GAINESVILLE, Ga. – Ryan Coleman of Flowery Branch, Ga., tapped into his Lake Lanier guiding experience to win the 2006 CITGO Bassmaster Southern Tour event on Lake Lanier on Saturday.

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.