Truax, who has only fished one full season on the EverStart Series, seems to be very comfortable on Sam Rayburn. At last year’s event, he finished fourth. Truax caught a solid limit every day of the tournament to eventually pull off the victory.
“To be honest, I didn’t think I had enough to win,” Truax said. “I figured I had enough to finish about fourth like I did last year, but the other anglers just didn’t catch the fish like they did yesterday.
“I was working on two patterns all week. I would start off with a Carolina rig and work the inside grass line on points in about 6 to 8 feet of water. Then later in the day I would flip a Zoom Ultra Vibe in the pockets in shallower water. I was getting one really good fish every day, but today I didn’t catch a big one. That’s why I thought I wouldn’t win. But it ended up being enough.”
Rounding out the top five pros were Lendell Martin Jr. of Nacogdoches (10 bass, 28 pounds, 5 ounces); Larry Lovell of Emory (10 bass, 27 pounds, 14 ounces); Bobby Curtis of Siloam Spring, Ark. (10 bass, 27 pounds, 13 ounces); and Lloyd Pickett Jr. (10 bass, 26 pounds).
In the Co-angler Division, the domination by Arkansans continued through the final day. Daniel Armstrong of Fayetteville, Ark., caught a two-day total of nine bass weighing 25 pounds, 11 ounces to win the tournament and the $5,000 first-place prize. Armstrong, who had ended each of the first three days in second place, finally got over the hump and came out on top.
“Today was actually my toughest day,” Armstrong said. “My pro partner (Lendell Martin Jr.) wasn’t on the same pattern that I fished all week. I was fishing creek channels with grass with a Carolina rig. But he was fishing a lot shallower. So I would just cast to the deepest water I could find all day and caught enough to win it.”
Frank Divis Sr., also of Fayetteville, Ark., finished with a two-day total of eight bass weighing 24 pounds, 11 ounces to finish behind Armstrong by exactly 1 pound. Bill Gift of Alix, Ark., weighed in a two-day total of eight bass good for 21 pounds, 10 ounces.
Mark Everett of Tyler (eight bass, 20 pounds, 2 ounces) and Stephen Francis of Brookeland (eight bass, 19 pounds, 8 ounces) rounded out the top five.
Anglers caught 69 bass Saturday, including 8 five-bass limits, for a total of 177 pounds, 15 ounces. Every bass in the four-day tournament was weighed alive.
Truax also won the $3,000 Ranger Cup prize, the $1,500 Powered by Yamaha Award and the $1,000 Garmin award for meeting the requirements for those contingency awards.
The full field competed for two days to determine the top 20 pros and 20 co-anglers who advanced to Friday’s semifinal round based on their two-day accumulated weight. Weights were cleared for the semifinal round, and anglers competed for one day to determine who advances to Saturday’s final round. Only the top 10 pros and 10 co-anglers competed Saturday, and the winner was determined by the heaviest two-day weight.
The winning pro was guaranteed $10,000 cash plus an Evinrude- or Yamaha-powered Ranger 519 VS equipped with Garmin electronics, a Minn Kota trolling motor and EverStart Batteries. If the winner is the original owner of a Ranger boat, he will receive a $10,000 bonus from Ranger for a top pro award worth $61,900. If he is a qualifying participant in the Ranger Cup incentive program, Ranger will award another $3,000 cash (or $1,500 to the highest-finishing Ranger Cup participant if not the winner), and Yamaha will match 50 percent of Ranger Cup winnings if the angler’s boat is powered by a Yamaha outboard. Garmin will award the winning pro $1,000 if he uses only Garmin electronics and at least one unit is a qualifying unit.
The winning co-angler was guaranteed $5,000 cash, and if he is a Ranger boat owner, Ranger will award him a new Ranger 519 VS for a total prize package worth $35,000. Co-anglers who make the final round of each regular-season EverStart Series event and wear an EverStart/Evinrude shirt and cap on stage are awarded points toward the EverStart Batteries and Evinrude Outboard Engines Co-angler Award. The co-angler receiving the most points by the end of the season receives a 2004 Evinrude 225HO Direct Injection outboard engine rigged on a Ranger boat equipped with a Minn Kota trolling motor and EverStart batteries.
The EverStart Series features a pro/co-angler format with pros supplying the boats, fishing from the front deck against other pros and controlling boat movement. Co-anglers fish from the back deck and compete against other co-anglers. Every angler who receives weight credit in a tournament earns points that determine angler standings. Two hundred points are awarded to the winner, 199 points for second, 198 points for third, and so on.
Designed as a pathway to the $6.8 million Wal-Mart FLW Tour, the world’s most lucrative bass-tournament series, the EverStart Series features four divisions – Eastern, Central, Northern and Western – with four regular-season events each. The season culminates with the $335,975 EverStart Series Championship, which will be held Nov. 3-6 on Lake Cumberland near Somerset, Ky. The event will be broadcast to 65 million subscribers of the Outdoor Life Network on the “FLW Outdoors” television series. Central Division anglers who finish in the top 40 in the final points standings are eligible to compete in the championship.
Named after the legendary founder of Ranger Boats, Forrest L. Wood, FLW Outdoors is the world’s leading marketer of competitive fishing. FLW Outdoors-sanctioned tournament trails are the Wal-Mart FLW Tour, EverStart Series, Wal-Mart Bass Fishing League, Wal-Mart Texas Tournament Trail, Wal-Mart RCL Walleye Tour and Wal-Mart RCL Walleye League. EverStart Batteries, the best-selling batteries in the world, are marketed exclusively by Wal-Mart stores.
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