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

Smith leads at Eufaula

Smith leads at Eufaula
Rusty Smith of Somerset, Ky., leads the Lake Eufaula EverStart event with five bass weighing 22 pounds, 4 ounces.

EUFAULA, Ala. - Some caught them deep, others caught them shallow. And somewhere in between, Rusty Smith of Somerset, Ky., was running around all over Lake Eufaula catching 22 pounds, 4 ounces to take the early round lead in the EverStart Series Eastern Division event.

Smith is using the 20-20 plan to catch his fish.

"I've got about 20 spots all up and down the lake, and I'm spending about 20 minutes on each one," he said. "I'm running and gunning, but once I get to a spot, I fish it really slow."

Smith added that he caught nine keepers in depths of about 10 feet.

"These fish are really on the move, and I'm just trying to keep up with them," he said.

Patrick Hailstone of Cincinnati, Ohio, is in second with 21 pounds, 12 ounces.Hailstone also running and gunning

Patrick Hailstone of Cincinnati, Ohio, holds down second place with five bass weighing 21 pounds, 12 ounces.

Hailstone also fished multiple spots to catch eight keepers. He is targeting the 6- to 8-foot range.

"With this weather, they should be up there in 1 or 2 feet of water; I've tried to catch them on the bank for a week and I can't do it," he said. "So I'm fishing out a little bit. I think they're just sitting out there waiting to move up. Today was the best day I've had in six days here."

Hailstone's plan tomorrow is to catch about 10 pounds and then look for another pattern for the finals.

Pro Rodger Beaver of Leesburg, Ga., shows off part of his 21-pound, 6-ounce limit for third.Beaver out deep

A bit deeper in the field, and water column, is Rodger Beaver of Leesburg, Ga., in third with 21 pounds, 6 ounces.

Beaver is fishing 12 to 18 feet deep with a 1-ounce LedgeBuster Spinnerbait.

"I think a lot of these fish are still real deep," he said. "I know it's been warm for a few days, but we've had a really cold winter here and the water is still cold. The fish I'm catching are prespawn bass, and I think they are just getting to my places from water that's even deeper than where I'm fishing."

Defoe and Millirons round out top five

Ott Defoe of Knoxville, Tenn., is in fourth with 19 pounds, 13 ounces. He said he is catching his fish early and in water less than 10 feet deep.

Previous Eufaula EverStart champion Derrick Millirons of nearby Seale, Ala., weighed in 19 pounds, 6 ounces to grab fifth place.

Gary Niemi of Lake Placid, Fla., won the big-bass honors on the pro side with this Lake Eufaula bass that weighed 8 pounds, 10 ounces.In the big-fish department, Gary Niemi of Lake Placid, Fla., weighed in the Pro Division day-one lunker. He reported catching the 8-pound, 10-ounce bass on a buzzbait.

The rest of the best

Rounding out the top 10 in the Pro Division are Alex Ormand of Bessemer City, N.C., in sixth place with 19 pounds, 4 ounces; Sandy Melvin of Boca Grande, Fla., in seventh with 18 pounds, 6 ounces; Tommy Hatfield of Kissimmee, Fla., in eighth with 17 pounds, 13 ounces; Steve Kennedy of Auburn, Ala., in ninth with 17 pounds, 12 ounces; and, tied for 10th with 17 pounds, 6 ounces, are James Kennedy of Boaz, Ala., and Dennis Magoto of Waynesville, Ohio.

John Crosby Jr. of Macon, Ga., leads the Co-angler Division with five bass weighing 17 pounds, 7 ounces.Crosby leads co-anglers

John Crosby Jr. of Macon, Ga., brought in five bass weighing 17 pounds, 7 ounces to take the Co-angler Division lead.

Crosby said he caught his fish on a crankbait that dives to about 6 feet.

"I fish over here quite a bit, and I have a lot of confidence in this crankbait," he said. "Confidence goes a long way in the back of the boat so I feel pretty good about tomorrow."

Joseph Webster of Fulton, Miss., is in second place in the Co-angler Division with five bass weighing 16 pounds, 9 ounces.

Adam Lockey of Newport, N.C., is in third place among co-anglers with four bass weighing 15 pounds, 6 ounces.

Ronald Mueller of Prosperity, S.C., is in fourth with 15 pounds, 6 ounces.

Mike Freeman of Oxford, Ala., holds onto fifth with a limit weighing 15 pounds even.

Gary Whiteley of Catoosa, Okla., took the big-bass honors in the Co-angler Division with this bass that weighed 6 pounds, 7 ounces.The co-angler big bass was caught by Gary Whiteley of Catoosa, Okla., and it weighed 6 pounds, 7 ounces.

Rest of the best

Rounding out the top 10 in the Co-angler Division are Merle Wells Jr. of Hammond, N.Y., in sixth place with 14 pounds, 9 ounces; Dave Dickens of Sarasota, Fla., in seventh with 14 pounds, 5 ounces; Luis Paredes of Milford, Conn., in eighth with 12 pounds, 10 ounces; and there is a three-way tie for ninth at 12 pounds, 2 ounces among Andy Bailey of Beckley, W.V., Tony Haymon of West Palm Beach, Fla., and Reginald Pickett of Greensboro, N.C.

The action resumes tomorrow at 6 a.m. Central time at the Lakepoint Resort Marina.

Tags: rob-newell  headline-story  2004-03-03-lake-eufaula 

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