May 3, 2003 by Gary Mortenson
David Young takes tournament title on Kentucky Lake, nets $61,000 in cash and prizes
GILBERTSVILLE, Ky. - David Young of Mayfield, Ky., had a lot on his mind heading into the finals. Not only had he lost his son to a car accident eight weeks earlier, but he was also fishing against one of the most difficult EverStart fields in recent memory. However, none of that - not even the terrible weather that dominated the fishing conditions throughout the week - seemed to throw him off his game. Using a catch of 20 pounds, 15 ounces, Young blistered the field, which included many top FLW Tour pros, and walked away with the first EverStart title of his career.
"It's wonderful. This is probably the best victory of my life," said Young, who nearly broke into tears on numerous occasions while accepted his first-place trophy. "I lost my son not too long ago and I dedicated this tournament to him. I've just had a phenomenal four days of fishing."
Although Young was a relative novice compared to the majority of the anglers in the field, the Kentucky native demonstrated a level of fishing savvy that would have made even the most seasoned pros a bit envious. While most of the other anglers were content to fish shallow, Young headed for deeper waters. In short, while the other pros zigged, Young zagged.
"I believe every one of the finalists were fishing shallow," said Young. "But I targeted deeper water. I moved around a lot. I fished main-lake ledges, the bays and the mouths of bays in about 12 to 15 feet with a chartreuse and white DD-22 crankbait. I also backed off my fish over the last few days to save enough good fish for the finals. And that's what won it for me."
According to Young, his confidence really started to grow once he reached the semifinals.
"I really thought after the second day I could win this tournament," he said. "Yesterday, I got my limit and went practicing at about 11 a.m. I found some good spots that helped me in the finals. But honestly, I thought I cut it too close. I wasn't even sure I'd make the (top-10) cut."
Although he did squeak into the finals, Young never looked back from there.
"I had a good day of fishing today, but I lost two or three fish early on that I thought would cost me," he said. "Luckily, everything worked out."
As the owner of a plumbing business, Young said he would love nothing more than to quit and be able to go fishing professionally full-time.
"I had always hoped that one day I could win one of these things and possible put myself in a position to fish full-time," he said. "But I'm going to need to get some sponsors. If it happens, it happens. But if not, I'm just going to enjoy this victory."
Strader comes up short ... again
Wesley Strader just can't seem to get a break when it comes to winning an EverStart tournament. Coming into the Kentucky Lake event, the resident of Spring City, Tenn., boasted seven trips to the EverStart finals, including second-place finishes at Sam Rayburn in 2001 and Guntersville Lake in 2002. However, after today's weigh-in, Strader can add a third runner-up trophy to his mantel.
"Somehow I knew I was going to wind up in second place again," joked Strader, who netted a total catch of 17 pounds, 11 ounces in the finals. "I really wanted to win this time and I had the fish to blow this tournament wide open. But I lost a 4-pounder and two fish over 3 pounds. I should have weighed in over 20 pounds today. But I guess that's how it goes."
Strader, who was fishing a Lake Fork Jig and Trophy Tackle creature bait in shallow water, said that in the end, he didn't have too many complaints.
"I basically came here to practice for the upcoming FLW tournament. And I think I figured a few things out while I was here," said Strader, who took home $10,000 in prize money. "So, overall, I'm pretty happy. Plus, I'm building a new house and I really need the money. I'm just going to look at this like I now have enough money to pay for my new roof."
Powers' co-angler is a little too good
Had it not been for Craig Powers' co-angler partner, Larry Regina, things just might have turned out a little bit differently in today's weigh-in. Although Powers turned in a banner performance, netting a total catch of 17 pounds, his partner had an equally stellar day with a catch of 12 pounds, 9 ounces. But while it was easy to dwell on what might have been, Powers said he was making no excuses.
"I knew going into today that I needed to catch two big fish," said Powers, of Rockwood, Tenn. "The day started off good. But my partner would up having a great day. And when he caught that big fish, right then, I knew I'd be behind the eight ball. But that's just how things work out sometimes. The longer I do this, the more I realize that things happen for a reason."
However, Powers said that he had such a good time on Kentucky Lake that it wasn't too difficult to stay positive.
"I've really had a great week here," he said. "I want to go back fishing right now. In fact, if anyone is interested, come see me over at the blue boat in the parking lot."
Powers won $9,000 for his efforts.
Best of the rest
Troy Eakins of Nixa, Mo., finished the day in fourth place after netting a total catch of 16 pounds, 13 ounces.
"I had a great time," said Eakins, who netted an $8,000 payday. "I was just ticked to death to make the top 20."
Keith Lanier of Cabot, Ark., took fifth place with a catch of 16 pounds, 9 ounces. He also left the tournament with a newfound appreciation for co-anglers.
"It's been an awesome week," said Lanier, who won $7,500 in prize money. "My co-anglers were great all four days. Anytime I lost a fish, my co-anglers were always there to pump me up. I had a lot of fun."
Rounding out the top-10 pro finishers were: Jackie Davis (sixth) of Willard, Mo., with a catch of 15 pounds, 7 ounces; Gary Paris (seventh) of Emory, Texas, with a catch of 12 pounds, 1 ounce; John Sappington (eighth) of Wyandotte, Okla., with a catch of 11 pounds, 15 ounces; Lendell Martin, Jr., (ninth) of Nacogdoches, Texas, with a catch of 10 pounds, 14 ounces; and Randy Millender (tenth) of Teague, Texas, with a catch of 0 pounds, 0 ounces.
EverStart Central Division action resumes June 25-28 on the Red River in Natchitoches, La.