The catch gave him the win by a solid 3-pound, 13-ounce margin over Clayton Meyer of San Diego, Calif., who caught a total of 20 bass weighing 49-4 and earned $42,858.
“I didn’t know if I had enough to win,” said Weyer, who increased his FLW Outdoors earnings to more than $121,000 with his win. “I lost a couple of key fish that could have allowed me to win by a lot more.”
Weyer opened the tournament in ninth place Wednesday with five bass weighing 13-15 that he caught using a Carolina rig tipped with a five-inch green pumpkin Zoom lizard as well as a Yamamoto green pumpkin tube while fishing 50 miles downriver from Columbia Point Marina. On Thursday he added another five bass weighing 15-2 using the same techniques to capture his lead. He then caught five bass weighing 14-8 on Friday to make the crucial top 10 cut in first place. On Saturday he sealed his victory with the Carolina rig.
Weyer and Meyer fished in the same area so close together they could speak to each other, but each angler focused on his specific strengths in the area. Weyer focused on fishing the tube shallow early in the morning and moved out further on the rockpiles as the day progressed and the fish reacted to fishing pressure. Meyer focused his efforts on fish he had found shallow. Neither angler intruded on the other’s space, but the old friends kept a close eye on each other during the last day of the tournament. Together, they pulled more than 102 pounds of smallmouth from the same area over the course of the tournament.
“Jason Hickey was there in the same spot as well,” Weyer said. “So was Gabe Bolivar and Mike Knight. Hickey’s such a much better smallmouth fisherman than I am. I really thought he was going to be a strong contender in this one. But I just got lucky and caught the right fish, I guess.”
Weyer said he is planning to fish more FLW Series Western Division events and is setting his sights on qualifying for the FLW Tour.
“The FLW Series and the National Guard have put together the most awesome circuit anywhere in the nation,” Weyer said. “FLW Outdoors really runs the best tournaments in America.”
Rounding out the top five pros are Neil Russell of Nampa, Idaho (20 bass, 48-10, $34,287); Andre Moore of Alabaster, Ala. (20 bass, 48-9, $25,715) and Jason Hickey of Weiser, Idaho (20 bass, 46-11, $17,142).
John Neudorfer of Spokane, Wash., caught the biggest bass of the tournament in the Pro Division Friday – a 5-pound, 7-ounce smallmouth – that earned him the day’s Snickers Big Bass award of $428.
Overall there were 49 bass weighing 99 pounds, 2 ounces caught by 10 pros Saturday. The catch included nine five-bass limits.
Team National Guard co-angler Justin Lucas of Folsom, Calif., won the Co-angler Division and $25,000 Friday with a three-day total of 15 bass weighing 34 pounds, 8 ounces followed by Brian Stafford of Fairfield, Calif., in second place with 13 bass weighing 29-00 worth $8,943.
Lucas opened the tournament in 16th place Wednesday with five bass weighing 10-6 while fishing with pro Del Orton of Boise, Idaho. On Thursday he jumped to second place on the strength of a five-bass catch weighing 11-14 while fishing with pro Calvin Clark of John Day, Ore. He wrapped up the win Friday with a five-bass catch weighing 12-4 while fishing with pro Brett Leber of Dixon, Calif.
“It is such an honor to be up here,” said Lucas, who increased his FLW Outdoors earnings to more than $67,000 with the win. “It is so hard to win one of these things.”
Lucas spoke with Leber on Thursday night and said he would prefer to throw a Carolina rig during his final day of competition. Leber agreed to help Lucas out, and Lucas quickly caught a two-pound bass, followed by a four-pounder, and filled his limit by 9:30 a.m. Lucas said he caught nine keepers throughout the day and focused on fewer — but quality — bites in pursuit of the win.
Lucas targeted rockpiles in current in the edges of the river channel. The Carolina rig tipped with a creature bait and Berkley fluorocarbon line proved to be just the ticket to Lucas’ first FLW Series win.
“Yesterday I said if I won this tournament, it was going to be for the National Guard, and I dedicate this win to the National Guard and all of the troops overseas,” Lucas said. “So this one’s for you guys.”
Rounding out the top five co-anglers are Edgar Uyema of West Hills, Calif. (14 bass, 29-7, $8,048); Christopher Ricci of Bend, Ore. (15 bass, 26-14, $7,154) and Wade Headrick of Draper, Utah (15 bass, 26-13, $6,259).
FLW Outdoors historically maintains a 98 percent live release rate in all of its bass tournaments.
Coverage of the Columbia River FLW Series tournament, which featured 173 pros and 173 co-anglers representing 17 states, Canada and Japan, will be broadcast to 81 million FSN (Fox Sports Net) subscribers in the United States as part of the “FLW Outdoors” television program airing Nov. 18. “FLW Outdoors” airs Sunday mornings at 11 Eastern time. “FLW Outdoors” is also broadcast internationally to approximately 350 million households in Europe, Africa and Asia, making it the most widely distributed weekly fishing program in the world. Additionally, FLW Outdoors is proud to provide tournament coverage to more than 800,000 servicemembers stationed around the world in 177 countries and aboard Navy ships through broadcasts on the American Forces Network.
The next FLW Series National Guard Western Division tournament, hosted by Konocti Harbor Resort & Spa, will be held Oct. 24-27 on Clear Lake in Kelseyville, Calif. Boats will launch from Konocti Harbor Resort & Spa in Kelseyville and the final weigh-in will be held at the Wal-Mart located at 15960 Dam Rd. in Clearlake.
After four qualifying events are complete in the National Guard Western Division, the top 30 pros and 30 co-anglers will advance to the BP East-National Guard West Fishoff Jan. 17-19, 2008, where they will face the top 30 pros and 30 co-anglers from the BP Eastern Division for a shot at advancing to the $2 million, 2008 Forrest Wood Cup. The winning pro at the Forrest Wood Cup will earn as much as $1 million – the sport’s biggest award.
Named after the legendary founder of Ranger Boats, Forrest L. Wood, FLW Outdoors administers the Wal-Mart FLW Tour, Wal-Mart FLW Series, Stren Series, Wal-Mart Bass Fishing League, Wal-Mart Texas Tournament Trail presented by Abu Garcia, Ranger Owners Tournament Championship Series, Wal-Mart FLW Walleye Tour, Wal-Mart FLW Walleye League, Wal-Mart FLW Kingfish Tour, Wal-Mart FLW Kingfish Series, Wal-Mart FLW Redfish Series and Wal-Mart FLW Striper Series. These circuits offer combined purses of nearly $43 million through 241 events in 2007.
Wal-Mart and many of America’s largest and most-respected companies support FLW Outdoors and its tournament trails. Wal-Mart signed on as an FLW Outdoors sponsor in 1997 and today is the world’s leading supporter of tournament fishing. For more information about Wal-Mart, visit Walmart.com.
For more information about FLW Outdoors and its tournaments, visit FLWOutdoors.com or call (270) 252-1000. ###