UPCOMING EVENT: PHOENIX BASS FISHING LEAGUE - 2020 - James River

Morgan wins EverStart Series event on Guntersville Lake

GUNTERSVILLE, Ala. - Pro Andy Morgan of Dayton, Tenn., caught five bass Saturday that weighed 23 pounds, 1 ounce to emerge as champion at the fourth and final regular-season EverStart Series Eastern Division event, a four-day, $256,825 tournament held on Alabama's Guntersville Lake. He claimed $61,900 in cash and prizes for the win, including $10,000 cash plus an Evinrude- or Yamaha-powered Ranger 519VS Comanche bass boat equipped with EverStart batteries, Garmin electronics and a Minn Kota trolling motor.

After finishing the two-day opening round in fifth place, Morgan led the field after Friday's semifinal round and retained that lead Saturday to score his fourth FLW Outdoors tournament win. His catch Saturday topped his nearest competitor, Fujifilm pro Wesley Strader of Spring City, Tenn., by nearly 3 pounds. Morgan began and ended the season with a victory, finishing first at the season opener on Lake Okeechobee in January. The win at Guntersville advanced Morgan 12 places in Eastern Division points standings, and he ends the season ranked ninth.

"In between (the wins) there was a little slack, but it's been a good year - my best by far," said Morgan, who has four tournament wins and 22 top-10 finishes in his FLW Outdoors career. "I was casting a jig, pitching a jig, casting a Zoom Ole Monster worm and casting a DD-22, and I caught fish on all the above. I was running from place to place, flipping, casting, and cranking, and I was rotating on anywhere from 18 to 20 places and caught one or two off each one. Every time I get a chance, I come to Guntersville to fish. The lake's full of structure, grass lines and fish, and it's a good place to take your family, fish a tournament or whatever. It's a beautiful area, and I learn something new every day I'm out here."

Rounding out the top five pros were Strader (five bass, 20 pounds, 5 ounces, $10,000); Marshall Deakins of Dunlap, Tenn. (five bass, 19 pounds, $9,000); J. Doug Campbell of Grant (five bass, 18 pounds, 10 ounces, $8,000); and David Gray of Section (five bass, 17 pounds, 1 ounce, $7,500).

A.K. Boatright of Cleveland, Ala., earned $5,000 cash as the Co-angler Division champion, thanks to his catch Saturday of five bass that weighed 15 pounds, 6 ounces. After fishing shallow water with his pro partners the first three days of the event, Boatright had to adjust Saturday to fishing in 20 to 25 feet of water.

"It scared the fool out of me, but it worked out," said Boatright, who is fishing his first season in the EverStart Series. "The first two days I fished shallow and was throwing and flipping worms and jigs, and the third day we were flipping jigs, and today it just got all messed up because my partner took me deep. We were throwing crankbaits and Carolina-rigging. But my partner, Doug Campbell, owns a local store up here, and he also guides, so he knew what he was doing."

Rounding out the top five co-anglers were Delane Harrison of Northport (five bass, 13 pounds, 8 ounces, $4,000); Richard Angel of Surf City, N.C. (three bass, 9 pounds, 3 ounces, $3,500); Charles Turner of Spring City, Tenn. (two bass, 6 pounds, 1 ounce, $2,500); and Christopher Fabrizio of Kernersville, N.C. (two bass, 5 pounds, 7 ounces, $2,000).

A total of 64 bass were caught Saturday, including eight five-bass limits. More than 98 percent were released alive.

Strader's runner-up finish on Guntersville was good enough to earn him the 2003 EverStart Series Eastern Division points title, with 758 points for the season. He edged past second-place angler Tony Christian of Hull, Ga., by 48 points after Christian posted a 67th-place finish at the Guntersville event. Christian, who entered the tournament atop the points standings, said a lack of sufficient practice time hurt him at Guntersville. Strader is a successful Wal-Mart FLW Tour pro as well who has 17 FLW Outdoors top-10 tournament finishes to his credit and over $340,000 in career earnings.

Four divisions - Eastern, Central, Northern and Western - comprise the $3.88 million EverStart Series. Each division stages four regular-season tournaments leading up to the no-entry-fee $335,975 EverStart Series Championship, which will be held on Old Hickory Lake near Gallatin, Tenn., Oct. 29-Nov. 1. The top 40 pros and co-anglers from Eastern, Central and Northern Division points standings and the top 30 from the Western Division will be invited to the championship.

A full field of 200 pros and 200 co-anglers took off from the Guntersville State Park Pier in Guntersville Wednesday to kick off the event. The field was cut from 200 to 20 following Thursday's competition. Weights were cleared for Friday's semifinal round, and the top 20 pros and 20 co-anglers competed Friday for one of 10 slots in Saturday's final round. Weights were again cleared for Saturday's competition, and the top 10 pros and 10 co-anglers competed for position and prize money.

In EverStart Series competition, pros supply the boats, control boat movement and fish from the front of each boat against other pros. Co-anglers fish from the back of each boat and compete against other co-anglers.

FLW Outdoors, the world's leading marketer of competitive fishing, administers the EverStart Series. Other FLW Outdoors-sanctioned tournament trails include the Wal-Mart FLW Tour, the Wal-Mart Bass Fishing League, the Wal-Mart Texas Tournament Trail, the Wal-Mart RCL Walleye Tour and the Wal-Mart RCL Walleye League. FLW Outdoors will award as much as $20 million through 175 tournaments in 2003.

Wal-Mart and many of America's most respected companies support FLW Outdoors and its six tournament trails. Wal-Mart has been the title sponsor of FLW Outdoors since 1997. For a complete list of FLW Outdoors sponsors and for more information about the premier products and services they offer, please explore FLWOutdoors.com.

FLW Outdoors is named after the legendary founder of Ranger Boats, Forrest L. Wood.

Tags: press-release  2003-06-11-guntersville-lake 

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