UPCOMING EVENT: TACKLE WAREHOUSE PRO CIRCUIT - 2020 - Lake Erie

Evans leads opening round of $256,825 EverStart Series event on Santee Cooper

MANNING, S.C. - Pro Dale Evans of Ridgeville caught a two-day total of 10 bass weighing 38 pounds, 11 ounces to lead round one of the $256,825 EverStart Series Eastern Division event on the Santee Cooper lakes near Manning. A full field of 200 boats competed in the tournament, but only the top 20 pros and co-anglers advanced to fish Friday's round where weights are zeroed. The winning pro can earn as much as $61,900 in cash and prizes, and the winning co-angler can earn up to $35,000.

"I really didn't do much different today," Evans said. "I just got a few good bites and that's what counted. I had big bass today and that really helped. I actually quit fishing at noon.

"I was flipping a tube around trees in about 3 to 5 feet of water. The areas I'm fishing have a mixture of fish in all phases of the spawn. I believe there are ton a fish in those spots. I just have to catch them the rest of the week."

Weights on Santee Cooper were down slightly from day one, but many anglers still managed to land impressive limits. Andy Morgan of Dayton, Tenn., jumped from 55th to second place with a huge 26-pound catch. Three of Morgan's five bass weighed 21 pounds.

Rounding out the top five pros are Morgan (10 bass, 37 pounds, 15 ounces); Micah Bennett of Summerville (nine bass, 36 pounds, 11 ounces); Ken Ellis of Bowman (10 bass, 35 pounds, 5 ounce); and Ricky Shumpert of Lexington (10 bass, 35 pounds, 2 ounces).

Marty Mixon of Goose Creek leads the Co-angler Division thanks to a two-day total of six bass weighing 21 pounds, 6 ounces. Mixon jumped from 17th place to take the lead.

"I live about an hour from the lakes, and I fish them quite a bit," Mixon said. "My pro partner didn't have anything going, and he was willing to go to some of my spots. We mostly just flipped pads and some trees with a Texas rig."

Rounding out the top five co-anglers are Jason Hampson of Cartersville, Ga. (six bass, 20 pounds, 5 ounces); Brent Long of Sherrills Ford, N.C. (seven bass, 19 pounds, 7 ounces); Albert Mobley of Manning (seven bass, 18 pounds, 12 ounces); and Reginald Pickett of Greensboro, N.C. (eight bass, 17 pounds, 15 ounces).

Evans earned $750 as the big-bass award winner in the Pro Division thanks to a 7-pound, 10-ounce bass. Daniel Miller of Indianapolis, Ind., claimed co-angler big-bass honors with an impressive 8-pound, 7-ounce largemouth that earned him $250.

Anglers caught 735 bass Thursday, including 53 five-bass limits.

Anglers will take off each morning at 7 from the John C. Land III Landing on Lake Marion in Summerton. Friday and Saturday's weigh-ins will be held at the Wal-Mart store located at 481 W. Boyce St. in Manning beginning at 4 p.m. The community is encouraged to attend daily takeoffs and weigh-ins.

The full field competed for two days to determine the top 20 pros and 20 co-anglers who advance to Friday's semifinal round based on their two-day accumulated weight. Weights are cleared for the semifinal round, and anglers compete for one day to determine who advances to Saturday's final round. Only the top 10 pros and 10 co-anglers compete Saturday, and the winner is determined by the heaviest two-day weight.

The winning pro is guaranteed $10,000 cash plus an Evinrude- or Yamaha-powered Ranger 519 VS equipped with Garmin electronics, a Minn Kota trolling motor and EverStart Batteries. If the winner is the original owner of a Ranger boat, he will receive a $10,000 bonus from Ranger for a top pro award worth $61,900. If he is a qualifying participant in the Ranger Cup incentive program, Ranger will award another $3,000 cash (or $1,500 to the highest-finishing Ranger Cup participant if not the winner), and Yamaha will match 50 percent of Ranger Cup winnings if the angler's boat is powered by a Yamaha outboard. Garmin will award the winning pro $1,000 if he uses only Garmin electronics and at least one unit is a qualifying unit.

The winning co-angler is guaranteed $5,000 cash, and if he is a Ranger boat owner, Ranger will award him a new Ranger 519 VS for a total prize package worth $35,000. Co-anglers who make the final round of each regular-season EverStart Series event and wear an EverStart/Evinrude shirt and cap on stage are awarded points toward the EverStart Batteries and Evinrude Outboard Engines Co-angler Award. The co-angler receiving the most points by the end of the season receives a 2004 Evinrude 225HO Direct Injection outboard engine rigged on a Ranger boat equipped with a Minn Kota trolling motor and EverStart batteries.

The EverStart Series features a pro/co-angler format with pros supplying the boats, fishing from the front deck against other pros and controlling boat movement. Co-anglers fish from the back deck and compete against other co-anglers. Every angler who receives weight credit in a tournament earns points that determine angler standings. Two hundred points are awarded to the winner, 199 points for second, 198 points for third, and so on.

Designed as a pathway to the $6.8 million Wal-Mart FLW Tour, the world's most lucrative bass-tournament series, the EverStart Series features four divisions - Eastern, Central, Northern and Western - with four regular-season events each. The season culminates with the $335,975 EverStart Series Championship, which will be held Nov. 3-6 on Lake Cumberland near Somerset, Ky. The event will be broadcast to 65 million subscribers of the Outdoor Life Network on the "FLW Outdoors" television series. Central Division anglers who finish in the top 40 in the final points standings are eligible to compete in the championship.

Named after the legendary founder of Ranger Boats, Forrest L. Wood, FLW Outdoors is the world's leading marketer of competitive fishing. FLW Outdoors-sanctioned tournament trails are the Wal-Mart FLW Tour, EverStart Series, Wal-Mart Bass Fishing League, Wal-Mart Texas Tournament Trail, Wal-Mart RCL Walleye Tour and Wal-Mart RCL Walleye League. EverStart Batteries, the best-selling batteries in the world, are marketed exclusively by Wal-Mart stores.

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.

Tags: press-release  2004-04-21-santee-cooper 

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