Day-four preview" /> Day-four preview" />

Scary good

All-American champ Christian leads another one, lands over 10 pounds in EverStart Halloween semifinals

GALLATIN, Tenn. - Tony Christian's so good at this that it's starting to get a little spooky. The reigning BFL All-American champion from Hull, Ga., caught the day's only stringer weighing more than 10 pounds Friday and led the Pro Division in semifinal-round action at the EverStart Series Championship on Old Hickory Lake. Anchoring that stringer was a kicker bass weighing nearly 5 pounds, and, on this Halloween, that has to be one scary prospect for the other nine pros who will face him in tomorrow's finals.

It was another rough day of fishing on Old Hickory. Just two pros out of 22 managed to catch limits, and even those were light by five-bass standards. Second-place Steve Kennedy's limit weighed 8 pounds, 10 ounces and third-place Kevin Vida's rang in at 8-1.

But that's been about the norm all week at a stingy Old Hickory, which is why Christian's three bass weighing 10 pounds, 11 ounces took top honors today. Of course, you don't weigh in a three-bass stringer for 10 pounds unless you have at least one nice fish in there; and, indeed, it was his 5-pound kicker that made all the difference.

"I lost a good fish off a dock on the first day that broke my line," Christian said. "Today, I went back in there this morning and got him. It was the first one that I caught. After that, I started to relax, and it always seems that's when you start to fish better."

When Christian starts to relax near the end of a tough-bite tournament, look out, because that's when he starts to land his signature lunkers. In May at the All-American, he went out on the Mobile Delta and relaxed his way to an 8-pound victory over the rest of the field. That day, he also weighed in just three fish - worth an astonishing 16 pounds - anchored by a 6 1/2-pound monster. The Delta's tough; nobody else could muster more than 6 pounds total in the finals.

Before that, in March at Lake Martin - another tricky lake for big fish - he won his first EverStart Eastern Division tournament by over 7 pounds, catching a total over 19 pounds. In those finals, he brought in two kickers in the 6-pound range. In his short career, Christian has already cashed countless big-bass checks in the EverStart and BFL ranks.

So it was really no surprise to see the "Big-Fish Magician" working his mojo once again Friday. It is Halloween, after all, and much weirder things have happened.

But what is almost shocking, given his torrid track record, is that it took Christian three days to start really making some noise here this week. He has been fishing in shallow-water creeks "up toward the dam," he said, and he caught all of his fish in the semifinals on a ¾-ounce jig. Before Friday, he had been throwing a lizard, but decided to upsize his lure and get after the big ones in the semifinals.

"I have fished a thousand docks so far," he said. "But the fish here have been hit a lot. I haven't been able to get a limit all week. One dock we caught four fish on and mine just happened to be the big keeper. I quit fishing by 9:30."

So Christian hasn't been able to catch a limit and yet he leads some of the nation's top pro anglers heading into the final day of a $335,000 championship tournament. How good is this guy?

Consider this: "I only practiced two days for this tournament," he said.

Now that's just frightening.

Pro Steve Kennedy fishes near a rock wall in FridayThe two limits

Kennedy caught his limit using a Zoom trick worm and a Senko. He fished, like many competitors, around isolated trees on some flats.

Since Craig Powers, Clark Wendlandt and Wesley Strader all missed the cut Friday, Kennedy is the last remaining former FLW winner fishing in the EverStart Championship finals. Kennedy, who won at FLW Kentucky Lake earlier this season, isn't quite feeling as confident here at Old Hickory, however, as he did at that big-fish fest.

"No way," he said. "This one's almost painful compared to that."

While Vida wasn't exactly brimming with confidence about his 8 pounds, either, he was happy just to land a limit.

"We'll take that today," he said.

Rest of the best

Troy Eakins of Nixa, Mo., picked up where his father left off and qualified for the finals in fourth place with a four-bass weight of 7 pounds, 11 ounces. In 2001, Eakins' dad, Jim, finished the EverStart Championship in third place and cashed in a 21st place at the same tournament last year.

Eakins caught his fish by pitching his namesake jig, in brown-pumpkin color, on rock structure.

Dave Lefebre of Erie, Pa., rounded out the top five pros in fifth place with a three-bass catch weighing 7 pounds, 8 ounces.

Rounding out the rest of the top 10 pros to qualify for the finals were Dick Shaffer of Celina, Ohio, with four bass weighing 6 pounds, 10 ounces (sixth place); Scott Sills of Dahlonega, Ga., with two bass weighing 6-8 (seventh); Vic Vatalaro of Kent, Ohio, with three bass weighing 5-11 (eighth); Clifford Pirch of Payson, Ariz., with four bass weighing 5-6 (ninth); and Tommy Dillon of Manhattan, Kan., with three bass weighing 5-4 (10th).

The final round of the 2003 EverStart Series Championship begins at 7 a.m. as the top 10 pros take off from Bull Creek marina on Old Hickory Lake in Gallatin. Weights will again be reset to zero, and the winner after the one-day shootout will receive as much as $35,000 in cash and a fully rigged Ranger boat.

Click here for a preview of day four.

Tags: headline-story  jeff-schroeder 

/news/2015-05-22-reneau-grabs-lead-on-seminole

Reneau Grabs Lead On Seminole

Though Reneau has weighed in 15-1 and 20-7 over two days for a total of 35 pounds, 8 ounces, he says he is only getting about six bites per day. READ MORE »

/news/2015-05-22-top-5-patterns-from-seminole-day-2

Top 5 Patterns From Seminole Day 2

A shake-up occurred on day two of the Rayovac FLW Series presented by Evinrude on Lake Seminole. Day one was all about slow, summertime fishing in the lake’s deep timber. Overnight a frontal passage dropped water and air temperatures and left a north wind howling down the lake. As a result, the timber bite cooled off and those fishing shallower waters climbed up the leaderboard. READ MORE »

/news/2015-05-22-lake-seminole-day-2-midday-update

Lake Seminole Day 2 Midday Update

The hot summer at Seminole turned back into spring this morning as a cold front blew through the area dropping air temps some 10 degrees with a blustery north wind. Sweatshirts were needed again as the cold air felt more like April than May. READ MORE »

/news/2015-05-21-enfinger-leads-on-seminole

Enfinger Leads On Seminole

Enfinger said he got off to a “fast start” this morning, sacking a limit by 10 a.m., but he only upgraded twice after that, catching about eight keepers on the day. READ MORE »

/news/2015-05-21-top-5-patterns-from-seminole-day-1

Top 5 Patterns From Seminole Day 1

Bradley Enfinger took the day-one lead at the Rayovac FLW Series presented by Evinrude on Lake Seminole fishing suspended bass in timber. Others in the top-5 fished both wood and grass on day one. READ MORE »

/news/2015-05-21-lake-seminole-midday-update

Lake Seminole Midday Update

Lake Seminole is known to be more of a quality lake than a quantity lake and that trait showed on the morning of day one as anglers who were catching fish were not necessarily getting many bites, but 3-pound pluses seemed to be the norm for the ones hauled in over the gunnel. READ MORE »

/news/2015-05-19-ledges-lift-wilson-to-top

Ledges Lift Wilson to Top

Tim Wilson of Gas City, Indiana, weighed a five-bass limit totaling 29 pounds, 10 ounces Saturday to win the fourth Walmart Bass Fishing League Choo Choo Division tournament of 2015 on Lake Guntersville. For his victory, Wilson earned $5,584. READ MORE »

/news/2015-05-19-two-in-a-row-for-fox

Two in a Row for Fox

Dwight Fox of Gainesboro, Tennessee, weighed four bass totaling 16 pounds, 2 ounces Saturday to win the third Walmart Bass Fishing League Mountain Division tournament of 2015 on Lake Cumberland. For his victory, Fox earned $4,463. READ MORE »

/news/2015-05-19-bluff-walls-carry-meredith

Bluff Walls Carry Meredith

GROVE, Okla. – Mitch Meredith of Hulbert, Oklahoma, weighed a five-bass limit totaling 18 pounds, 4 ounces Saturday to win the third Walmart Bass Fishing League Okie Division tournament of 2015 on Grand Lake. For his victory, Meredith earned $7,165. READ MORE »

/news/2015-05-19-tidwell-slows-down-for-title

Tidwell Slows Down for Title

MCCORMICK, S.C. – Brian Tidwell of Seneca, South Carolina, weighed a five-bass limit totaling 17 pounds, 11 ounces Saturday to win the fourth Walmart Bass Fishing League South Carolina Division tournament of 2015 on Clarks Hill Lake. For his victory, Tidwell earned $3,021. READ MORE »

/news/2015-05-19-ginter-gets-the-win

Ginter Gets the Win

CELINA, Ohio – Gary Ginter of Maplewood, Ohio, weighed a five-bass limit totaling 13 pounds, 4 ounces Saturday to win the first Walmart Bass Fishing League Buckeye Division tournament of 2015 on Grand Lake. For his victory, Ginter earned $3,963. READ MORE »

/news/2015-05-19-jig-does-the-trick-for-roselle

Jig Does the Trick for Roselle

MARBURY, Md. – Mike Roselle of La Plata, Maryland, weighed a five-bass limit totaling 16 pounds, 13 ounces Saturday to win the third Walmart Bass Fishing League Shenandoah Division tournament of 2015 on Potomac River. For his victory, Roselle earned $6,235. READ MORE »

/news/2015-05-17-thrift-by-3

Thrift by 3

The “numbers game.” It’s a term that Bryan Thrift used to describe his fishing on Lake Eufaula back in 2013 when he finished runner-up to Randy Haynes in a Walmart FLW Tour event. The method to his numbers madness was to hit as many solitary objects – stumps, brush piles, rocks, logs – on the bottom of Lake Eufaula as humanly possible in an eight-hour tournament day. When Thrift saw that Lake Eufaula was back on the 2015 Walmart FLW Tour schedule for May of this year, he grinned that patented Bryan Thrift grin because he already knew how to crunch the numbers at Eufaula. And Thrift is still grinning. After sacking up a final-day catch of 15 pounds, 5 ounces to top off 69-14 for the week, Thrift made the numbers work for his fourth FLW Tour win. He added another $125,000 to his bank account. READ MORE »

/news/2015-05-17-lake-eufaula-day-4-coverage

Lake Eufaula Day 4 Coverage

Daily updates from the Walmart FLW Tour event on Lake Eufaula presented by Quaker State. READ MORE »

/news/2015-05-16-morrow-thrift-neck-and-neck

Morrow, Thrift Neck and Neck

Georgia pro Troy Morrow brought in 15 pounds, 4 ounces on the third day of competition at the Walmart FLW Tour event presented by Quaker State on Lake Eufaula to increase his tournament total to 54-13. Morrow maintains his lead for the second consecutive day, but he won’t sleep comfortably tonight with North Carolina hammer Bryan Thrift just 4 ounces off the lead with 54-09. READ MORE »

/news/2015-05-16-top-5-patterns-from-lake-eufaula-day-3

Top 5 Patterns from Lake Eufaula Day 3

Troy Morrow is leading the Walmart FLW Tour event presented by Quaker State on Lake Eufaula. However, with one day left to fish, he has a big problem going into the last day: Bryan Thrift. The Shelby, N.C., pro is just 4 ounces behind Morrow. Here’s how Thrift and the rest of the top five caught their fish. READ MORE »

/news/2015-05-16-lake-eufaula-day-3-coverage

Lake Eufaula Day 3 Coverage

Daily updates from the Walmart FLW Tour event on Lake Eufaula presented by Quaker State. READ MORE »

/news/2015-05-15-morrow-marches-ahead

Morrow Marches Ahead

Day two at the Walmart FLW Tour event presented by Quaker State at Lake Eufaula challenged anglers with tougher conditions as clouds and wind hindered much of the offshore bite. But while some of the top 10 struggled to duplicate their success from day one, Troy Morrow moved from second up into the driver's seat with a day-two catch of 18 pounds, 1 ounce. His total for the event stands at 39-09, giving him a 1-04 lead over day-one leader Clent Davis. READ MORE »

/news/2015-05-15-top-5-patterns-from-lake-eufaula-day-2

Top 5 Patterns from Lake Eufaula Day 2

Troy Morrow took over the lead on the second day of the Walmart FLW Tour event presented by Quaker State on Lake Eufaula. Morrow did most of his damage late in the day once other pros in earlier flights had checked in. He’s working a milk run of brush piles, as are many of the top pros, but the continued fishing pressure is starting to really affect the bite. Here’s how the rest of the top five is dealing with the pressure. READ MORE »

/news/2015-05-15-lake-eufaula-day-2-coverage

Lake Eufaula Day 2 Coverage

Daily updates from the Walmart FLW Tour event on Lake Eufaula presented by Quaker State. READ MORE »