UPCOMING EVENT: TOYOTA SERIES - 2020 - Lake Dardanelle

W.D. “Hoot” Gibson does it again

W.D. “Hoot” Gibson does it again
W.D. "Hoot" Gibson of Bryant, Ark., shows off his trophy after winning the Co-angler Division. Gibson used a 9-pound, 14-ounce to win the first-place prize of $15,000.

Arkansas native snatches second FLW co-angler title in two years

GALLATIN, Tenn. - If W.D. "Hoot" Gibson wasn't considered one of the best co-anglers to ever fish on the FLW Tour, he certainly will be mentioned as one of the greatest after today's performance. Using a catch of 9 pounds, 14 ounces, Gibson surged into the lead during today's final weigh-in and never looked back - walking away with his second FLW title in as many years.

The win not only netted Gibson $15,000 in prize money, but it also gave him a commanding lead in the 2002 FLW Co-angler of the Year standings race. However, as usual, the 64-year-old angler was humble when describing his memorable performance.

"It's a pretty good accomplishment," said Gibson in typical modest fashion. "These co-anglers are a great bunch of guys and they're all very good fishermen. And any time you can out and compete from the back of the boat at the FLW level and win, you've got to be pleased."

However, Gibson admitted that a second title was the farthest thing from his mind during the early morning hours of today's competition.

"I didn't have a fish in the boat by 1 p.m.," said Gibson. "But then my partner, Koby Kreiger, decided to make a change. And when we got to our new spot, things started to pick up. In the end, I had four bites and caught all four fish."

Gibson said he targeted largemouth bass along main river currents using a ¼-ounce Arkansas Hawg Caller jig with a green watermelon Zoom Junior Chunk trailer.

Establishing a legacy

With three top-10 finishes in 2001, two top-20 finishes in 2002 and two first-place co-angler titles on the FLW Tour, Gibson - who has suffered a series of back ailments over the years - proved once again that he can more than hold his own against the young guns on the tour.

"I'll be 65 on July 23 and with 35 years of fishing experience, I understand how to fish out of the back of the boat," said Gibson. "When I make the top 20, I know what to do. It's crunch time for me. Some people worry about the other anglers, but I always look at it as me competing against the fish. And I think that helps me."

As far as the prize money goes - and Gibson has won his fair share of that as well - the native of Bryant, Ark., says it's all in a day's work.

"The money is nice, but I just love to go out there and go fishing," he said. "If there wasn't any money involved, I'd still be here. In fact, I've got to leave here tonight so I can go fishing in a tournament on Sunday."

Although the first-place prize money doesn't faze him much, Gibson said there is one thing that he's very much looking forward to accomplishing.

"One of my goals this year was to win the FLW Angler of the Year title," he said. "Because, in order to do that, you have to be versatile and very consistent. And in my opinion, that's what makes a great fisherman."

Gibson probably need not worry about accomplishing that feat. Already in first place in the year-end points standings race coming into the tournament, Gibson's win today all but assures that the Arkansas native will realize his most important goal by the time the final FLW Tour event of the regular season concludes at Lake Champlain next June.

Abrams laments fish that got away

Jason Abrams of Bluff City, Tenn., knew he was close to walking away with his first FLW title. As the only co-angler to turn in a five-fish limit during the final day of competition, Abrams hoped his stringer would hold up. Unfortunately for the Tennessee native, it turned out that the one fish that got away was the one that made the difference.

"With about 30 minutes left in the day, I lost a 3 1/2-pounder," said Abrams, who recorded a total catch weighing 8 pounds, 5 ounces. "That would have been enough to win. But I'm sure everyone's got a fish story like that."

Despite the heartache, Abrams said that he was pleased with his overall performance and his highest-ever finish on the FLW Tour.

"I've had a tremendous week and I had three great partners," said Abrams. "So I really can't complain. I came here to learn and I learned a lot. Overall, it's the best finish I've ever had. I'm very happy."

Abrams, who flipped a jig in deep water, gave credit to his final-round partner, Frank Ippoliti, for his finish.

"Frank gave me a tremendous amount of water to fish and that really helped me," he said. "I couldn't have asked for a better partner."

Abrams ultimately took home $6,000 for his second-place finish.

Best of the rest

Charlie Cawthon of Rome, Ga., won $4,000 and third place after registering a total catch weighing 7 pounds, 4 ounces. Gary Bucciarelli of Trenton, Mich., won $3,000 and a fourth-place finish after netting a 6-pound, 15-ounce catch.

Hometown favorite Lance Oligschlaeger of Gallatin, Tenn., used a 5-pound, 13-ounce catch to take home $2,500 and finish the day in fifth place.

Rounding out the top-10 co-angler finalists were Kentaro Amagai (sixth) of New Port Richey, Fla., with a catch of 5 pounds, 4 ounces; Frank Meyer (seventh) of Pembroke Pines, Fla., with a catch of 4 pounds, 2 ounces; Tee Watkins (eighth) of East Point, Ky., with a catch of 3 pounds, 15 ounces; Art Garza (ninth) of Buna, Texas, with a catch of 2 pounds, 10 ounces; and Joel Etheredge (tenth) of Springfield, Ala., with a catch of 1 pound, 14 ounces.

FLW action in the Pro Division resumes at 6:15 a.m. at Bull Creek Boat Dock located at 200 Odoms Bend Road in Gallatin, Tenn.

Related links:

Quick Bites: FLW Old Hickory Lake, Day 3
Photos
Results
Results of day-three pairings
Press release

Tags: gary-mortenson  co-angler-headline  2002-05-15-old-hickory-lake 

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