Taylor’s catch rivals two of the best-known professional records – 108 pounds, 12 ounces on 20 bass caught by Yamaha pro Dean Rojas in 2001 at Lake Toho and 83 pounds, 5 ounces on 15 bass caught by Byron Velvick in 2000 at Clear Lake. Rojas’ record came in a four-day event with a five-bass limit per day. Velvick’s record came in a three-day event with a five-bass limit per day. Taylor’s tournament catch of 16 bass – four-bass limit per day – weighing 94 pounds, 11 ounces beats both Rojas and Velvick in average weight per bass – approximately 5 pounds, 15 ounces per fish.
The event was certainly one for the record books. Taylor is the first EverStart Series pro to lead an event wire to wire. Furthermore, his total tournament weight is unofficially the heaviest in EverStart Series history. The fishing was absolutely spectacular. During the course of the event, tournament officials estimate more than 100 bass of 7 pounds or better were weighed. Numerous 9-pounders were caught along with a handful of 10-pounders and one largemouth weighing 11 pounds, 2 ounces.
“I’m on top of the world right now,” said Taylor, who was fishing in his first EverStart Series event. “I really can’t even think straight.
“At the beginning of day one, we pulled up on a spot and my co-angler started out-fishing me. He was throwing a shad-colored Lucky Craft Pointer. So I tied one on, started ripping it pretty hard and started wearing the fish out. I stuck with that pattern and the same general area for the entire tournament.”
Rounding out the top-five pros were Jimmy Walker of Alpine (eight bass, 40 pounds, 13 ounces); Fred Rex of San Jose (eight bass, 36 pounds, 7 ounces); Jimmy Reese of Witter Springs (eight bass, 33 pounds, 2 ounces); and Jerry Ballesteros of Burbank (eight bass, 31 pounds).
Reese was the highest finishing Ranger Cup participant and earned $1,500.
Kyle Clement of Anderson caught a two-day total of eight bass weighing 36 pounds, 6 ounces to win the Co-angler Division, earning a Ranger 519 VX and $4,925 cash. The 23-year-old co-angler fished with Taylor on day four.
“I was ripping a jerkbait twice as fast and twice as hard as anyone else,” said Clement, who caught a five-bass limit weighing more than 40 pounds in a local tournament on Clear Lake last Sunday. “I just tried to match the color of the bait to the shad.”
Rounding out the top-five co-anglers are Ron Mace of Kennewick, Wash. (eight bass, 29 pounds, 11 ounces); Gary Key of Phoenix, Ariz. (eight bass, 23 pounds, 12 ounces); Kirk Beardsley of Huntington Beach (eight bass, 21 pounds, 8 ounces); and Greg Giacomazza of Spanish Fork, Utah (eight bass, 19 pounds, 7 ounces).
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.
The next EverStart Series Western Division event will be held April 6-9 at Lake Mead near Henderson, Nev.