Rudd caught five bass Wednesday that weighed 21 pounds, 13 ounces and followed that up Thursday with another five bass weighing 21 pounds, 14 ounces to take the lead by a 2-pound, 12-ounce margin. However, weights are cleared for both the semifinal and final rounds, so the game is far from over. The competition in the sweltering California heat is intense, as the Delta offers anglers one last opportunity to gain valuable angler points to qualify them for the lucrative EverStart Series Championship in late October.
Rudd caught his tournament-leading bass in the sweltering California heat using a Senko targeting spawning areas. “This is a nice position to be in,” said Rudd, who was in second place after day one. “I just want to fish consistently for the remainder of the tournament.”
Rounding out the top five pros are Darryl Burkhardt of Gresham, Ore. (10 bass, 40 pounds, 14 ounces); Dave Nollar of Redlands (10 bass, 39 pounds, 1 ounces); Tim Klinger of Boulder City, Nev. (10 bass, 38 pounds, 11 ounces); and Andre Moore of Scottsdale, Ariz. (10 bass, 36 pounds, 13 ounces).
Twenty co-anglers also advanced to the semifinal round, and John Kort of Roseville leads with a two-day catch of 10 bass weighing 30 pounds, 13 ounces. He caught his bass Thursday on a Senko along the weed lines.
“I am having a great time,” said Kort, who is fishing in his first EverStart Series tournament. “I hope to catch enough weight [Friday] to make the top ten.”
Rounding out the top five co-anglers are Darrell Hagood of Wilton (10 bass, 27 pounds, 9 ounces); Joe Patz of Peoria, Ariz. (10 bass, 26 pounds, 4 ounces); Steve Thurman of Auburn (nine bass, 25 pounds, 11 ounces); and Steve Amata of Payson, Utah (10 bass, 25 pounds, 6 ounces). Thursday’s big-bass winner in the Pro Division was Nollar who caught a 10-pound, 2-ounce bass worth $500. Gary Morris of Tracy took co-angler big-bass honors and $200 with a 9-pound, 13-ounce bass.
A total of 925 bass were caught Thursday, including 135 five-bass limits.
Anglers take off each morning from Big Break Marina in Oakley at 6:30 a.m. Friday and Saturday’s weigh-ins will be held at the Wal-Mart store located at 4893 Lone Tree Way in Antioch beginning at 3 p.m. The community is encouraged to attend daily takeoffs and weigh-ins.
Following Friday’s competition, the top 10 anglers in both divisions will advance to Saturday’s final round based on their one-day weight. Weights are cleared for Saturday’s competition as well, and anglers compete for position and prize money.
The winning pro will take home a guaranteed cash award of $7,000 plus a new Ranger 519VS Comanche equipped with Garmin electronics and powered by an Evinrude or Yamaha outboard. If the winner is the original owner of a Ranger boat, he will receive an additional $10,000 cash bonus from Ranger for a total of $58,900 in cash and prizes. Ranger will also award an additional $3,000 to the winner if he is a Ranger Cup participant, and Garmin will award $1,000 to the winner if his boat is equipped with a fixed-mount Garmin Fishfinder or combination GPS/Sounder.
The winning co-angler is guaranteed $3,600 cash. If the winning co-angler is a registered Ranger owner, he will also receive a new Ranger 519VS Comanche for a total of $26,400 in cash and prizes.
Four divisions – Eastern, Central, Northern and Western – comprise the 2003 EverStart Series. Each division stages four regular-season tournaments leading up to the no-entry-fee $335,975 EverStart Series Championship, which will be held on Old Hickory Lake near Gallatin, Tenn., Oct. 29-Nov. 1.
In EverStart Series competition, pros supply the boats, control boat movement and fish from the front of each boat against other pros. Co-anglers fish from the back of each boat and compete against other co-anglers.
FLW Outdoors, the world’s leading marketer of competitive fishing, administers the EverStart Series. Other FLW Outdoors-sanctioned tournament trails include the Wal-Mart FLW Tour, the Wal-Mart Bass Fishing League, the Wal-Mart Texas Tournament Trail, the Wal-Mart RCL Walleye Tour and the Wal-Mart RCL Walleye League. FLW Outdoors will award as much as $20 million through 175 tournaments in 2003.
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. For a complete list of FLW Outdoors sponsors and for more information about the premier products and services they offer, please visit FLWOutdoors.com.