Oklahoma native carries day-three momentum into final round
WAGONER, Okla. — Sam Newby, a 37-year-old general contractor from Pocola, Okla., topped nine of the nation's best pro anglers Saturday on Fort Gibson Lake, winning $10,000 and an Evinrude- or Johnson-powered Ranger bass boat in the final Central Division EverStart Batteries Series tournament of 2000.
Newby, who also led the semifinal round, caught 17 pounds, 2 ounces of bass on the final day of the tournament to claim victory in the Pro Division. He caught his five-bass limit by flipping a jig around logs and brush in a creek that he had set aside early in the tournament.
“Winning is just indescribable,” Newby said. “I was pretty confident though. I knew fishing was a little tough, and I had a place that I've fished for several years that was not getting any pressure. I caught a few bass there earlier, but I tried to save it for today.”
Taking second through fifth in the Pro Division were Jim Criswell of Del Rio, Texas, with five bass weighing 14-5 worth $10,000; Tommy Thompson of Locus Grove, Okla., with four bass weighing 12-5 worth $9,000; Taylor Hutchings of Phoenix, with five bass weighing 11-4 worth $8,000; and Joel Baker of Talala, Okla., with five bass weighing 9-7 worth $7,000.
Pro Lucy Mize of Ben Lomond, Ark., the only women to qualify for the final round, finished ninth with three bass weighing 5-3. To qualify, she caught five bass weighing 12-2 during Friday's semifinal round and finished the day in third place.
Tom Haynes, 49, of Tulsa, Okla., claimed first place in the Co-Angler Division and collected $6,000 with five bass weighing 14 pounds.
“The tournament was absolutely great,” said Haynes, who was fishing his first EverStart Tournament. “The pros I fished with were really good people. They were real conscientious and helped me out. As far as pro-am tournaments go, it is the best one I've ever fished.”
Finishing second through fifth in the Co-Angler Division were John Carlile of Broken Arrow, Okla., with four bass weighing 11-14 worth $3,500; Clay Campbell of Owasso, Okla., with four bass weighing 11-4 worth $3,000; Todd Cox of Wagoner, Okla., with three bass weighing 9-4 worth $2,500; and Joe Glover of Guy, Ark., with one bass weighing 3-6 worth $2,000.
The tournament began Wednesday morning with 175 professional anglers and 175 co-anglers taking off from Taylors Ferry North marina to claim a piece of the event's $164,000 purse. After two elimination rounds, however, only 10 anglers remained in each division for Saturday's finale.
Now in its third year, the EverStart Series is comprised of two divisions, Eastern and Central, with four multi-day events per division. The top 75 pros and top 75 co-anglers from each division will advance to the year-end EverStart Invitational Challenge at Cypress Gardens, Fla., which features a purse of $360,000.
Over the course of the season, the EverStart Series awards anglers up to $1.7 million in cash and prizes. It also provides a pathway to the prestigious Wal-Mart FLW Tour, the richest tournament series in history. Winning anglers in the Pro and Co-Angler Divisions of each EverStart tournament, as well as the overall top 10 anglers, based on a system of points and pounds, receive priority entry in the 2001 FLW Tour.