Coleman, 39, captured his first BASS win with 36 pounds, 10 ounces of spotted bass, a three-day total that was nearly 3 pounds more than his closest competitor, Mathew Wilbanks of Gainesville, Ga.
“This is just incredible,” said Coleman. “I never thought I would have won with what I caught today.” His Saturday catch was 8-5, but his 28-5 weight over the first two days of the tournament carried him through to earn about $25,000 in cash and a Triton boat rig with Mercury outboard worth $45,000.
Coleman said he caught his five-fish limit by drop-shotting with a Spotsticker prototype worm made by D&G Spotsticker Baits. He said he concentrated on standing timber about 40 feet down.
Wilbanks, 33, climbed steadily into second from his Day 1 finish of 21st and Day 2 finish of fifth. His three-day total was 33-13. Like most of his fellow Georgia competitors, Wilbanks said he fished a drop shot rig in water 25 to 45 feet deep.
Trent Gober, 33, of Pendergrass, Ga., took third place with a three-day total of 32-4. Casey Ashley, 22, of Donalds, S.C., finished fourth with 31-13. In fifth was Paul Marks of Cumming, Ga., with 29 pounds, 13 ounces.
In the co-angler division, the top prize of a Triton boat package valued at $30,000 was won by Shaun Mulhall, 33, of McDonough, Ga. A branch manager of a wholesale distribution company, Mulhall brought only one fish to the scales on Saturday, but it brought his three-day total up to 17-1. Mulhall, who led on Day 2, held off Ron Cochran of Maysville, Ga., who finished in second place with 15-11. Cochran led the co-angler division on the first day, fell to 10th on the second day, then recovered nicely for the runner-up spot.
Rounding out the top five co-anglers were Mark Richard of Bridge City, La., with 14-13; Sam Moss of Ackerman, Miss., with 14-9; and Nathan Smith of Gillsville, Ga., with 13-14.
The Lake Lanier stop was the final of five events on the 2006 CITGO Bassmaster Southern Tour.
For more information, contact BASS Communications at (407) 566-2208 or visit www.Bassmaster.com.