Powers, a veteran tournament angler, had 11 EverStart Series top-10 finishes prior to this event. In each of those events, however, he could not manage to take the top spot. With the victory, Power’s career FLW Outdoors earnings now exceed a half million dollars.
“I did the same thing today that I’ve done all week,” Powers said. “I caught a few on a topwater, one on a Senko, one on a wacky worm and a few off the bed. I was just junk fishing. I’d like to say I was smart and figured out one pattern that won the tournament, but I was just junk fishing.”
Rounding out the top-five pros were Mike Keel of Auburn (10 bass, 24 pounds, 2 ounces); Anthony Gagliardi of Prosperity, S.C. (10 bass, 22 pounds, 2 ounces); Pedigree pro Steve Kennedy of Auburn (10 bass, 21 pounds, 2 ounces); and Michael Johnson of Talking Rock, Ga. (10 bass, 17 pounds, 13 ounces).
The event was the final Southeast Division tournament of the season, and Kennedy overcame a 30-point deficit to win the division’s points title. Kennedy entered the tournament 30 points behind 7 UP pro J.T. Kenney of Frostburg, Md., but ended up winning the title by 59 points. In the four Southeast Division events this season, Kennedy has finished fourth, 28th, 11th and fourth, respectively.
Keel earned $1,500 as the Ranger Cup winner and also earned the Powered by Yamaha Award worth $750.
Matthew Parker of Whitesburg, Ga., caught a final-round total of six bass weighing 14 pounds, 13 ounces to win the Co-angler Division and earn $35,000, including a Ranger boat. Parker also clinched the 2005 Southeast Division co-angler points title. He had an amazing run of three top-five finishes in a row, culminating with this victory.
“My partner, Mike Keel, told me last night that that we would be fishing points and deeper water,” Parker said. “I felt good about that because a Carolina rig had got me into the finals. We ran around to several spots, and I caught a fish here and there. But at 10 a.m., Mike said it was time to move, and I sat down. But he got a lure caught in his rod strap and sat there for a while trying to get it out. I just started thinking that the longer I sat there, the poorer my odds were of winning. So I grabbed a rod and just threw it out and caught a 5-pounder. That’s when I felt like I had a chance to win.
“I used a Zoom watermelon-candy Trick Worm spiked with garlic dye. I caught every fish of the tournament except one with that bait.”
Rounding out the top-five co-anglers were Michi Oba of Tokyo, Japan (four bass, 12 pounds, 3 ounces); Tim Vanegmond of Gay, Ga. (four bass, 8 pounds, 9 ounces); Tommy Gunn of Cusseta (three bass, 7 pounds, 6 ounces); and Richard Mitchell of Appling, Ga. (four bass, 5 pounds, 7 ounces).
Anglers caught 54 bass Saturday weighing 98 pounds, 11 ounces. Seven limits were caught.
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.