Vida Loca!

Kevin Vida of Clare, Mich., shows off part of his winning 20-pound, 13-ounce stringer. Vida took $15,000 and a brand new Ranger boat after taking first place in the Pro Division at the EverStart tour event on Lake Ontario.

Kevin Vida outduels fellow Michigan natives to take EverStart title on Lake Ontario

CLAYTON, N.Y. - Although normally quiet and reserved, Kevin Vida of Clare, Mich., could hardly contain his excitement after taking home top honors at the EverStart Series tour event on Lake Ontario. Leading the weigh in with a total recorded catch of 20 pounds, 13 ounces, Vida had to sweat out the final few moments as Neil Vandebiezen - the last and final angler standing between him and a championship - walked to the scales. With all eyes focused on the two Michigan natives, Vandebiezen carefully weighed in his five-fish limit.

Suddenly, EverStart tournament director Robert Vannerson yelled out Vandebiezen's weight - 20 pounds, 12 ounces. Amazingly, Vida had held onto first place by a mere 1 ounce. As Vandebiezen placed both hands on his head in disbelief, Vida walked over to his friend and shook his hand. Victory was finally his.

"It feels tremendous. I can't believe it," said Vida, who won $15,000 and a fully equipped Ranger boat valued at $35,000 for his efforts. "I'm exhausted, both mentally and physically. I feel bad for Neil. If you're going to lose, you don't want to lose by 1 ounce. But he's a great competitor and I'm sure it will be his turn to win very soon."

In addition to facing difficult fishing conditions throughout the week, Vida also had to put up with some critical equipment problems that almost cost him dearly on the final day of competition.

"My day really did not start out so well," said Vida, who is fishing in his first full season on the EverStart circuit. "I think I had some fouled plugs in my motor and I really didn't think I was going to be able to get to my fishing spot. Later in the day, I thought I blew my motor, but eventually, it started up again. I drove about 35 mph the whole way home. I was never quite sure if I was going to make it back."

However, despite the problems, Vida said he wouldn't trade his overall experience on Lake Ontario for anything.

"It was a lot of fun fishing with my friends," said Vida, who shared the same fishing spot with three other Michigan natives, including Vandebiezen, throughout the week. "We've been friends for a long time and we really helped each other out. Overall, it's been one of the most phenomenal weeks of fishing of career. I had a great time and the fishing was tremendous."

Heartbreak and happiness

Despite one of the most painful losses of his career, Vandebiezen said he was pleased with his performance and relieved that one of his friends took home the title.

"I've had a great time," said Vandebiezen, a native of Portage, Mich. "It's good to see one of my friends win it all. I knew one of us (Michigan natives) was going to come out on top. It was just a question of who was going to get the bigger bites. I lost two fish today and that's what probably cost me the title."

Fishing in only the second EverStart event of his career, Vandebiezen was able to put the loss in perspective.

"My goal was to make the final cut and I did that," said Vandebiezen, who walked away with a nice consolation prize totaling $10,000. "Each day the fishing seemed to get better and better. It's a beautiful area. And I fished well all week. I really can't complain."

On a roll in the east, central and north

With his third-place finish on Lake Ontario, Koby Kreiger can probably lay claim to being the best all-around angler on the entire EverStart circuit as of late. Boasting a fourth-place finish in the EverStart Eastern Division point race, a victory last May at the EverStart Central Division tour event on Kentucky Lake and a top-three performance today in the second Northern Division event of 2001, Kreiger has clearly put the rest of the league on notice.

Of course, you'd never know it from talking to Kreiger.

"I really didn't fish that well today," said the native of Osceola, Ind., after posting a final-day catch of 19 pounds, 13 ounces. "I had a pretty good week, but I lost a fish today that probably cost me the tournament."

Despite the "setback," Kreiger acknowledged that he had a lot of fun fishing with his friends from Michigan.

"I had a great time fishing with those guys," said Kreiger. "I knew that one of us was going to win the tournament. And that's exactly what happened. I would have liked to have finished first, but when you make the top three, you really can't complain too loudly."

For his efforts, Kreiger took home a check for $9,000.

Gerald Beck of Lexington, N.C. finished in fourth place with a total catch of 19 pounds, 9 ounces. Beck netted a check for $8,000. In fifth place was Art Ferguson III of Saint Clair Shores, Mich., who turned in a 19-pound, 4-ounce catch while walking away with $7,500 in prize money.

Best of the rest

Rounding out the top 10 were Mark "Z-Man" Zona (sixth) of Sturgis, Mich., with a catch of 18 pounds, 15 ounces; Bob Izumi (seventh) of Burlington, Ontario, - representing the only Canadian to make it to the finals - with a catch of 16 pounds, 2 ounces; David Hayward (eighth) of Sylvania, Ohio, with a catch of 14 pounds, 11 ounces; John Green (ninth) of Lakeville, Ind., with a catch of 11 pounds, 1 ounce; and Ernie Freeman (tenth) of Waldorf, Md., with a catch of 6 pounds, 8 ounces.

The next EverStart Northern Division event will take place at Sandusky Bay, Ohio, Aug. 22-25.

Related links:
Photos
Results
Pairings
Press releases

Tags: headline-story  gary-mortenson 

/news/2015-06-29-dobson-sticks-with-jerkbait-for-win

Dobson Sticks With Jerkbait for Win

Scott Dobson of Clarkston, Michigan, weighed a five-bass limit totaling 21 pounds, 6 ounces Saturday to win the first Walmart Bass Fishing League Michigan Division tournament of 2015 on Lake St. Clair. For his victory, Dobson earned $5,804. READ MORE »

/news/2015-06-29-johnston-targets-beds-for-big-limit

Johnston Targets Beds for Big Limit

Cory Johnston of Cavan, Ontario, Canada, weighed a five-bass limit totaling 25 pounds, 13 ounces Saturday to win the second Walmart Bass Fishing League Northeast Division tournament of 2015 on 1000 Islands. For his victory, Johnston earned $5,632. READ MORE »

/news/2015-06-29-football-jig-helps-bates-net-title

Football Jig Helps Bates Net Title

Matthew Bates of Greenville, Mississippi, weighed a five-bass limit totaling 20 pounds even Saturday to win the fourth Walmart Bass Fishing League Mississippi Division tournament of 2015 on Lake Ferguson. For his victory, Bates earned $3,963. READ MORE »

/news/2015-06-29-hipsher-hops-ledges-for-victory

Hipsher Hops Ledges for Victory

Craig Hipsher of Benton, Kentucky, weighed a five-bass limit totaling 22 pounds, 8 ounces Saturday to win the fourth Walmart Bass Fishing League LBL Division tournament of 2015 on Kentucky and Barkley lakes. For his victory, Hipsher earned $4,385. READ MORE »

/news/2015-06-29-lauer-wins-on-ohio-river

Lauer Wins on Ohio River

David Lauer of McConnelsville, Ohio, weighed a five-bass limit totaling 12 pounds, 5 ounces Saturday to win the second Walmart Bass Fishing League Buckeye Division tournament of 2015 on the Ohio River. For his victory, Lauer earned $6,289. READ MORE »

/news/2015-06-29-creature-bait-does-it-for-berhorst

Creature Bait Does it for Berhorst

Dennis Berhorst of Holts Summit, Missouri, weighed a five-bass limit totaling 16 pounds, 12 ounces Saturday to win the fourth Walmart Bass Fishing League Ozark Division tournament of 2015 on Lake Truman. For his victory, Berhorst earned $5,963. READ MORE »

/news/2015-06-28-wendlandt-back-at-the-top

Wendlandt Back at the Top

It’s been 14 seasons since Clark Wendlandt last stood on a Walmart FLW Tour stage and hoisted a tournament championship trophy. Since that time, the Texas pro has experienced ups and downs, including an Angler of the Year title (his third) in 2009 and a major medical issue that sidelined him for most of the 2014 season. All that’s in the past now, however, and Wendlandt is right back where he belongs in the world of bass fishing – in first place after the final day on the Potomac River in the Walmart FLW Tour event presented by Ranger Boats. READ MORE »

/news/2015-06-28-top-10-patterns-from-the-potomac-river

Top 10 Patterns from the Potomac River

Clark Wendlandt didn’t pull off any secret techniques to win the Walmart FLW Tour event presented by Ranger Boats on the Potomac River. He simply found an area with the right quality of bass to win and managed it perfectly despite facing a medley of Mother Nature’s toughest challenges. The rest of the top 10 stuck with the standard Potomac targets too, namely grass, docks and wood cover. The only underlying trend of the top 10 is that they found areas to themselves. Here’s how the rest of the top 10 got it done at the 2015 Tour finale. READ MORE »

/news/2015-06-28-potomac-river-day-4-coverage

Potomac River Day 4 Coverage

Daily updates from the Walmart FLW Tour event on the Potomac River presented by Ranger Boats. READ MORE »

/news/2015-06-27-wendlandt-receives-helping-hand

Wendlandt Receives Helping Hand

Not to discredit Clark Wendlandt’s skills as a bass fisherman, but if it wasn’t for an extreme act of kindness on the part of fellow competitor Shin Fukae, Wendlandt wouldn’t be where he is this evening – leading through three days of competition at the Walmart FLW Tour event presented by Ranger Boats on the Potomac River. READ MORE »

/news/2015-06-27-top-5-patterns-from-potomac-river-day-3

Top 5 Patterns from Potomac River Day 3

Pouring rain, gusting winds, a remarkable act of kindness, an Angler of the Year title on the line – day three of the Walmart FLW Tour event presented by Ranger Boats on the Potomac River certainly was not boring. To say the top 20 anglers were waterlogged after Saturday would be any understatement, but as nasty as the weather was, it wasn’t the biggest story of the day. Shinichi Fukae generously helped Clark Wendlandt retain his lead, while Scott Martin sealed the deal on his first AOY title. Meanwhile, a number of other anglers scrambled to adjust with what the weather and the Potomac are throwing at them. Here’s how the rest of the top five caught their fish today. READ MORE »

/news/2015-06-27-potomac-river-day-3-coverage

Potomac River Day 3 Coverage

Daily updates from the Walmart FLW Tour event on the Potomac River presented by Ranger Boats. READ MORE »

/news/2015-06-26-wendlandt-in-familiar-territory

Wendlandt in Familiar Territory

A lot of flip-flopping took place on the second day of the Walmart FLW Tour event presented by Ranger Boats on the Potomac River. When the scale closed, it was three-time Tour Angler of the Year Clark Wendlandt who found himself on top with a two-day total of 32 pounds, 10 ounces. Wendlandt caught 17-13 today – the day’s second-heaviest limit – and leads Potomac local Bryan Schmitt by 1-12 going into the weekend. Wendlandt missed part of last season after suffering a heart attack but has rebounded with good success this season. He has won three times on Tour but hasn’t finished in first place since Beaver Lake in 2001. Details to come on the patterns of the top five. READ MORE »

/news/2015-06-26-potomac-river-day-2-coverage

Potomac River Day 2 Coverage

Daily updates from the Walmart FLW Tour event on Lake Chickamauga presented by Ranger Boats. READ MORE »

/news/2015-06-25-jersey-boy-leads-the-pack

Jersey Boy Leads the Pack

Talk about a traffic jam. And, no, we’re not talking about the streets around the Washington, D.C. area. We’re talking about the standings at the Walmart FLW Tour event presented by Ranger Boats on the Potomac River. Adrian “Jersey Boy” Avena leads the way with a 16-pound, 12-ounce limit, but a total of 41 pros weighed in at least 12 pounds. Many pros lamented the tough bite today, but the results say otherwise as 114 limits were brought to the scale on the pro side. Troy Morrow trails Avena by just 1-06, and 1 ounce behind Morrow is one of the most successful tidewater bass anglers of all time, Bryan Schmitt. READ MORE »

/news/2015-06-25-top-5-patterns-from-potomac-river-day-1

Top 5 Patterns from Potomac River Day 1

It might seem impossible for 405 miles of water to fish small, but space was hard to come by on day one of the Walmart FLW Tour event presented by Ranger Boats on the Potomac River. The creeks near takeoff at Smallwood State Park have seen as much traffic as a Washington, D.C. highway at rush hour. On the flip side, anglers who were able to develop patterns that got them away from the crowds, such as day-one leader Adrian Avena, have been able to reap the benefits of what has been a stingy fishery. Here’s how the rest of the pros in the top five caught their fish today. READ MORE »

/news/2015-06-25-aoy-shake-up-martin-makes-his-move

AOY Shake-Up: Martin Makes His Move

Scott Martin has been talking about winning the Angler of the Year title since before the 2015 Walmart FLW Tour season started. It’s on his mind and for good reason: Angler of the Year is the only major FLW title he hasn’t won in what Martin has built into one of the most decorated professional fishing careers in FLW Tour history. Today, on the first day of competition at the Tour finale on the Potomac River, Martin has unofficially moved into the lead in the AOY race for the first time all season. READ MORE »

/news/2015-06-25-potomac-river-day-1-coverage

Potomac River Day 1 Coverage

Daily updates from the Walmart FLW Tour event on Lake Chickamauga presented by Ranger Boats. READ MORE »

/news/2015-06-20-richardson-wins-all-american

Richardson Wins All-American

Curtis Richardson has a way of surprising people – even himself. The Ontario angler had all but written himself off in the championship round of the Walmart Bass Fishing League All-American, thinking his limit of five bass wouldn’t hold up for long with the likes of Jeremy Lawyer and Bill Schroeder breathing down his neck. READ MORE »

/news/2015-06-20-all-american-midday-update-day-3

All-American Midday Update Day 3

Big changes might be coming in the standings of the Walmart Bass Fishing League All-American on Kentucky Lake, as some of the top 10 leaders struggled this morning to catch limits. Canadian angler Curtis Richardson, who currently is leading, had only one 3-pound keeper by midmorning. And second-place boater Billy Schroeder, who had fished just below the Paris Landing Bridge for the first two days, finally bailed out from there after catching four keepers this morning. READ MORE »