GILBERTSVILLE, Ky. (June 2, 2004) – Local favorite and Evinrude pro Dan Morehead of Paducah kicked off the $256,825 EverStart Series event on Kentucky Lake Wednesday with a limit of five bass that weighed 21 pounds, 6 ounces – a lead of nearly 2 pounds. The tournament is the fourth and final regular-season event in the Central Division presented by Schick Quattro, and Morehead leads the list of 200 pros angling for a top award worth as much as $61,900, including a fully rigged Ranger boat.

Morehead, a veteran pro who earned Land O’Lakes Angler of the Year honors on the Wal-Mart FLW Tour in 2003, needed to redeem himself after last year’s atypical performance at the Kentucky Lake EverStart Series event, where he finished 32nd – not bad, but subpar for the angler who has racked up 10 top-10 finishes on Kentucky and Barkley lakes in FLW Outdoors events since 1996.

“I wasn’t catching a lot of fish, but the bites I was getting were good ones,” said Morehead, whose last EverStart Series victory came on Kentucky Lake in 2002. “I bet I caught 13 or 14 keepers today, and I caught them on Kentucky and Barkley both.”

Morehead said he has 37 fishing holes but fished only five of them Wednesday. “I’m using a variety of different baits,” he said. “The fish are really spot-oriented; they’re really tight. It’s a little bitty spot, and you can fish right by them.”

Rounding out the top four pros are Pedigree pro Steve Kennedy of Auburn, Ala. (five bass, 19 pounds, 10 ounces); Sam Lashlee of Camden, Tenn. (five bass, 19 pounds, 4 ounces); and Bobby Kilzer of Paris, Tenn. (five bass, 18 pounds, 9 ounces). Currently tied for fifth are Brett Foust of Paducah and Jeff Hardin of Eddyville. Both anglers caught five bass weighing 18 pounds, 6 ounces.

BFGoodrich Tires pro Chad Grigsby of Colon, Mich., collected $750 Wednesday as the big-bass winner in the Pro Division with a 7-pound bass.

Woody (James) Clark of Bandera, Texas, leads the 200-competitor Co-angler Division with a five-bass catch Wednesday that weighed 17 pounds, 8 ounces. Clark is in the hunt for a top co-angler award worth as much as $35,000.

“I caught my fish on a Carolina-rigged 10-inch Power Worm,” said Clark, an EverStart Series rookie. “I caught eight keepers, and we caught fish in probably 10 different spots. I’ve never been to this lake before – I like it, and I like my partner, too! I couldn’t recommend anything to my partner even if he let me!” Clark fished with pro Glen Northcutt of Midwest City, Okla., who currently sits in the No. 41 spot on the pro side.

Rounding out the top five co-anglers are Bill Rogers of Jasper, Texas (five bass, 17 pounds, 6 ounces); Frank Divis Sr. of Fayetteville, Ark. (four bass, 13 pounds, 11 ounces); Ron Bricker of Indianapolis (five bass, 13 pounds, 6 ounces); and Bill Gift of Alix, Ark. (five bass, 13 pounds, 5 ounces).

Rogers claimed co-angler big-bass honors and $250 Wednesday thanks to a 6-pound bass.

Anglers take off at 6 each morning from Moors Resort in Gilbertsville. Thursday’s weigh-in will also be held at Moors beginning at 2:30 p.m. Friday and Saturday’s weigh-ins will be held at the Wal-Mart store located at 310 W. Fifth St. in Benton beginning at 3:30 p.m. The community is encouraged to attend daily takeoffs and weigh-ins.

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 full field of anglers will compete again Thursday to determine the 20 pros who will advance to Friday’s competition based on their two-day accumulated weight. Weights are cleared for Friday’s semifinal round, and the 20 pros and 20 co-anglers who advanced to the semifinal round will compete for one day to determine the top 10 pros and 10 co-anglers who will advance to Saturday’s final-round. The 10 final-round competitors will continue competition, with the winner determined by the heaviest two-day weight.

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. Central 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.