“The fishing stars of tomorrow are competing in the EverStart Series today,” said Charlie Hoover, president and chief executive officer of FLW Outdoors. “This tournament trail continues to give fishing fans exciting, high-stakes tournament action while acting as a training ground for both established pros and up-and-coming anglers. With its lucrative payouts and top-notch schedule, there’s never been a better time than now to be a part of the EverStart Series.”
Four divisions – Central, Eastern, Northern and Western – each feature four regular-season events en route to the EverStart Series Championship Nov. 3-6 on Lake Cumberland near Somerset, Ky. The top 40 pros and co-anglers based on year-end points standings (top 30 from the Western Division) will advance to the no-entry-fee championship, which will be televised to 65 million subscribers of the Outdoor Life Network on “FLW Outdoors.” The winning pro at the championship will earn as much as $76,900 in cash and prizes, including a Ranger 519 VS powered by Evinrude or Yamaha and equipped with Garmin electronics, a Minn Kota trolling motor and EverStart batteries.
The tournament season kicks off Jan. 7-10 on Lake Okeechobee near Okeechobee, Fla., for the Eastern Division season opener presented by Garmin. Other Eastern Division events are: Lake Eufaula near Eufaula, Ala., March 3-6; Santee Cooper lakes near Manning, S.C., April 21-24; and Guntersville Lake near Guntersville, Ala., May 19-22.
The Central Division presented by Schick Quattro opens Feb. 25-28 on Sam Rayburn Reservoir near Jasper, Texas followed by events on Pickwick Lake near Florence, Ala., March 24-27; the Red River near Natchitoches, La., April 28-May 1; and Kentucky Lake near Gilbertsville, Ky., June 2-5.
The Mississippi River near Welch, Minn., will host the first event of the Northern Division presented by Schick Quattro June 9-12. Other Northern Division events are: Detroit River near Trenton, Mich., July 21-24; Lake Erie near Buffalo, N.Y., Aug. 25-28; and Lake Champlain near Plattsburgh, N.Y., Sept. 22-25.
The Western Division returns for its second season of EverStart Series action Jan. 28-31 on Lake Pleasant near Peoria, Ariz., followed by events on Lake Havasu near Lake Havasu City, Ariz., March 17-20; Clear Lake near Clearlake, Calif., April 14-17; and the California Delta near Oakley, Calif., presented by Garmin May 5-8.
Two hundred pros and 200 co-anglers comprise a full field in the 2004 EverStart Series, and anglers fishing the Central, Eastern and Northern divisions will compete for as much as $256,825 in cash and prizes during each regular-season event. 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 is eligible for a $10,000 cash bonus for a top pro award of $61,900 in cash and prizes. The winning co-angler is guaranteed $5,000 cash, and if he is a registered Ranger owner, he will receive a new Ranger 519 VS. Cash awards are presented through 50th place in each event.
Western Division anglers will be in the hunt for their share of $214,525 in cash and prizes at each regular-season tournament, with the winning pro guaranteed $8,500 cash plus a fully rigged Ranger 519 VS. If the winner is the original owner of a Ranger boat, he will receive a $10,000 cash bonus. The winning co-angler is guaranteed $4,500 cash, and Ranger will award the winner a new Ranger 519 if he is a registered owner of a Ranger.
Each tournament is a four-day event, with the full field competing for two days for one of 20 semifinal round slots in both the Pro and Co-angler divisions. Weights are cleared for the semifinal round, and anglers compete for one day to earn a spot in the 10-angler final round in each division. Weights carry over into the final round for the top 10 pros and co-anglers, and the winners are determined by the heaviest two-day accumulated weight.
In EverStart Series competition, pros and co-anglers are randomly paired each day, with pros supplying the boat, fishing from the front deck and competing against other pros. Co-anglers fish from the back deck against other co-anglers. Two hundred points are awarded to the winner, 199 for second, 198 for third, and so on. Every angler who receives weight credit in a tournament earns points, and these points determine angler standings. Co-anglers wearing EverStart/Evinrude shirts and EverStart/Evinrude baseball caps on stage during final-round appearances also earn points toward the EverStart Batteries and Evinrude Outboard Engines Co-angler Award. At the end of the season, the co-angler with the most points will receive a 2004 Evinrude 225HO direct injection outboard engine rigged on a Ranger boat equipped with a Minn Kota trolling motor and EverStart batteries.
The top 30 anglers from each Wal-Mart Bass Fishing League division may enter the 2004 EverStart Series beginning immediately and must have their deposits for all four tournaments within a division paid by Dec. 1 to secure their priority position. Ranger boat owners may enter beginning at 8 a.m. CST Dec. 2. Champion and Stratos boat owners may enter beginning at 8 a.m. CST Dec. 3. All other entries will be accepted beginning at 8 a.m. CST Dec. 4. Pros and co-anglers who enter all four qualifying tournaments within a division by Dec. 4 will be given priority over anglers who enter less than four events. Entry fees remain unchanged in 2004 at $650 for pros and $250 for co-anglers. To enter, visit FLWOutdoors.com or call (270) 252-1000.
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.
EverStart Batteries are marketed exclusively through Wal-Mart stores. For more information on EverStart Batteries, visit EverStart-Batteries.com.
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 visit FLWOutdoors.com.
FLW Outdoors is named after the legendary founder of Ranger Boats, Forrest L. Wood.