UPCOMING EVENT: TOYOTA SERIES - 2020 - Lake Eufaula

Kreiger crushes EverStart competition on Grand Lake

Kreiger crushes EverStart competition on Grand Lake
Koby Kreiger of Osceola, Ind., used a whopping 21-pound catch to grab first place in the Pro Division. Kreiger also caught a 7-pound, 5-ounce largemouth to take home the day's big bass honors and a check for $750.

Reed claims top spot in Co-angler Division

GROVE, Okla. - While the rest of the pro field struggled mightily to tame the frozen waters of Grand Lake during the first day of EverStart competition, Koby Kreiger of Osceola, Ind., had no such trouble. Despite only practicing for a total of 7 hours prior to the start of the tournament, Kreiger hauled in a monstrous five-fish catch weighing 21 pounds - nearly 3 full pounds greater than his nearest rival and more than 11 pounds ahead of the 20th-place finisher.

With the top-20 cut looming after tomorrow's weigh-in, Kreiger put himself in perfect position to advance even if he fails to catch a fish in Thursday's competition.

"Man, I just got lucky today. It's an awesome feeling," said Kreiger, who caught the majority of his stringer fishing crankbaits in shallow pockets near secondary points and structure. "I've never been to this lake before in my life. And I'm not really a crankbait guy at all. So when everything works out in your favor like this, you have to feel very fortunate."

Kreiger should also feel fortunate that he has a good friend in fellow competitor Craig Powers, a fixture on the FLW Tour as well.

"Craig makes a bunch of these homemade crankbaits back in east Tennessee and I decided to try some today," said Kreiger. "I wound up catching all of my fish but one on Craig's lures - the CP Rippers are what I call them. I owe him a lot after today."

Kreiger, who is coming off of a sixth-place finish at the EverStart Eastern Division tourney on Lake Eufuala only two weeks ago, said the fishing probably will be difficult for the remainder of the week.

"Every fish I caught today was in a different place," he said. "The fish are moving all over. They want to come up and spawn, but the water is too cold. The key is to go out there and cover a lot of area and make as many casts as you can. Because you never know when you're going to come across that big fish that puts you over the top."

Today, Kreiger was fortunate enough to find that big fish to put him over the top. Breaking with his crankbaits for a few casts, Kreiger tied a jig on a flipping stick and started targeting the back of a dock. Within minutes, Kreiger had landed a whopping 7-pound, 5-ounce largemouth, a feat good enough to take home the day's big bass honors and a check for $750.

"Hopefully, with today's stringer, I won't have to catch any fish tomorrow to make the cut," said Kreiger, who had a limit today by 9:30 a.m. "I'll probably spend most of the day tomorrow practicing for the semifinals."

Hartsell is an easy sell on Grand Lake

Fishing in his "home waters," Toby Hartsell of Grove, Okla., used an 18-pound, 3-ounce catch to vault into second place in the Pro Division heading into tomorrow's competition.

"I just wanted to go out there and catch a good bag of fish to take the pressure off me tomorrow," said Hartsell. "I didn't do well in practice. But this is my home lake, so I felt pretty comfortable coming into the tournament. But it's a four-day deal and not a one-day tournament. So, I'm not going to get too excited just yet."

Hartsell said he was targeting man-made brush piles and "transition areas" with a combination of crankbaits, spinner baits, Rogue jerkbaits and jigs.

"I'm really glad I caught what I did today so I don't have to catch a load tomorrow," he said. "But you also don't want to burn out all of your fish on the first day. Tomorrow, I'll go out there and try to catch a few keepers, enough to make the cut. Then I'll use the rest of the day to go practicing."

Best of the rest

Rounding out the top five pros in today's competition were: Tommy Dillon (third) of Manhattan, Kansas, with a catch of 15 pounds, 9 ounces; Robert Anderson (fourth) of Zwolle, La., with a catch of 14 pounds, 6 ounces; and Al Fisher (fifth) of Hackett, Ark., with a catch of 14 pounds.

Co-angler Reed takes over first-place

Bobby Reed of Cypress, Texas, used an 11-pound, 1-ounce catch to grab the overall lead in the Co-angler Division heading into tomorrow's second round of EverStart competition.

"It feels good," said Reed, who is fishing in just his third season on the tour. "I was very fortunate today. I didn't catch a lot in practice, but neither did my partner. So, we decided to just go out there and go fishing. And in the end, everything kind of worked out."

According to Reed, he spent the majority of his day targeting deep sloping banks in between two separate points with crankbaits.

"The key today was fishing slowly," he said. "And I'm going to try to do the same thing tomorrow. Hopefully, I can get lucky and catch two or three more fish. That should be enough to get me into the semifinals."

Although Reed has never made an EverStart top-20 cut, it looks like he will almost certainly end his long drought by the time tomorrow's competition has concluded.

Best of the rest

Rounding out the top five co-anglers were: Willie Ogden (second) of Wentzville, Mo., with a catch of 9 pounds, 8 ounces; Larry Creech (third) of Columbia City, Ind., with a catch of 8 pounds, 10 ounces; Lonnie Fuller Jr., (tied for fourth) of Hemphill, Texas, with a catch of 8 pounds, 8 ounces; and Dennis Huggins, (tied for fourth) of Broken Arrow, Okla.

John Fullam of Lyndale, Texas, won the day's big bass award in the Co-angler Division after netting a 6-pound, 8-ounce largemouth. The fish earned Fullam a check for $250.

Tomorrow's takeoff is scheduled to take place at 6 a.m. at Red 11 Port, located at 59801 East 250 Road in Grove, Okla.

Related links:

Photos
Results
Results of day-one pairings
Day-two pairings
Press releases

Tags: gary-mortenson  headline-story  2002-04-03-grand-lake 

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