EUFAULA, Ala. (March 5, 2004) – Pro Koby Kreiger of Okeechobee, Fla., caught a five-bass limit Friday weighing 22 pounds, 6 ounces to lead the semifinal round of the $256,825 EverStart Series Eastern Division event on Lake Eufaula near Eufaula, Ala. A full field of 200 pros and 200 co-anglers competed in the first round, but only the top 10 from each division survived to fish the final day. The winning pro will earn as much as $61,900 in cash and prizes, and the co-angler winner could collect up to $35,000 in cash and prizes.

“All of my fish have come on a Rabbit Dog spinnerbait,” Kreiger said. “I’m fishing really shallow along flats. I’m not doing anything complicated.”

Anglers again brought in solid catches Friday. Bass have been on the move all week as water temperatures have rapidly increased as a result of 80-degree temperatures each day. Sluggish fish a week ago are now actively feeding.

“The water temperature in my areas last Friday was 47 degrees,” Kreiger said, “but this afternoon the water temp hit 63.”

Rounding out the top five pros are Tim Peek of Sharpesburg, Ga. (five bass, 19 pounds, 2 ounces); Jacob Powroznik of Prince George, Va. (five bass, 18 pounds, 5 ounces); Alex Ormond of Bessemer City, N.C. (five bass, 18 pounds); and Greg Pugh of Cullman (five bass, 16 pounds, 15 ounces).

Jeff Carman of Liberty, Ky., is dominating Co-angler Division thanks to five bass weighing 22 pounds, 7 ounces – the largest weight of the day among either division.

“I put together a jig pattern before the tournament,” Carman said. “I’ve got rattles on the jig, and I think that is the real key. We were fishing steep banks. The fish are wanting to come up shallow, but a lot are still deep and suspending in trees on those steep banks.

“When I bring the jig over a limb, I stop for a second and shake it so the rattles will make a little noise. That’s when I get the hit. In one tree, my partner (Steve Kennedy of Auburn, who was also his day one partner) and I caught seven keepers.”

Carman, who is leading by nearly 9 pounds, appears to have the co-angler title wrapped up. Lake Eufaula, however, can produce some huge bass and nothing is certain.

Rounding out the top five co-anglers are Wayne Colonna of Tallahassee, Fla. (five bass, 13 pounds, 15 ounces); Bennie Patton of Dunnville, Ky. (five bass, 11 pounds, 5 ounces); Mike Freeman of Oxford (five bass, 10 pounds, 11 ounces); and Joseph Webster of Fulton, Miss. (three bass, 10 pounds, 7 ounces).

Anglers caught 131 bass Friday, including 16 five-bass limits, that weighted 391 pounds, 5 ounces. All bass were weighed alive.

Anglers will take off Saturday morning at 6 from Lakepoint Resort State Park in Eufaula. Saturday’s weigh-in will be held at the Wal-Mart store located at 1218 S. Eufaula Ave. in Eufaula beginning at 4 p.m. The community is encouraged to attend the takeoff and weigh-in.

The full field competed for two days to determine the top 20 pros and 20 co-anglers who advanced to Friday’s semifinal round based on their two-day accumulated weight. Weights were cleared for the semifinal round, and anglers competed for one day to determine who advanced to Saturday’s final round. Only the top 10 pros and 10 co-anglers compete Saturday, and the winner is determined by the heaviest two-day weight.

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 will receive a $10,000 bonus from Ranger for a top pro award worth $61,900. If he is a qualifying participant in the Ranger Cup incentive program, Ranger will award another $3,000 cash (or $1,500 to the highest-finishing Ranger Cup participant if not the winner), and Yamaha will match 50 percent of Ranger Cup winnings if the angler’s boat is powered by a Yamaha outboard. Garmin will award the winning pro $1,000 if he uses only Garmin electronics and at least one unit is a qualifying unit.

The winning co-angler is guaranteed $5,000 cash, and if he is a Ranger boat owner, Ranger will award him a new Ranger 519 VS for a total prize package worth $35,000. Co-anglers who make the final round of each regular-season EverStart Series event and wear an EverStart/Evinrude shirt and cap on stage are awarded points toward the EverStart Batteries and Evinrude Outboard Engines Co-angler Award. The co-angler receiving the most points by the end of the season receives a 2004 Evinrude 225HO Direct Injection outboard engine rigged on a Ranger boat equipped with a Minn Kota trolling motor and EverStart batteries.

The EverStart Series features a pro/co-angler format with pros supplying the boats, fishing from the front deck against other pros and controlling boat movement. Co-anglers fish from the back deck and compete against other co-anglers. Every angler who receives weight credit in a tournament earns points that determine angler standings. Two hundred points are awarded to the winner, 199 points for second, 198 points for third, and so on.

Designed as a pathway to the $6.8 million Wal-Mart FLW Tour, the world’s most lucrative bass-tournament series, the EverStart Series features four divisions – Eastern, Central, Northern and Western – with four regular-season events each. The season culminates with the $335,975 EverStart Series Championship, which will be held Nov. 3-6 on Lake Cumberland near Somerset, Ky. The event will be broadcast to 65 million subscribers of the Outdoor Life Network on the “FLW Outdoors” television series. Eastern Division anglers who finish in the top 40 in the final points standings are eligible to compete in the championship.

Named after the legendary founder of Ranger Boats, Forrest L. Wood, FLW Outdoors is the world’s leading marketer of competitive fishing. FLW Outdoors-sanctioned tournament trails are the Wal-Mart FLW Tour, EverStart Series, Wal-Mart Bass Fishing League, Wal-Mart Texas Tournament Trail, Wal-Mart RCL Walleye Tour and Wal-Mart RCL Walleye League. EverStart Batteries, the best-selling batteries in the world, are marketed exclusively by Wal-Mart stores.

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.