: headline-story  gary-mortenson 

/news/2015-03-27-lewis-smith-lake-day-2-coverage

Lewis Smith Lake Day 2 Coverage

Day 2 reports from the Walmart FLW Tour on Lewis Smith Lake READ MORE »

/news/2015-03-26-benton-blasts-20-12-on-lewis-smith

Benton Blasts 20-12 on Lewis Smith

Panama City, Fla., pro Drew Benton jumped into the early lead at the Walmart FLW Tour event on Lewis Smith Lake presented by Evinrude with a five-bass limit weighing 20 pounds, 12 ounces. Benton caught a mix of largemouths and spotted bass, and revealed that both black bass species are spawning. He leads a tight top 20 that includes 18 pros that caught more than 15 pounds each. The first day was an absolute fish-fest. Of the 154 pros fishing this tournament, 138 weighed limits. Brad Roberts of Faubush, Ky., has a 2-ounce lead in the co-angler division with a 13-pound, 4-ounce limit. Tomorrow he’ll try to defend his lead on the final day of co-angler competition. READ MORE »

/news/2015-03-26-top-5-patterns-from-lewis-smith-day-1

Top 5 Patterns from Lewis Smith Day 1

While Drew Benton was busy bugging bedding fish for his day-one tournament lead, several others behind him were scoring big with other fishing options on Lewis Smith Lake. Sight-fishing also played a role in the top limits produce by Tracy Adams, Scott Martin and Ish Monroe, but Clayton Batts and Zack Birge both brought in big bags with other patterns. Click here to read about Benton’s day-one performance at the second Walmart FLW Tour event of 2015, which is presented by Evinrude. Here’s how the rest of the top five got it done. READ MORE »

/news/2015-03-26-lewis-smith-lake-day-1-coverage

Lewis Smith Lake Day 1 Coverage

Day 1 reports from the Walmart FLW Tour on Lewis Smith Lake READ MORE »

/news/2015-03-22-arkansas-anglers-win-college-open

Arkansas Anglers Win College Open

Consistency was the key for the University of Arkansas-Fayetteville here in the FLW College Fishing Kentucky Lake Open as Zachary Pickle and Drew Porto won the event with a two-day total of 43 pounds, 12 ounces. READ MORE »

/news/2015-03-21-kendrick-king-on-guntersville

Kendrick King On Guntersville

Kendrick, who is fishing the Rayovac FLW Series in hopes of qualifying for the FLW Tour, caught more than 25 pounds each day of the event and finihsid in fine fasion when it counted. Kendick was catching nearly all of his bass around big schools of bait with a Houdini pearl-colored Scottsboro Tackle swimbait from 15- to 25-feet of water. READ MORE »

/news/2015-03-21-epting-s-30-pounds-tops-on-santee-cooper

Epting's 30 Pounds Tops on Santee Cooper

SUMMERTON, S.C. – Chris Epting of Chapin, South Carolina, weighed a five-bass limit totaling 30 pounds, 2 ounces Saturday to win the second Walmart Bass Fishing League South Carolina Division tournament of 2015 on Santee Cooper. For his victory, Epting earned $3,679. READ MORE »

/news/2015-03-21-wood-rock-key-for-middleton-s-victory

Wood, Rock Key for Middleton's Victory

HUDDLESTON, Va. – Dennis Middleton of Madison Heights, Virginia, weighed a five-bass limit totaling 19 pounds, 11 ounces Saturday to win the first Walmart Bass Fishing League Shenandoah Division tournament of 2015 on Smith Mountain Lake. For his victory, Middleton earned $7,199. READ MORE »

/news/2015-03-21-johnson-wins-on-dale-hollow

Johnson Wins on Dale Hollow

BYRDSTOWN, Tenn. – Robby Johnson of Byrdstown, Tennessee, weighed a five-bass limit totaling 22 pounds, 7 ounces Saturday to win the first Walmart Bass Fishing League Mountain Division tournament of 2015 on Dale Hollow Lake. For his victory, Johnson earned $5,689. READ MORE »

/news/2015-03-21-griffin-gets-win-on-ross-barnett

Griffin Gets Win on Ross Barnett

BRANDON, Miss. – Jason Griffin of Benton, Mississippi, weighed a five-bass limit totaling 23 pounds, 2 ounces Saturday to win the first Walmart Bass Fishing League Mississippi Division tournament of 2015 on Ross Barnett Reservoir. For his victory, Griffin earned $5,349. READ MORE »

/news/2015-03-20-top-5-patterns-from-guntersville-day-2

Top 5 Patterns from Guntersville Day 2

The second day of the Rayovac FLW Series Southeast Division tournament on Lake Guntersville proved as remarkable as the first – or perhaps better, considering today’s parade of big fish included a 12-pound, 10-ounce behemoth caught by fourth-place pro Trevor Fitzgerald for the day’s Big Bass prize. READ MORE »

/news/2015-03-20-hall-holds-steady-for-lead

Hall Holds Steady For Lead

Joe Hall of Lake City, Minn. wasn’t confident about his chances going onto the second day of competition of the Rayovac FLW Series Southeast Division event on Lake Guntersville. Nonetheless, he held steady with a 27-pound, 5-ounce catch that only barely fell short of the 28-1 he weighed on the first day. With a two-day total of 55 pounds, 6 ounces, Hall holds a 1-pound, 12-ounce lead over Cameron Gautney going into the final day of the Mercury presented tournament. READ MORE »

/news/2015-03-20-missouri-anglers-lead-college-open

Missouri Anglers Lead College Open

Andrew Nordbye and Adam Almohtadi of Northwest Missouri State University of Maryville, Mo., took the lead in the opening round of the FLW College Fishing Open on Kentucky Lake with 25 pounds, 2 ounces. Heading into Saturday’s second and final round, the University of Kentucky’s Ryan Collins and Hunter Fulcher sit in second place with 22-14, while Ethan Flack and Konnor Kennedy of the University of Alabama are currently third with 22-9. Details to follow. READ MORE »

/news/2015-03-20-day-1-patterns-from-the-college-open

Day 1 Patterns from the College Open

The Northwest Missouri State University team of Andrew Nordbye and Adam Almontadi took the day-one lead in the FLW College Fishing Open on Kentucky Lake. While their pattern seems to be effectively refined – they were using only one lure and had no others out on the deck – Nordbye and Almontadi don’t have this one sewed up yet. The rest of the top five is just a few pounds behind the leaders. Here’s how they made it into contention going into the final day. READ MORE »

/news/2015-03-20-gautney-under-pressure

Gautney Under Pressure

Day two of the Rayovac FLW Series Southeast Division event on Guntersville is just as misty and nasty as the first. Lucky for us, the first day of the Mercury-presented event featured huge catches throughout the field. READ MORE »

/news/2015-03-20-college-open-day-1-midday-update

College Open Day 1 Midday Update

“You should have been here yesterday” might have been the motto for the first day of fishing in the FLW College Fishing Open on Kentucky Lake. Though many of the 194 teams entered in the two-day event out of Moor’s Resort & Marina reported good to excellent practices, many of the same anglers were complaining about a lack of fish on opening morning of the competition. READ MORE »

/news/2015-03-19-gautney-cranks-up-the-lead

Gautney Cranks Up The Lead

Gautney says he keyed on staging fish in several very specific locations and one specific depth. He and co-angler Antoni Bicy caught 59 pounds, 8 ounces off of his spots, and he seems confident about his ability to keep catching them the rest of the event. READ MORE »

/news/2015-03-19-top-5-patterns-from-guntersville-day-1

Top 5 Patterns from Guntersville Day 1

The first day of the Rayovac FLW Series event on Lake Guntersville was a welcome departure from the grumblings of practice. Though fans weren’t treated to multiple 30-pound limits on the pro side, like at the Walmart Bass Fishing League event at Guntersville a couple of weekends ago, it still took more than 25 pounds to get into the top five on day one of this Mercury-presented tournament. READ MORE »

/news/2015-03-14-morrison-wins-on-dale-hollow

Morrison Wins on Dale Hollow

BYRDSTOWN, Tenn. – Charles Morrison of Georgetown, Kentucky, weighed a five-bass limit totaling 20 pounds, 11 ounces Saturday to win the first Walmart Bass Fishing League Music City Division tournament of 2015 on Dale Hollow Lake. For his victory, Morrison earned $3,926. READ MORE »

/news/2015-03-14-hughan-claims-arkie-division-title-on-greers-ferry

Hughan Claims Arkie Division Title on Greers Ferry

GREERS FERRY, Ark. – William Hughan of Little Rock, Arkansas, weighed a five-bass limit totaling 14 pounds, 4 ounces Saturday to win the second Walmart Bass Fishing League Arkie Division tournament of 2015 on Greers Ferry Lake. For his victory, Hughan earned $4,350. READ MORE »