Lakecaster Online

David Truax hits a Home Run at EverStart on Sam Rayburn
By Patty Lenderman

"It's a miracle", David Truax began when he was crowned champion of the $265,825 EverStart Series Central Division event on Sam Rayburn February 25-28. There was a full field of 200 competitors in each division, professional and amateur. A four day fish off divided into two rounds. Twice the field is cut, the first cut after two days to only 20 anglers per division. Then the weights are zeroed going into the third day. Only the top 10 in each division would fish the 4th and final day.

Four hundred anglers, 200 in each division brought their sacks to the weigh in the first two days at Twin Dikes Marina hoping to make the first cut. During practice the weather had been warm and nice, and water temps were on the rise pushing the bass to the shallow water. It all changed when the tournament started. Cold, rainy, nasty weather put anglers from all over the country on their toes to keep up with the changing bite pattern.

Top Pro's first cut included 1st place Bradley Stringer of Huntington, TX with a two day total stringer of 38-3. This was almost a full 6 lbs over the second place contender Lloyd Pickett Jr. of Bartlett TN with 32-14 lbs. The last to make the first cut in the Pro division was Rusty Clark of Buna, TX with 23-2.

In the Co-angler division, Frank Divis Sr of Fayettville AR brought in a two day catch of 35-0 lbs, putting him in 1st place going into the second round. He had almost a five pound lead over 2nd place, Daniel Armstrong also of Fayettville AR. It took 15-0 lbs for a two day total to make the cut, brought in by James Reynolds of Eastview TX in 20th place.

21st thru 60th place anglers in each division received a check for their finish in the first round. It took a two day total of 17-12 lbs in the pro division to make a check and 10-0 lbs in the Co-angler division.

The first two days were rainy and overcast, lending to a terrific show of fish at the scales. Coming into day 3, with high pressure centered overhead and blue bird skies, it was a lot harder for these anglers to put the bass on the end of their line. Only 10 from each division would go on to fish the final day.

Top 5 Pro's day 3:
1st 17-9 lbs Lloyd Pickett Jr Bartlett, TN
2nd 16-3 lbs Lendell Martin Jr Nacogdoches, TX
3rd 16-1 lbs Bradley Stringer Huntington, TX
4th 15-8 lbs David Truax Beaumont, TX
5th 13-14 lbs Slade Deerman Sam Rayburn, TX

Top 5 Co-Anglers day 3:
1st 13-11 lbs Darren Roberts Nacogdoches, TX
2nd 13-6 lbs Daniel Armstrong Fayettevelle, AR
3rd 12-6 lbs Bill Gift Alix, AR
4th 11-8 lbs Frank Divis Sr Fayetteville, AR
5th 8-10 lbs Scotty Villines Compton, AR

Going into the final day, the anglers were trying to figure out their strategy. Changing weather patterns and water temps lowering, the bass were not settled on a single pattern. With all the rain that had come in, many fishing areas were very muddied.

For the final weigh in, the anglers were brought to the stage in order from 10th place standings on day 3 to 1st, Co-anglers weighing in first. As each anglers two day total brought them to top weight standings, they were held on stage to sweat it out as the next angler brought their black bag of fish to the scales, being weighed one at a time. Daniel Armstrong of Fayetteville, AR had maintained a second place position for the first three days of competition, then launched into 1st place on the final day with his two day total of 25-11 lbs. "I didn't think I could do it" this first time Everstart competitor stated. "I knew the cold water would back the fish off, so I used back home deep water techniques and threw a carolina rig all week. I think it was the green pumpkin and watermelon cancy colors that did the trick. I have had some really great pro partners that were on fish all week. We each did our own thing. I did what I know best and so did they. My fish were in creek channels. Any time I could find a bend in the creek, that's where I would throw and found my fish there."

Rounding out the top 10 Co-Anglers:
1st $5,000 25-11 Daniel Armstrong Fayetteville, AR
2nd $4,000 24-11 Frank Divis Sr Fayetteville, AR
3rd $3,500 21-10 Bill Gift Alix, AR
4th $2,500 20-2 Mark Everett Tyler, TX
5th $2,000 19-8 Stephen Francis Brookland, TX
6th $1,900 16-10 Darren Roberts Nacogdoches, TX
7th $1,800 16-1 Ronny Webb Dyersburg, TN
8th $1,700 8-15 Charlie Porter Malvern, AR
9th $1,600 8-10 Scotty Villines Compton, AR
10th $1,500 6-0 William Campbell Monticello, IL

Then the Pro's were brought to the scales in the same order, 10th-1st, again as each one achieved the best weight were held on stage to watch as the next competitor brought their sack to the scales. David Truax was in boat #4, and brought in over 14 lbs to take the lead. He nervously watched as three other anglers who had more weight than he did coming into the final day brought in their catch, weighing them one by one. When the final weights were tallied, David was declared the winner by a full 2 lbs! "I was ready to hit a home run" he said once the tally was final. "I was fishing for 20 lbs, but didn't even get close to it. I figured I might finish in 5th. I've been successful on this lake for many years, and have been fishing full time for the last four years. This is my biggest career win." David threw a watermelon red Zoom lizard as well as an Ultra Vibe Speed Craw. "I fished a milk run on the north end, hitting about 11-12 spots." Throwing his carolina rig in 8' depths targeting staged fish off of main lake points, he flipped the bushes in pockets with his craw for the rest. David also is the original owner of a Ranger Boat, so he won the Ranger Cup incentives as well as Yamaha, Garmin electronics, for a total winning with cash and prizes of $65,000.

Rounding out the top 10 Pro's:
1st $10,000 + Ranger Comanche 30-5 David Truax Beaumont, TX
2nd $!0,000 28-5 Lendell Martin Jr Nacogdoches, TX
3rd $9,000 27-14 Larry Lovell Emory, TX
4th $8,000 27-13 Bobby Curtis Siloam Springs, AR
5th $7,500 26-0 Lloyd Pickett Jr Bartlett, TN
6th $6,500 24-14 Gerrit Tepastte Allendale, MI
7th $5,500 23-4 Chad Griffin Cresson, TX
8th $5,000 22-11 Bradley Stringer Huntington, TX
9th $4,500 16-4 Chris Luedtke Chisago City, MN
10th $4,000 13-14 Slade Deerman Sam Rayburn, TX

Throughout the event, so many of these participants, some as far away as Minnesota, reminded the crowd and the rest of the anglers how lucky we are to have such a fantastic fishery. Many
complimented Texas Parks & Wildlife for their fisheries management, stating that other states would do well to take notes from their accomplishments in our lakes.

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.

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.

In the Pro Division, David Truax brought in the final winning 1st place weight good for a cash/prizes purse payday of $65,000

David Truax is crowned champion in the Pro division at the Everstart Central Division on Sam Rayburn
< photos by Patty Lenderman >

2nd place Pro Lendell Martin bested 198 other competitors in his division for his final finish

In the Co angler division, Daniel Armstrong took 1st place in his first Everstart event

2nd place Co angler Frank Divis shows one of his final day catch

Back to Lakecaster Online contents