January 12, 2003 by Rob Newell
Morgan hits bull's-eye on Big O at EverStart Eastern tourney
OKEECHOBEE Fla. - Andy Morgan of Dayton, Tenn., ended up on top of the Lake Okeechobee EverStart pro pile today with a catch of 17 pounds, 5 ounces. He won a fully rigged Ranger Boat plus $10,000 cash for four days of fishing in the Eastern Division tournament.
Morgan may be a new name in the national arena, but back home in Tennessee he is practically a legend. Since 1991 he has won nine Wal-Mart Bass Fishing League events. This EverStart victory will be Morgan's 10th FLW Outdoors win.
Morgan has won most of his money flipping, and today was no exception. All week long, Morgan flipped a 1/4-mile area on Okeechobee that featured lots of floating and matted reeds.
"The water has come up, and the deeper reeds are dying," Morgan said. "The floating, broken reeds were drifting up against this one bank that was close to the main lake."
During the week, Morgan was worried that his fish would leave him because of the warming water. But he thinks that new bass were moving in off the main lake to replace the bass that were moving back further onto the flats.
"The spot was a lot better when it was colder, especially for big fish." he said. "So I think they were leaving the area. The new fish that were moving in were just not as big as the ones that were there."
Morgan flipped with an 8-foot Castaway rod, 30-pound Trilene, a 1-ounce weight and a Zoom Crawfish.
Steve Kennedy of Auburn, Ala., nabbed second place with 14 pounds, 5 ounces. He won $10,000 plus another $1,500 for his Ranger Cup bonus.
Kennedy finished second by flipping all over the lake. "I fished four different areas on the four different days," Kennedy said. "I was really just trying to avoid the wind."
Kennedy's hardware consisted of a plastic crawfish, a 3/4-ounce weight, 30-pound line and a 5/0 hook.
Tommy Williams of Shepherdsville, Ky., finished third with 11 pounds, 11 ounces and took home $9,000 for the finish. Williams caught the bulk of his fish during the week on spinner baits in pencil grass. He would get a limit on the spinner bait and then go flipping for a kicker fish in hyacinths mats.
His spinner bait was a homemade 1/4-ounce spinner bait, and he flipped a Gambler black-and-blue crawfish.
"I really would just like to thank my father for taking me fishing as a kid," said Williams on stage. "If it was not for him taking me, I would not be here right now."
Sandy Melvin of Boca Grand, Fla., finished fourth with 11 pounds, 2 ounces to win $8000. Melvin reported catching his fish on a Berkley 10-inch Power Worm in black and blue. He rigged the worm with a 3/16-ounce sinker and 15-pound test Berkley Big Game line.
"The key for me was fishing slow, I mean excruciatingly slow," Melvin said. "It was not exactly dead-sticking, but I was fishing pretty slow."
Jacob Powroznik of Prince George, Va., finished fifth with a catch of 10 pounds, 12 ounces. Powroznik fished one boat canal all week with Senkos to win his $7,500.
After dominating the field yesterday, local favorite Scott Martin of Clewiston, Fla., stalled today bringing in just 5 pounds, 2 ounces. Martin says he simply could not put them in the boat.
"I had eight good bites that I lost today," he said. "That happens with this kind of fishing. Glenn Browne had that same problem yesterday. I think it has something to do with that big weight we use with this technique. Somehow it keeps the hook from finding the fish's mouth on the hookset."
The rest of the best
Finishing out the top 10 were Chad Grigsby of Colon, Mich., who finished sixth with 10 pounds, 10 ounces. Tony Christian of Hull, Ga., finished seventh with 9 pounds, 3 ounces. David Wild of Acworth, Ga., finished eighth with 7 pounds, 9 ounces. Scott Martin of Clewiston, Fla., finished ninth with 5 pounds, 2 ounces. And Mark Lamb of West Palm Beach, Fla., finished 10th with 2 pounds, 14 ounces.
Prayers for the Stakely's
While being interviewed about his third-place finish, Tommy Williams of Kentucky said, "I would also like to tell the Stakely's that we are all praying for them."
Indeed, Jerry and Connie Stakely's smiling faces were sorely missed in Florida this week. A couple of times during the week, fill-in tournament director Bill Taylor asked for the anglers and employees to pray for the Stakely's as Connie is continuing to battle cancer.
In the Co-angler Division, Asa Godsey of Clewiston not only took home a $5,000 check, he also won a new 519 Ranger Boat for being a Ranger owner. Godsey's weight of 9 pounds, 2 ounces was enough to easily take the victory.
Godsey caught his fish on spinner baits, worms and by flipping a craw during the week. He says he will be fishing the EverStarts and the FLW Tour as a co-angler this year, but with a new Ranger in tow, he is already thinking about giving the pro side a try next season.
Rob Boswell of Winder, Ga., won $4,000 for second place by bringing in 7 pounds, 14 ounces.
Lyle Burns of Bishop, Ga., finished third with 6 pounds, 11 ounces. His finish was worth $3,500.
Ernest Diaz of Fayetteville Ga., caught 6 pounds, 9 ounces today to finish fourth and win $2,500.
Ronald Klys of Gainesville, Fla., finished fifth with 5 pounds, 6 ounces. He received $2,000 for his efforts.
The rest of the best
Ed Dixon of Cookeville, Tenn., finished sixth with 2 pounds, 14 ounces; William Robinson of Clintwood, Va., finished seventh with 2 pounds, 14 ounces; Jeff Wheeley of Lafayette, Tenn., finished eighth with 2 pounds, 1 ounce; Steve Poland finished ninth with 13 ounces; and Robert Russell of Smyrna, Tenn., finished 10th.