November 6, 2005 by Jennifer Simmons
2005 EverStart Series Championship Pickwick Lake, Florence, Ala. Final round, Saturday King of the hill ... This year's EverStart Batteries/Evinrude Outboards Co-angler Award went to Mark King of Gurdon, Ark. Each of the EverStart Series' five divisions had a co-angler points champion, and the Co-angler Award is given to the one with the highest number of points for the season. King, the Central Division points champ, earned 760 points in four Central Division events. "It's great," King said. "It's my second Angler of the Year award - I won the TTT last year." Indeed, the Wal-Mart Texas Tournament Trail title is also on King's resume, and the TTT is one of four trails he plans to fish next season. "I want to move up and fish the FLW Series on the pro side and still fish the co-angler side on the FLW Tour, Stren Series and the TTT," he said. "I'm going to have a full year next year with four circuits." ... King's success includes 12 top-10 finishes since 1999 and one win, but he considers this award his highest honor to date. "It's the biggest win I've had so far," he said. "It's the best year I've had also." ... King earned an EverStart/Evinrude-wrapped, fully rigged Ranger boat for the award. End of an era ... The EverStart Series officially came to an end at the conclusion of today's weigh-in, as the eight-year-old tournament trail will be renamed the Stren Series beginning in 2006. Chris Jones has been the tournament director for the EverStart Series since 2002 and has seen a lot of changes in that time span, and he feels this is yet another change for the best. "For me personally, the EverStart Series has stood as a symbol of quality, meaning I've been surrounded by great people," Jones said. "The fishermen, the sponsors, the staff members - all of these people are very special to me." The Stren Series will retain its regular staff, and EverStart Batteries will still remain a core sponsor. According to Jones, the transition presents yet another opportunity to break new ground in the ever-changing sport of bass fishing. "The Stren Series defines a new era in bass fishing with new opportunities," he said. "I'm definitely looking forward to the challenge." From race track to bronzeback ... Fishing fans can thank a few broken bones for the chance to see runner-up Gabe Bolivar's on-the-water skills. The California pro raced dirt bikes starting at age 8, and he continued to race on the professional level until he was 22 years old. "I wasn't really successful at it," he said. "I was a decent pro, but I wasn't good enough to risk that much." Dirt-bike racing poses a considerable risk, and Bolivar was among its victims many times. He's broken 13 bones and witnessed several friends suffer through horrific accidents - one of which left a friend paraplegic. Racing's loss was bass fishing's gain in Bolivar, however, as the personable pro is quickly earning a solid reputation in the fishing ranks. He took second place today with grace that belied his youthful age, saying, "It's the biggest second place I ever had. I'm going to keep my head high." Hit the road, Jack ... No. 7 pro Jack Gadlage's angler profile may say he's from Benton, Ky., but he's actually a Western transplant who moved to the Southeast from the Las Vegas area. Though he'd been looking for a place in the Benton area for eight years, the timing of the move was a bit of a surprise. "I came home from a tournament and had a for-sale sign in the yard, and the house was packed up," said Gadlage, who had been gone that particular time for nearly a month. "I asked my wife, `Is there anything wrong with us?' She said, `Oh no, we're moving to Kentucky.'" ... Indeed, Gadlage's wife was not giving up but rather making things easier for their family when the man of the house is a bass pro. Many a Westerner can tell you that fishing primarily Eastern/Southeastern tournaments can be quite an expensive proposition, but now Gadlage is right in the thick of it, just a few miles from FLW Outdoors headquarters. On the verge ... Jerry Green's fifth-place finish at the EverStart Series Championship brings to a close what has certainly been a career year for the Texas pro. In January, he got the year off to a good start with a 10th-place finish at the Wal-Mart FLW Tour event on Lake Okeechobee. Then in February, he claimed his first FLW Outdoors victory with a win at the EverStart Central event on Sam Rayburn. His Central prowess culminated with a ninth-place ranking in the points standings, enough to qualify him for the 2006 FLW Tour. The perfect timing is nothing new to Green, though. "(Earlier this year), we had enough money to fish four tournaments," he said. "Then I had a good showing at Okeechobee and that got us through the year. My boat was worn out, and then I won a boat at Rayburn. Then I was trying to figure out how to get into the FLW Tour, and ..." Green shrugs. Though Green's season on the FLW Tour in 2005 was not exactly stellar, he proved this week without a doubt that he can compete with the best, as the EverStart Championship top 10 included well-known pros such as Steve Kennedy, Dave Lefebre and winner Sam Newby. Rest assured, this is not the last we've heard of Jerry Green. Quick numbers: 1: Winner Sam Newby's margin of victory, in ounces. 1: Margin of victory, in ounces, of Newby's 2002 FLW Tour victory on Lake Champlain. 1: Number of pros who brought in a five-bass limit on day four. That lone pro was Sam Newby. 113: Runner-up Gabe Bolivar's position in the standings after day one. 6: Number of keepers caught all four days by No. 10 pro Toby Hartsell. Sound bites: "I don't know when I've won this much money on six keepers." - No. 10 pro Toby Hartsell, who earned $8,000 for six fish over four days. "It's tougher than a night in jail out there on Pickwick." - No. 6 pro Andy Morgan on the fishery's stingy bite this week. "We look at what we have now, and it's all because of fishing. It's amazing." - No. 9 pro Dave Lefebre, who has now exceeded the $400,000 mark in FLW Outdoors earnings. "I'd like another shot at those smallies." - Day-one and day-three leader Steve Kennedy, on his chance to take on Pickwick again next March at an FLW Tour event. "I typically don't fish this time of year. I'd rather be hunting." - Local pro Jonathan Newton of Rogersville, Ala., who ended the tournament in fourth.