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/2015-05-23-brown-rallies-for-seminole-win

Brown Rallies for Seminole Win

When the Rayovac FLW Series event on Lake Seminole started on Thursday, hot, slick conditions prevailed. The air temperatures pushed into the 90’s, water temperatures hovered between 80 and 85 degrees – summertime was on. Or was it? READ MORE »

/news/2015-05-23-jeter-takes-co-angler-crown

Jeter Takes Co-Angler Crown

Call it a local’s sweep at the Rayovac FLW Series on Lake Seminole. While local pro Clint Brown of Bainbridge, Ga., won the boater Division, his Bainbridge neighbor, Greg Jeter won the Co-angler Division to make it a local twofer. READ MORE »

/news/2015-05-23-lake-seminole-day-3-midday-update

Lake Seminole Day 3 Midday Update

Second place pro Clint Brown was gaining some serious ground on Reneau as Brown had boxed four solid keepers for about 11 pounds on his very first spot – all caught from protected backwaters with a topwater. READ MORE »

/news/2015-05-22-reneau-grabs-lead-on-seminole

Reneau Grabs Lead On Seminole

Though Reneau has weighed in 15-1 and 20-7 over two days for a total of 35 pounds, 8 ounces, he says he is only getting about six bites per day. READ MORE »

/news/2015-05-22-top-5-patterns-from-seminole-day-2

Top 5 Patterns From Seminole Day 2

A shake-up occurred on day two of the Rayovac FLW Series presented by Evinrude on Lake Seminole. Day one was all about slow, summertime fishing in the lake’s deep timber. Overnight a frontal passage dropped water and air temperatures and left a north wind howling down the lake. As a result, the timber bite cooled off and those fishing shallower waters climbed up the leaderboard. READ MORE »

/news/2015-05-22-lake-seminole-day-2-midday-update

Lake Seminole Day 2 Midday Update

The hot summer at Seminole turned back into spring this morning as a cold front blew through the area dropping air temps some 10 degrees with a blustery north wind. Sweatshirts were needed again as the cold air felt more like April than May. READ MORE »

/news/2015-05-21-enfinger-leads-on-seminole

Enfinger Leads On Seminole

Enfinger said he got off to a “fast start” this morning, sacking a limit by 10 a.m., but he only upgraded twice after that, catching about eight keepers on the day. READ MORE »

/news/2015-05-21-top-5-patterns-from-seminole-day-1

Top 5 Patterns From Seminole Day 1

Bradley Enfinger took the day-one lead at the Rayovac FLW Series presented by Evinrude on Lake Seminole fishing suspended bass in timber. Others in the top-5 fished both wood and grass on day one. READ MORE »

/news/2015-05-21-lake-seminole-midday-update

Lake Seminole Midday Update

Lake Seminole is known to be more of a quality lake than a quantity lake and that trait showed on the morning of day one as anglers who were catching fish were not necessarily getting many bites, but 3-pound pluses seemed to be the norm for the ones hauled in over the gunnel. READ MORE »

/news/2015-05-19-ledges-lift-wilson-to-top

Ledges Lift Wilson to Top

Tim Wilson of Gas City, Indiana, weighed a five-bass limit totaling 29 pounds, 10 ounces Saturday to win the fourth Walmart Bass Fishing League Choo Choo Division tournament of 2015 on Lake Guntersville. For his victory, Wilson earned $5,584. READ MORE »

/news/2015-05-19-two-in-a-row-for-fox

Two in a Row for Fox

Dwight Fox of Gainesboro, Tennessee, weighed four bass totaling 16 pounds, 2 ounces Saturday to win the third Walmart Bass Fishing League Mountain Division tournament of 2015 on Lake Cumberland. For his victory, Fox earned $4,463. READ MORE »

/news/2015-05-19-bluff-walls-carry-meredith

Bluff Walls Carry Meredith

GROVE, Okla. – Mitch Meredith of Hulbert, Oklahoma, weighed a five-bass limit totaling 18 pounds, 4 ounces Saturday to win the third Walmart Bass Fishing League Okie Division tournament of 2015 on Grand Lake. For his victory, Meredith earned $7,165. READ MORE »

/news/2015-05-19-tidwell-slows-down-for-title

Tidwell Slows Down for Title

MCCORMICK, S.C. – Brian Tidwell of Seneca, South Carolina, weighed a five-bass limit totaling 17 pounds, 11 ounces Saturday to win the fourth Walmart Bass Fishing League South Carolina Division tournament of 2015 on Clarks Hill Lake. For his victory, Tidwell earned $3,021. READ MORE »

/news/2015-05-19-ginter-gets-the-win

Ginter Gets the Win

CELINA, Ohio – Gary Ginter of Maplewood, Ohio, weighed a five-bass limit totaling 13 pounds, 4 ounces Saturday to win the first Walmart Bass Fishing League Buckeye Division tournament of 2015 on Grand Lake. For his victory, Ginter earned $3,963. READ MORE »

/news/2015-05-19-jig-does-the-trick-for-roselle

Jig Does the Trick for Roselle

MARBURY, Md. – Mike Roselle of La Plata, Maryland, weighed a five-bass limit totaling 16 pounds, 13 ounces Saturday to win the third Walmart Bass Fishing League Shenandoah Division tournament of 2015 on Potomac River. For his victory, Roselle earned $6,235. READ MORE »

/news/2015-05-17-thrift-by-3

Thrift by 3

The “numbers game.” It’s a term that Bryan Thrift used to describe his fishing on Lake Eufaula back in 2013 when he finished runner-up to Randy Haynes in a Walmart FLW Tour event. The method to his numbers madness was to hit as many solitary objects – stumps, brush piles, rocks, logs – on the bottom of Lake Eufaula as humanly possible in an eight-hour tournament day. When Thrift saw that Lake Eufaula was back on the 2015 Walmart FLW Tour schedule for May of this year, he grinned that patented Bryan Thrift grin because he already knew how to crunch the numbers at Eufaula. And Thrift is still grinning. After sacking up a final-day catch of 15 pounds, 5 ounces to top off 69-14 for the week, Thrift made the numbers work for his fourth FLW Tour win. He added another $125,000 to his bank account. READ MORE »

/news/2015-05-17-lake-eufaula-day-4-coverage

Lake Eufaula Day 4 Coverage

Daily updates from the Walmart FLW Tour event on Lake Eufaula presented by Quaker State. READ MORE »

/news/2015-05-16-morrow-thrift-neck-and-neck

Morrow, Thrift Neck and Neck

Georgia pro Troy Morrow brought in 15 pounds, 4 ounces on the third day of competition at the Walmart FLW Tour event presented by Quaker State on Lake Eufaula to increase his tournament total to 54-13. Morrow maintains his lead for the second consecutive day, but he won’t sleep comfortably tonight with North Carolina hammer Bryan Thrift just 4 ounces off the lead with 54-09. READ MORE »

/news/2015-05-16-top-5-patterns-from-lake-eufaula-day-3

Top 5 Patterns from Lake Eufaula Day 3

Troy Morrow is leading the Walmart FLW Tour event presented by Quaker State on Lake Eufaula. However, with one day left to fish, he has a big problem going into the last day: Bryan Thrift. The Shelby, N.C., pro is just 4 ounces behind Morrow. Here’s how Thrift and the rest of the top five caught their fish. READ MORE »

/news/2015-05-16-lake-eufaula-day-3-coverage

Lake Eufaula Day 3 Coverage

Daily updates from the Walmart FLW Tour event on Lake Eufaula presented by Quaker State. READ MORE »