Coates has been fishing a watermelon Phoenix tube on a homemade 3/8-ounce jighead all week. "It was a little tougher out there today," Coates said. "The weather started out nice, but the wind picked up later on and it was a little rough. I only caught seven keepers.
"The last fish I caught was a 4-pound, 10-ounce bass. That one made me feel really good, because I knew someone would have to catch over 21 pounds to beat me," Coates said.
Coates has been concentrating his efforts in one football-field sized area of rock piles, which he said he's had to himself all week. "There were so many things coming together, and so many things that could have gone wrong," he continued. "I was looking to feel some magic. Yesterday, I hooked one big smallmouth that jumped into the boat with us before my co-angler could net it."
Rounding out the top five pros are Aaron Hastings of Middletown, Md. (10 bass, 36 pounds, 10 ounces, $9,200); Steve Clapper of Lima (10 bass, 34 pounds, 6 ounces, $8,500); Joe Balog of Harrison Township, Mich. (eight bass, 31 pounds, 10 ounces, $7,550); and Dave Lefebre of Erie, Pa. (nine bass, 28 pounds, 3 ounces, $7,050).
Mark Myers of Minneapolis, Minn., caught a two-day total of 10 bass weighing 34 pounds, 14 ounces to win the Co-angler Division. Myers earned a fully rigged Ranger 519VX as well as $4,700 cash.
"Every fish I caught today came on a drop-shot, Myers said. "I fished for smallmouths with the drop-shot on days two through four, but I made the cut by fishing near a marina on day one and catching a limit of largemouths. I caught those fish by flipping Zoom Brush Hogs."
Rounding out the top five co-anglers are Ron Jackups of Fairfield (10 bass, 33 pounds, 3 ounces, $3,700); John Wilson of Hazelwood, N.C. (seven bass, 27 pounds, 9 ounces, $3,320); Jason Allison of Washington, Pa. (five bass, 19 pounds, $2,320) and Teddy Bradley of Mishawaka, Ind. (six bass, 18 pounds, 4 ounces, $1,820).
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.