November 8, 2002 by Gary Mortenson
Craig Workman grabs top qualifying spot as Quinn snags second place
ALEXANDER CITY, Ala. - Using a catch of 11 pounds, 3 ounces, Craig Workman of Fort Worth, Texas, blew away the rest of the field en route to netting the top qualifying position heading into tomorrow's final round of EverStart Championship competition. However, although Workman was happy with the results, he argued that he just might have had too good of a day.
"It's the best I've ever done in an EverStart tournament," said Workman, who has never had a finish higher than 17th place on the EverStart circuit until now. "I'm pleased where I'm at. I just hope I didn't beat up all of my fish."
While the other pros were struggling to land stringers heavier than 7 pounds, Workman needed only one cast early in the afternoon to land a largemouth bass weighing more than 5 pounds. The catch not only provided him with a five-fish stringer, but it also immediately served to solidify a place in the finals for the Texas native. However, while most anglers would have been excited to land such a fish, Workman appeared to be a little uneasy about his semifinal success.
"I really didn't want to catch that big one today. I really could have used that fish tomorrow," he said. "Once I landed that fifth fish, I just quit fishing. I decided to go and help my co-angler partner for the rest of the day."
Workman said that, unlike many of the pros who qualified for the finals, he really isn't relying on one or two particular baits for his success.
"I'm throwing about six different baits," he said. "I have one really good area. It's a large flat with a grassy bottom. And I'm fishing in about 2 to 15 feet of water. Basically, my strategy has been to catch a limit there and then move around and try to find some bigger fish. And I'm going to do the same thing tomorrow."
Although nerves can get the best of even the most seasoned pros on the final day of competition, Workman said jitters won't be the problem. It's the fish he's worried about.
"I'm just going to tune everything out and go out there and do the best I can," he said. "I should have enough fish left, but then again, you never know. I just really hope I didn't overdo it today."
Quinn still riding high
Although Jason Quinn of Lake Wylie, S.C., finally relinquished his lead after standing atop the leaderboard for two consecutive days, he said he wasn't worried about his prospects for tomorrow's competition.
"I'm excited. I have everything in place to win tomorrow," said Quinn, who registered a total catch of 7 pounds, 13 ounces in today's competition. "It's going to be tough fishing in the finals. But if everything comes together, I should be all right."
To be sure, things didn't go very well for Quinn at the start of today's action. In fact, it was rather amazing that Quinn was able to qualify for the finals at all given the parade of bad luck that came his direction shortly after takeoff.
"I had some boat problems in the morning, and I wound up having to borrow a camera boat for the first part of the day. So basically, I missed a little fishing time," said Quinn. "I also had a big entourage (of locals) following me around, and I broke off my first fish in about six months. And my co-angler had three fish in the boat before I caught anything. It was kind of a rough day."
However, once Quinn started to relax, he was able to return to his game plan. Quinn said he has been targeting both deep and shallow water with a combination of Hawg Caller spinner baits and Hawg Caller finesse worms. And most likely, he'll be doing the same thing again tomorrow.
"I burned some really good areas today, but I think I have enough spots left to win this," he said. "I'm really going for broke tomorrow."
Ingle sniffing around the leaderboard once again
Qualifying in third place was Vince Ingle of Maryville, Tenn., who landed a catch of 7 pounds, 6 ounces. Ingle, one of the most consistent anglers in the tournament to date, has finished no lower than sixth place in each of the first three days of competition.
Fourth place belonged to Koby Kreiger of Osceola, Ind., after he managed to land a catch weighing in at 7 pounds, 4 ounces. Kreiger, one of the tournament favorites and perhaps the most dangerous angler on the tour, has gradually crept up the leaderboard over the course of the tournament, finishing in 42nd, 17th and fourth place, respectively.
Tom Dolin of Palatine Bridge, N.Y., used a 7-pound, 3-ounce catch to grab the fifth qualifying position.
Best of the rest
Rounding out the top-10 finalists were Mark "The Z-Man" Zona (sixth) of Sturgis, Mich., with a catch of 7 pounds; Gerald Beck (seventh) of Lexington, N.C., with a catch of 6 pounds, 15 ounces; Mark Holloway (eighth) of Snellville, Ga., with a catch of 6 pounds, 14 ounces; Marcel Veenstra (ninth) of Newtown, Pa., with a catch of 6 pounds, 12 ounces; and Dick Shaffer (10th) of Celina, Ohio, with a catch of 5 pounds, 14 ounces.
Tomorrow's takeoff is scheduled to take place at 6:30 a.m. at Wind Creek State Park, located at 4325 Highway 128 in Alexander City, Ala.
Marler's magical moment
Quick Bites: EverStart Championship, Day 3
Results of day-three pairings