COLUMBUS, Miss. (March 16, 2005) ­ Pro Will Dupler of Columbus caught five bass weighing 19 pounds to lead day one of the EverStart Series Central Division event on the Columbus Pool of the Tennessee-Tombigbee Waterway. A field of 190 pros is competing for the top prize of a Ranger 519 VX powered by a Yamaha or Evinrude outboard, Minn Kota trolling motor, Garmin electronics and Everstart Batteries plus $10,000 cash.

For the second EverStart Series Central Division event in a row, anglers were greeted with rain and cooler than expected temperatures. A cold front blew into Columbus just before the tournament got underway, and anglers found the fish less aggressive than they had been in practice. While talk of aggressive spawning fish south of the launch site was the buzz during practice, the wind and colder temperatures hampered much of the field on day one. Only 41 of the 380 competitors brought in limits.

Pros were throwing everything in the tackle box Wednesday, trying to scrape together five bass limits. Fishermen affectionately refer to throwing a variety of lures at a variety of shallow water targets as “junk fishing”. Armed with as many as 15 rods on the deck, anglers worked shallow cover and areas with a variety of presentations and caught bass in a number of ways on Wednesday.

Rounding out the top-five pros are Lendell Martin Jr. of Nacogdoches, Texas (five bass, 17 pounds, 9 ounces); Blaine LeBlanc of Many, La. (five bass, 16 pounds, 2 ounces); Danny Walden of Columbus (five bass, 16 pounds, 1 ounce); and David Curtis of Trinity, Texas (five bass, 15 pounds, 4 ounces).

Michi Oba of Tokyo, Japan is leading the Co-angler Division with a five bass limit weighing 16 pounds, 5 ounces.

“I just got real lucky Wednesday,” Oba said. “My partner and I were doing the same thing, but I just got the right bites.” Oba said he was junk fishing shallow cover with as many as 20 different lures. “I caught one on a crankbait, one on a Zoom brush hog, one on a spinnerbait, and one on a jig.”

Rounding out the top-five co-anglers are Tom Medlock of Licking, Mo. (five bass, 15 pounds, 1 ounce); Brett Turner of Eros, La. (four bass, 11 pounds, 2 ounces); Mack McCoy of Ringgold, La. (five bass, 9 pounds, 9 ounces); and Danny Bickom of Canastota, N.Y. (three bass, 8 pounds, 15 ounces).

LeBlanc caught a 6-pound, 6-ounce largemouth to win the $700 Snickers Big Bass Award in the Pro Division while Medlock caught a 7-pound, 5-ounce bass to win $240 for big bass in the Co-angler Division.

Anglers caught 687 bass weighing 1,446 pounds, 2 ounces.

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.

For more information on the EverStart Series or any of FLW Outdoors’ eight tournament trails, visit FLWOutdoors.com.