Liechty milked the same spot he used to win the BFL event to claim his first EverStart Series victory, though he had to brave through 7-foot waves on Lake Erie to do so. "I'm all beat up from the rough waves," said Liechty, who is enjoying his first EverStart win. "I was fishing right in the middle of Lake Erie. I caught them on a Poor Boy's bait - a drop-shot goby. It's the new bait designed by (pros) Steve Clapper and Joe Balog." Clapper finished 10th in the tournament.
For the win, Liechty claimed $10,000 cash plus an Evinrude- or Yamaha-powered Ranger boat equipped with EverStart batteries, Garmin electronics and a Minn Kota trolling motor. He also received $10,000 from Ranger Boats because he is the original owner of a Ranger, and he also earned another $3,000 from Ranger as the highest-finishing participant in the Ranger Cup incentive program. Yamaha awarded him another $1,500 because his boat is powered by a Yamaha outboard, and he also earned $1,000 from Garmin for using Garmin electronics exclusively during the event.
Rounding out the top five pros are Dick Shaffer of Rockford, Ohio (nine bass, 34 pounds, 2 ounces, $10,000); Scott Emery of Livonia (10 bass, 33 pounds, 9 ounces, $9,000); Art Ferguson III of St. Clair Shores (10 bass, 30 pounds, 9 ounces, $8,000); and David Reault of Livonia (10 bass, 29 pounds, 2 ounces, $7,500).
Trevor Jancasz of White Pigeon led the co-angler field after day three and went on to win the Co-angler Division by a 7-pound, 11-ounce margin thanks to a two-day catch of 10 bass weighing 36 pounds, 13 ounces - a total that surpassed the weight of the pro leader by nearly 2 pounds.
"I caught five bass all day," said Jancasz, 20, who caught his tournament-winning bass on an ISG Dream Tube and a 1/2-ounce Bite Me jig. "The main thing is keeping my head in it, because right off the start (my partner) caught two, and then I didn't catch any. Then I caught a giant and caught two in a row, so there were three, and it was like 11 o'clock and I was thinking that was all I was going to catch. We fished and fished and didn't catch any more, and then we moved and I caught the two last big ones right out of that spot and clinched it." His biggest bass of the day weighed 4 pounds, 12 ounces.
Rounding out the top five co-anglers are Scot Keefe of Hinesburg, Vt.(eight bass, 29 pounds, 2 ounces, $4,000); Todd Robbins of Romulus (six bass, 18 pounds, 13 ounces, $3,500); Brian Comer of Springfield, Ohio (six bass, 16 pounds, 6 ounces, $2,500); and Gary Hoffman of Stoutsville, Ohio (four bass, 15 pounds, 8 ounces, $2,000).
The tournament kicked off Wednesday from Elizabeth Park in Trenton as 200 pros and 200 co-anglers competed for two days for one of 20 semifinal-round slots in both divisions. Weights were cleared for Friday's competition, and the 20 anglers competed for one day for one of 10 final-round positions. Weights carried over for Saturday's final round, with the winners determined by the heaviest two-day weights.
The tournament, which was presented by Schick Quattro, is the second of four regular-season events in the Northern Division, which will next visit Lake Erie in Buffalo, N.Y., Aug. 25-28.
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. Northern Division anglers who finish in the top 40 in the final points standings are eligible to compete in the championship.
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.
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.