PLATTSBURGH, N.Y. (Sept. 14, 2005) - Pro Bill Chapman of Salt Rock, W.Va., caught a five-bass limit weighing 18 pounds, 11 ounces to lead day one of the EverStart Series Northeast Division event on Lake Champlain near Plattsburgh. Pro anglers are competing for $10,000 plus a Ranger 519VX powered by a Yamaha or Evinrude outboard, Minn Kota trolling motor, Garmin electronics and EverStart Batteries. Ranger also awards an additional $10,000 to the winner if he is a qualified Ranger owner for a total of $69,000 in cash and prizes.

Overall, anglers had one of the best days yet of the 2005 EverStart Series season, with 1,291 bass weighing 3,241 pounds, 11 ounces being brought to the scale. However, the field had to brave some tough conditions to get those bass in their livewells.

"The wind really blew today," said Kellogg's pro Dave Lefebre of Erie, Pa., who currently sits in second place with five bass weighing 18 pounds, 9 ounces. "I had 5-footers between the two areas I'd found in practice, which were just a few miles apart, so I just stayed in one spot. The time it would have taken to run back and forth would have been too costly.

"I caught my fish fairly shallow this morning. I should've had 23 pounds, but my two biggest fish got off right at the boat."

Rain is in the forecast for Thursday's competition, and Lefebre predicted precipitation will help the bass bite even more.

Rounding out the top five pros are Mitch Pierson of Newton, N.J. (five bass, 17 pounds, 15 ounces); Larry Allard of Ware, Maine (five bass, 17 pounds, 13 ounces); and J.T. Kenney of Frostburg, Md. (five bass, 17 pounds, 10 ounces).

James Schneider of Menands caught a 5-pound, 2-ounce bass to earn the Snicker's Big Bass award in the Pro Division, worth $575.

Dana Perrotte of Winooski, Vt., caught a five-bass limit weighing 17 pounds 1 ounce to lead the Co-angler Division. Perrotte and his partner fished a large flat that was 12 to 20 feet deep. They caught their bass on Carolina rigs and Lucky Craft jerkbaits.

Rounding out the top five co-anglers are Richard Gambardella of Branford, Conn. (five bass, 16 pounds, 12 ounces); Sam Wisnewski of Forked River, N.J. (five bass, 16 pounds, 9 ounces); Chris Wade of Preston, Conn. (five bass, 16 pounds, 5 ounces) and Dennis Hill of Vinton, Va. (five bass, 16 pounds, 4 ounces).

Shannon Fletcher of Honaker, Va., earned $215 for catching the Snickers Big Bass in the Co-angler Division. The big bass weighed 5 pounds, 11 ounces.

Plattsburgh Boat Basin located at 1 Dock Street in Plattsburgh hosts the daily takeoffs at 6:30 a.m. Plattsburgh Boat Basin will also host Thursday's weigh-in beginning at 3 p.m. Friday and Saturday's weigh-ins will be held at the Wal-Mart located at 25 Consumer Square in Plattsburgh beginning at 4 p.m.

EverStart Series tournaments are four-day events consisting of two rounds. The entire field competes Wednesday and Thursday, and the top 10 pros and co-anglers - based on two-day accumulated weights - advance to the final round. Anglers start at zero Friday, and pro and co-angler winners are determined Saturday based on two-day accumulated weights.