March 6, 2004 by Rob Newell
EUFAULA, Ala. - In his EverStart career, Koby Kreiger of Okeechobee, Fla., has finished third place twice, second place twice, and, now, first place three times.
Kreiger added a third EverStart title to his illustrious EverStart Series career today by bringing in 16 pounds, 11 ounces for a two-day winning total of 39 pounds, 1 ounce.
The win netted Kreiger a fully rigged Ranger, $10,000 cash, an additional $10,000 cash for being a Ranger owner, and an extra $3,000 for the Ranger Cup incentive.
"This win is a testament to perseverance," said Kreiger. "I got here last Friday and went several days without catching anything. But I kept after it; Jacob (Powroznik) and I got onto a little something, the weather cooperated and it turned out for the best."
Kreiger's win came on a mixture of baits including the following: a 1/4-ounce Rat-L-Trap (smoky joe), a 3/8-ounce Rabbit Dog spinnerbait (white and chartreuse), a 1/4-ounce black buzzbait and a white Gambler Bacon Rind he used when sight fishing.
He was fishing clear-water spawning pockets by the dam in water less than 2 feet deep.
"The main baits earlier in the week were the Rat-L-Trap and the spinnerbait," he said. "I put a big Indiana blade on the spinnerbait so I could reel it slower in the shallow water and give the fish more time to eat it."
"Today, after the storm blew through and it slicked off, I caught some on the buzzbait," he added. "And then late this afternoon I caught some sight-fishing."
Powroznik is runner-up
Finishing behind Kreiger was Jacob Powroznik of Prince George, Va. He brought in 14 pounds, 5 ounces today for a two-day total of 32 pounds, 10 ounces.
Powroznik was fishing the same area with Kreiger and fishing nearly the same baits.
"We made an imaginary line in there and we honored it," Powroznik said about splitting the water with Kreiger. "Whenever each of us would get to that line, we'd turn and go back the other way."
Powroznik said he has no regrets about finishing second.
"I wouldn't have done anything different," he said. "I didn't make any bad decisions or miss any fish that would have put me past Koby, so I feel great about the week."
Pugh sight-fishes for third
Greg Pugh of Cullman, Ala., dedicated himself to the sight-fishing game early in the week when shallow-water fish were scarce.
"It was tough going early on when the fish weren't quite locked on," he said. "But I stuck to my guns, and each day it got better and better."
Pugh said it took an average of 15 minutes to work each fish.
"Some I caught on the first pitch in the bed," he added. "Others took as long as 35 minutes."
Pugh's main weapon during the week was a P.J.'s jig in pumpkin or white tied to 25-pound-test line.
Peek winds up fourth
Tim Peek of Sharpsburg, Ga., finished fourth with a two-day total of 30 pounds, 15 ounces.
"I can't complain one bit," Peek said. "I made perfect decisions all week and executed as best I could, and you can't ask for much more than that."
Peek fished a Rapala No. 5 Shad Rap on 8-pound-test line most of the week. Today his primary area finally gave out of fish so he had to go to his back-up plan.
"My main area, a shallow ledge next to a spawning flat, produced big fish all week," he said. "I never caught a nonkeeper off it until today. The first several fish I caught were nonkeepers, and I knew I was in trouble. So I went to my back-up area where I fished a 3/8-ounce Lucky Craft lipless crankbait."
Alexander finishes fifth
George Alexander of Jacksonville, Fla., began the day in 10th place, and thanks to a 15-pound, 8-ounce catch, moved to fifth with a two-day total of 28 pounds, 12 ounces.
Rest of the best
Rounding out the top 10 in the Pro Division were Ott Defoe of Knoxville, Tenn., in sixth place with a two-day total of 28 pounds, 5 ounces; Patrick Hailstone of Cincinnati, Ohio, in seventh with a two-day total of 27 pounds, 4 ounces; Alex Ormand of Bessemer City, N.C., in eighth with a two-day total of 22 pounds, 10 ounces; James Kennedy of Boaz, Ala., in ninth with a two-day total of 21 pounds, 15 ounces; and Gary Alverson of Soddy Daisy, Tenn., in 10th with 18 pounds, 12 ounces.