UPCOMING EVENT: TOYOTA SERIES - 2020 - Ft. Gibson

Israel is for real

Israel is for real
Co-angler Judy Israel of Wimauma, Fla., celebrates as she is named the winner of the Chevy Open on Lake Guntersville. Israel is the first woman to win not just one, but two co-anglers titles on the FLW Tour.

GUNTERSVILLE, Ala. - When BP co-angler Judy Israel of Wimauma, Fla., started day three of the Chevy Open on Lake Guntersville, she held the distinction of being the first and only woman in history to win a Walmart FLW Tour event as a co-angler.

By the end of the day, she became the second woman in history to win an FLW Tour event as a co-angler.

Israel has come a long, long way since her first FLW tournament in 1996.

"I didn't even start fishing seriously with artificials until after retirement," said the 63-year-old Israel. "I can remember my first year on the FLW Tour, meeting my pro partners at registration and having to write down on paper what techniques they were using. Then I'd go to the local tackle store to ask what I needed to buy to do that technique; I had no idea what a jig-and-pig or a Carolina rig even was."

Over the years and through many pro partners, Israel has learned and mastered the advanced techniques of bass fishing. In 2004 she won her first FLW Tour event as a co-angler at the Atchafalaya Basin in Louisiana. And today she added another FLW Tour victory to her resume.

"The first win was sweet, but this one is remarkable and heartwarming," she said. "I have such a passion for this sport, I just can't explain it."Quality bass like this have been the norm for co-angler winner Judy Israel this week.

To get to the winner's circle, Israel caught 11 pounds, 1 ounce while fishing with pro Bryan Thrift on day one. Then she walloped an astounding 26 pounds, 8 ounces on day two, which included the tournament's biggest bass a 9-pound, 6-ounce lunker, fishing behind Carl Svebek III.

Today, while fishing with Tom Mann Jr., Israel continued her fish-catching ways and boated five fish weighing 17 pounds, 11 ounces for the win.

Her key lures this week included a variety a rattling lipless crankbaits, including a Berkley Frenzy Rattler, which snared the big fish on day two. The lures were tied to 17- and 20-pound Spiderwire Ultracast fluorocarbon.

"I caught two bass right off the bat this morning," Israel said. "And then I went a long time without a bite. We had been fishing out off the bank most of the day, when Tom moved up shallow and I began hitting rocks or stumps or something with my bait. In that shallow area, I caught three bass in about 10 minutes, which gave me my limit."

But even with a solid limit secured in the well, Israel still did not think she had won.

"It was not until I was weighing in and Charlie said, `Judy, you need about 3 pounds to win,' that I knew I had won," she recalled. "Because I had one fish left in my bag and knew it was over 3 pounds."

As for the $40,000 prize, Israel said she was going to take it home and split it up among her grandchildren.

"I got my passion for fishing from my father, who used to take me out in Long Island Sound to fish for flounder," she said. "And I want to keep passing that fishing passion along in my family."

Lucas lands second

The West Coast back-deck sensation named Justin Lucas of Folsom, Calif., took second while fishing in his very first FLW Tour event.

Lucas is no stranger to winning. In his young career he has already recorded an incredible four Walmart FLW Series wins out of eight tournaments. And he almost pulled off his first Tour win in the very first FLW Tour event of his life.Red hot Justin Lucas of Folsom, Calif., narrowly missed winning his first FLW Tour event with a runner-up catch of 16 pounds, 4 ounces.

Instead, Lucas finished runner-up with a five-bass limit weighing 16 pounds, 4 ounces.

Lucas relied on two key lures for his catches this week: a Berkley Hollow Belly swimbait and a Lucky Craft LV-500 rattle bait.

The first day he sacked 16 pounds on the swimbait.

"I was using a white Hollow Belly, but I hand colored it with purple and chartreuse markers," Lucas said. "During practice they were absolutely eating that swimbait up, and it worked the first day of the tournament too."

On day two, he switched to the LV-500.

"That second day they just quit biting the swimbait - something definitely changed," he said. "So I went to the LV-500 in `aurora craw,' and I fished that bait the rest of the event."

For his finish, Lucas added another $15,000 to his stockpile of FLW winnings.

Remaining high five

Bill Bade of Omaha, Neb., finished third with three bass weighing 9 pounds, 4 ounces and collected $7,500.

Kevin Koone of Greenbrier, Ark., finished fourth with two bass weighing 8 pounds, 3 ounces for $5,000.

Thomas Helton of Charleston, Tenn., finished fifth with three bass weighing 7 pounds, 9 ounces worth $4,000.

Rest of the best

Rounding out the top 10 co-anglers in the Walmart FLW Tour Chevy Open on Lake Guntersville:

6th: Greg Schultz of Wayzata, Minn., two bass, 6-12
7th: Terry Chapman of Stanley, N.C., two bass, 6-3
8th: Fred Martin of North Little Rock, Ark., two bass, 5-12
9th: Scott Gibson of Wiggins, Miss., one bass, 5-9
10th: Sam Mitchiner of Garner, N.C., one bass, 2-2

Coming up

The next FLW Tour event will take place March 12-15 on Table Rock Lake in Branson, Mo.

Tags: rob-newell  co-angler-headline  2009-02-12-lake-guntersville 

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