June 15, 2003 by Rob Newell
Andy Morgan wins again; Wesley Strader finishes second again
GUNTERSVILLE, Ala. - Andy Morgan of Dayton, Tenn., brought in 23 pounds and 1 ounce Saturday to win his second EverStart Series event of 2003. His other win was at Lake Okeechobee in January.
"This is the result of a lot of hard work," Morgan said. "I have spent countless days on this lake idling around on flats staring at a graph looking for small places that hold fish. Today, it all paid off."
After years on Guntersville, Morgan has compiled a series of one- and two-fish spots located up and down the lake.
"These are hidden spots - out of sight," he said. "Any grass lines or stumps that you can see on this lake have been frothed by anglers. I have spent many hours out here looking for underwater stuff that you can't see - big stumps, submerged grass lines, underwater laydowns - the kind of stuff you have to find on a graph."
Morgan has about 25 of these small places that he fished today. His bait selection included a 1/2-ounce jig (black blue) with a Zoom Super chunk trailer, an Ol' Monster worm (red bug and june bug) Texas rigged on a 1/4-ounce weight, and a DD22 crankbait.
"I spent about 15 to 30 minutes on each place, depending on if I got a bite, and then I would fire off to the next one," he added.
Strader's second-place curse
Wesley Strader of Spring City, Tenn., finished second for the fourth time in an EverStart event Saturday. Despite bringing 20 pounds, 5 ounces to the scales, he still fell short of the brass ring.
"I was born to be second," Strader told the crowd from the "hot seat" as Morgan piled in 23 pounds of bass to steal Strader's thunder. "Well, there's no better person to lose to than Andy. We have been friends for a long time and I probably would not be here at all if it were not for him."
Everyday this week Strader snitched a couple of big fish from a hot spot near the Waterfront area and then went on to fill his limit fishing other ways in other places. But today he pushed his hot spot for all it was worth.
"I caught four big ones off it this morning and then they just quit," he said. "Later in the day, I flipped a 6-pounder from a dock and that was it."
Strader's honey hole was a bare spot in a grass flat with a few rocks on it.
"There is a huge hydrilla flat and this one place is just a little old hole in the flat that has rocks and milfoil on it. The fish come there every year in postspawn and feed up on shad."
Strader started each day with a Zara Spook and then switched to a Lake Fork Trophy Tackle Tube (black with red flake) Texas-rigged with a 5/16-ounce weight.
Strader also finished first in the Eastern EverStart points race and also garnered another $1,500 in Ranger Cup incentive money.
Deakins finishes third
Marshall Deakins of Dunlap, Tenn., finished third with 19 pounds. His main pattern this week was deep grass on river ledges.
Deakins fished grass in the 8- to 10-foot range with a 1/2-ounce and 3/4-ounce Enticer Jig in black and blue with a Zoom chunk and a 9-inch V&M red-bug worm.
He used his graph to find the deep grass clumps on the river in the mid-lake region and pitched his jig and worm into the clumps.
Campbell springs into fourth
After barely making the cut on day two by one ounce, J. Doug Campbell of Grant, Ala., ended up fourth with 18 pounds, 10 ounces.
"My shallow fish deserted me during the first two days and I really had to scramble to get in the top 20," said Campbell, who guides on Guntersville. "But these last two days I moved out deeper and got tuned back into what the fish were doing."
Saturday, Campbell caught his bass on a 3/4-ounce Carolina rig with a 9-inch V&M Super Ringer. He backed out to ledges in front of the grass flats where the water dropped from 7 to 12 feet.
"If I was up fishing the grass, I would Texas-rig the worm," he said. "If I was out deeper on the ledges I would Carolina-rig it."
Gray grabs fifth
Like Campbell, David Gray of Section, Ala., also had to move out to deeper ledges today to finish fifth with 17 pounds, 1 ounce.
"I had I good worm bite going in the grass," Gray said. "But they just quit so I moved out to the main river ledges and fished a jig."
Best of the rest
Rounding out the top ten are Tim Buckner of Scottsboro, Ala., who finished sixth with 16 pounds, 5 ounces; Travis Adams of Danielsville, Ga., who finished seventh with 9 pounds, 3 ounces; Pat Fisher of Stone Mountain Ga., who finished eighth with 9 pounds, 3 ounces; Phillip Nunnelley of Cullman, Ala., who finished ninth with 8 pounds, 12 ounces; and Tony Couch of Buckhead, Ga., who finished tenth with 3 pounds, 3 ounces.
The next EverStart Series tournament is an Eastern Central contest at the Red River in Natchitoches, La., June 25-28.
"Boatright fished right"