UPCOMING EVENT: TOYOTA SERIES - 2020 - Lake Norman

Stegall steals show in opening round of EverStart competition on Lake Ferguson

Stegall steals show in opening round of EverStart competition on Lake Ferguson
Roger Stegall of Iuka, Miss., used a 14-pound, 13-ounce catch to grab first place in the Pro Division after the first day of EverStart Central Division competition on Lake Ferguson.

Ray blows away co-angler field, nets largest stringer of the day

GREENVILLE, Miss. - Despite a torrential downpour, gusting winds and an incorrigible trolling motor, Roger Stegall of Iuka, Miss., managed to overcome a variety of formidable obstacles to grab first place in the Pro Division after day one of the EverStart Series tour event on Lake Ferguson. With the dying remnants of Tropical Storm Allison wreaking havoc on the anglers throughout the afternoon, Stegall managed to block out the adverse weather conditions and turn in a gutsy performance.

"It was really tough out there today," said Stegall, who recorded a first-place catch of 14 pounds, 13 ounces. "There was a lot of wind and a lot of rain. And my trolling motor was really acting up today. But overall, I'm pleased with my performance. Anytime you can catch a good sack of fish under these conditions, you've got to be happy."

Stegall, who caught his limit by 11 a.m., said that he has his sights set on making the all-important top-30 cut after Thursday's competition.

"All I want to do now is get into that top 30," he said. "And with the weights that have been coming in so far, I'm pretty confident I can do it. If everything works out, I might not even have to catch a fish tomorrow to make the cut."

Currently, the top 30 cut in the Pro Division is 7 pounds, 10 ounces. And, most likely, a two-day stringer weighing 14 or 15 pounds should be enough to qualify for Friday's semifinal round of competition.

Because Stegall appears to be well on his way toward making the top-30 cut, he said that he will probably ease up just a bit tomorrow.

"I'm probably going to fish somewhere else tomorrow because I'm trying to save some of my fish for later," he said. "But you've got to be careful not to take it too easy, because anything can happen out there."

John Daily of Tuscumbia, Ala., finished in second place with a catch of 14 pounds, 1 ounce. Harmon Davis of Marlow, Okla., and Wesley Strader of Spring City, Tenn., finished tied for third place with identical catches of 13 pounds, 12 ounces.

Joey Beevers of Cleveland, Miss., rounded out the top five standings with a catch of 12 pounds, 14 ounces.

Daniel Robertson of Rolling Fork, Miss., used a 5-pound, 1-ounce largemouth to capture the Big Bass award in the Pro Division and a check for $750. Robertson is currently in 27th place.

Ray shows up pro field on route to first place

Fishing in the first EverStart tournament of his career, Keith Ray of Florence, Ala., recorded the largest catch of the day with a whopping 15-pound, 1-ounce stringer, easily outdistancing his fellow co-anglers to grab the top spot in the division. Ray, who fished primarily with a white buzzbait in approximately 5 feet of water, said he was more than pleased with his rookie performance.

"I feel great about my catch today," he said. "I'm really happy. But I owe a lot to my partner. He put me on his fish and that's why I was able to do what I did. He really helped me out."

Ray, who is virtually guaranteed to make the top-30 cut given the fact that 30th place in the Co-Angler Division currently stands at 3 pounds, 4 ounces, said he is going to continue to fish aggressively tomorrow.

"I'm going to give it my best shot tomorrow and hopefully I'll be able to fish on Friday," he said. "I've only been fishing competitively for the last few years, so it's really important to me to make it into the top 30. I've just got to take it one day at a time."

Ray also took home the Big Bass award in the Co-Angler Division and a check for $250 after netting a 4-pound, 9-ounce largemouth.

David Fontenot of Alexandria, La., was in second place after recording a catch of 10 pounds, 7 ounces. Terry Johnson of Cordova, Tenn., finished in third place after landing a catch of 8 pounds, 12 ounces.

Rounding out the top five were John Ballard (fourth) of Parkville, Mo., with a catch of 8 pounds, 1 ounce and Scott Bailey (fifth) of Longview, Texas, with a catch of 7 pounds, 13 ounces.

Tomorrow's takeoff will take place at 6 a.m. at the Washington Street Ramp located just off Main Street in downtown Greenville, Miss.

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Tags: gary-mortenson  headline-story  2001-06-06-ferguson 

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