FLORENCE, Ala. – Kellogg’s pro Sam Newby of Pocola, Okla., earned $140,000 Saturday when he placed five bass weighing 8 pounds, 3 ounces on the scale to earn the 2005 EverStart Series Championship title by a razor thin 1-ounce margin over Gabe Bolivar of Ramona, Calif. The victory was Newby’s second 1-ounce victory in FLW Outdoors competition and his third overall. He also won the 2002 Forrest Wood Open on Lake Champlain by an ounce over Dean Rojas of Grand Saline, Texas, and pocketed $210,000. Newby’s win here pushes his career winnings to $521,531.
Newby’s two-day, final-round total of 10 bass weighing 18 pounds, 13 ounces pushed him ahead of Friday’s leader, Pedigree pro Steve Kennedy of Auburn, Ala., who earned $38,500 for finishing third with a total catch of seven bass weighing 16 pounds, 2 ounces. It also edged him past Bolivar, who earned $40,000 for finishing second with a total catch of eight bass weighing 18 pounds, 12 ounces.
“I thought I blew it on my third or fourth pitch this morning when I had a solid fish pull off,” said Newby, who trailed Kennedy and Bolivar by 1 pound, 8 ounces and 1 pound, 4 ounces, respectively, going into the final day of competition. “My grass pattern died earlier in the week, and I switched to flipping docks for the final round.”
After catching just three bass weighing 6 pounds, 8 ounces on opening day, Newby climbed from 33rd place to enter the final round as the No. 5 seed on Thursday with a total opening-round catch of seven bass weighing 18 pounds, 15 ounces. He produced another solid limit Friday to enter the final day as the No. 3 seed with five bass weighing 10 pounds, 10 ounces.
It was more of the same Saturday, as Newby continued catching bass on Pickwick Lake with a homemade 1/2-ounce jig that he was flipping to docks and grass near Pickwick Dam.
In sharp contrast to Newby’s relatively short runs each day, Bolivar made daily runs of over 90 miles one way to Bay Springs Lake in Mississippi to catch spotted bass on riprap banks with a crankbait.
Jonathan Newton of Rogersville, Ala. (six bass, 15 pounds, $31,000) and Jerry Green of Justiceburg, Texas, (three bass, 11 pounds, 5 ounces, $24,000) rounded out the top five pros.
Jerry Goble of Sherrills Ford, N.C., took top honors and $62,500 in the Co-angler Division Friday with four bass weighing 4 pounds, 8 ounces. He caught the fish on a mustard-colored handmade wooden crankbait called a Little Pig tied to 8-pound-test line. He estimates that he caught at least 100 small bass while fishing the final round with Bolivar.
“I’ve fished so many tournaments and always been a little short,” said Goble, who finished third on Lake Eufaula earlier this year. “This is the most wonderful feeling any person could have. It’s like winning the Super Bowl.”
James Chapman of Cedartown, Ga. (two bass, 3 pounds, 6 ounces, $16,500) and Mark Guin of Crossett, Ark. (one bass, 12 ounces, $10,500) rounded out the top three co-anglers Friday.
Mark King of Gurdon, Ark., was presented with a new Ranger boat powered by Evinrude Saturday as the EverStart Batteries Evinrude Co-angler of the Year. He earned the award after finishing 29th in the championship Friday and amassing more points than any other co-angler in any EverStart Series Division this season.
Of the states represented in Florence this week, California had the largest contingent of anglers with 53 followed by Alabama and Michigan with 24 anglers and North Carolina with 23.