UPCOMING EVENT: TOYOTA SERIES - 2020 - Lake Norman

Turner turns it on for day two, takes pro lead

Turner turns it on for day two, takes pro lead
Jeff Turner of Plainfield, Ill., holds two of the 4-pound bass that helped make him the only angler to reach the 40-pound mark and first place in the Pro Division after the opening round.

Tournament field reaches near-record two-day weight

EUFAULA, Ala. - The sun popped out this afternoon over Lake Eufaula and slowed down the bass bite a little for many anglers, but that didn't stop Illinois pro Jeff Turner from cranking it up a notch and bagging today's only catch over 20 pounds to take the lead in the Pro Division.

"The catch was just a little bit slower today, but there still some pretty good sacks coming across the stage," said EverStart Tournament Director Jerry Stakely.

Though the fish might have technically "slowed down" on day two of the EverStart Series Eastern Division's second event of the year, most competitors would take fishing like today's over almost any other day. Out of 330 competitors, the tournament field caught a total of 142 five-fish limits. While that number is slightly down from yesterday's total of 180 limits weighed, it still meant an outstanding 43 percent of the anglers caught a limit.

In fact, both divisions combined weighed in a total of 2,790 pounds, 2 ounces of bass today. Add that to yesterday's total weight of 3,199 pounds, 2 ounces and the two-day total from this EverStart event at Lake Eufaula reached a near-record 5,989 pounds, 4 ounces. The only other EverStart tournament with a higher opening-round weight total happened last year at Sam Rayburn Reservoir, Texas, where the field weighed in 6,094 pounds, 11 ounces.

Contributing mightily to that total was Turner. In fifth place after day one, he caught 20 pounds, 13 ounces of bass today, pushing his personal two-day total to 41 pounds, 4 ounces. He was the only angler to break the 40-pound barrier.

Fishing in just his fourth EverStart Series event, this is the Plainfield, Ill., native's first semifinal round appearance. But he hasn't let winning today's pro lead to distract him from the task at hand.

"I feel okay," Turner said. "It's good to lead after two days, but I'd feel a lot better if this was day four."

Certainly, if he fishes tomorrow in the same aggressive manner that he fished the first two days, there can be little doubt he'll have a chance at day-four glory. The appearance of the sun today had little effect on Turner's fishing because he filled his livewell before 8 o'clock in the morning.

"It slowed down a bit, but not really," he said. "The fish bit really good when it started raining (shortly after takeoff). I had a limit by 8 and I quit fishing at 9."

He caught all of his 4- and 5-pound bass using spinnerbaits and brushhogs in about two feet of water. Fishing for the first time on the productive Lake Eufaula, Turner plans on sticking to similar tactics over the next two days.

"There's a lot of fish here," he explained, "and there's still fish left where I'm fishing. It's going to be tough, I can tell you that. I'm just going to keep on doing what I've been doing."

Rounding out the top five pros were Vince Ingle of Maryville, Tenn., who caught 10 bass weighing 36 pounds, 7 ounces; Jeffery Thomas of Broadway, N.C., with 10 bass weighing 35 pounds, 10 ounces; Jim Russell of Statham, Ga., with 10 bass weighing 34 pounds, 3 ounces; and David Dudley of Manteo, N.C., with 10 bass weighing 33 pounds, 6 ounces.

One angler who wishes he'd done yesterday what he did today is Marcel Veenstra of Newtown, Pa. He hauled in the Big Bass award today with a monstrous 7-pound, 12-ounce largemouth. However, with only a two-day total weight of 27 pounds, 5 ounces, he just didn't muster enough big bass to make the cut, which was set at a remarkably high weight of 29 pounds, 6 ounces. Still, Veenstra's sizeable fish earned him $750 for the award.

Coleman buzzbaits his way to bigger bass and first place

Co-angler Billy Coleman of Holly Hill, Fla., didn't have a lot of confidence coming into this tournament. Like Turner, it was his first time fishing on Lake Eufaula. Plus, he wasn't happy about his fishing in practice.

But Coleman worked his favorite lure, a spinnerbait, into a fourth-place finish on day one. Then today, a little advice from his pro partner, Mark Rogers (who finished today in seventh place) of Naples, Fla., helped him find his confidence - and first place after the opening round.

"I didn't catch any big fish until (Rogers) showed me that you could catch big ones on a buzzbait," Coleman said.

Soon after, Coleman landed his biggest fish, a huge 7-pound, 8-ounce bass, using a buzzbait in shallow water.

"I just hope to do as well (tomorrow) as I've done over the last two days," he said.

The fish nearly captured the co-angler Big Bass award, but that contest belonged to fifth-place Gary Fint of Frankfort, Ky. Charles Chewning of Dadeville, Ala., had established what seemed to be an almost insurmountable co-angler Big Bass mark when he weighed in a 7-pound, 11-ounce bass. Then, with nearly the entire field already weighed in, Fint came in with the last flight anglers and hoisted a similar-sized bass to the scale. It weighed in at 7 pounds, 12 ounces and earned him $250 for today's Big Bass.

Second and third place in the Co-Angler Division went to Paul Kaptis of Boynton Beach, Fla., with 10 bass weighing 29 pounds, 12 ounces and Mike Birge of Florala, Ala., with 10 bass weighing 28 pounds, 9 ounces.

The top 30 pros and co-anglers will start from zero Friday and fish for one day to determine the top 10 anglers who will advance to Saturday's final round. The winning pro will receive $15,000 cash and a new Ranger boat, and the winning co-angler will collect $6,000 cash.

Tomorrow's takeoff is scheduled to take place at 7 a.m. at Lake Point State Park located at 104 Lake Point Drive, Eufaula, Ala. Weigh-in is scheduled for 3 p.m. at the same location.

Day-two related links

Photos
Results
Press release


Tags: jeff-schroeder  headline-story  2001-02-28-lake-eufaula 

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