November 1, 2004 by Matt Williams
Nearly $336,000 in cash and prizes will be at stake when the top qualifying pros and co-anglers from the EverStart Series' four divisions square off at the 2004 EverStart Series Championship.
The winning pro in the season finale will earn $25,000 in cash and an Evinrude- or Yamaha-powered Ranger boat. A new Ranger and $10,000 will be awarded to the winning co-angler.
Yamaha pro Terry Bolton of Paducah, Ky., has high hopes of taking home a big chunk of the pie at the end of his second consecutive championship, but like other Central Division vets familiar with the central Kentucky fishery, he knows he is going to have to be a picture of versatility to do it.
Located just outside Somerset, Ky., Lake Cumberland is a 63,000-acre impoundment that offers more than 1,250 miles of jagged shoreline and an average depth of 90 feet. It has rock bluffs, rock piles, shallow vegetation, wood and hundreds of pockets. You can catch Kentucky spotted bass off docks and piers, or you can cast for bronzebacks on rocky points and shoals. Another option is to flip for largemouths hanging tight to wood or grass in backwater coves.
Bolton thinks the angler that wins it will be the one who comes up with a mixed bag of tricks and is successful in targeting all three subspecies of bass at one time or another over the four-day event.
"This isn't going to be a tournament that will be won exclusively with a flipping stick or with spinning gear, or strictly with largemouths, smallmouths or spots," Bolton said. "Anglers are going to have to mix it up and fish for all three. The guy that wins might be flipping with 20-pound line part of the day and throwing a spinning rig with 8-pound line the rest of the time."
Bolton, who qualified for the championship with a third-place finish in the Central Division points standings, is not expecting any eye-popping sacks in the fall tournament.
The Kentucky pro said anglers who average 6 to 7 pounds per day in the opening rounds should advance to the semifinals with no problem, but the elite field will need to turn up the heat slightly in the final round.
Bolton's Call: 12 to 14 pounds to make the cut; 22 to 26 pounds to win it.