Lakecaster Online

"Welcome" Toledo Everstart Anglers
By Ed Snyder

Ed Snyder

The week of February 10, thru the 14, of 1999, will provide some exceptional fishing competition for Lake Toledo Bend watchers as 142 co-anglers (non-boaters) and 168 pro-anglers (boaters) will be scooting the 187,000 acres of Big T's waterways to "hopefully" catch enough weight to win a portion of the $129,100 offered in cash & prizes. Everstart, an offspring of the Wal-Mart National FLW tour, operates under the banner of Operation Bass, which puts on the Redman tournament circuits as well as the Wal-Mart sponsored Everstart event, which will be providing the base of tournament operations from the Many LA, Wal-Mart store.

"This is how it works", day one and two competi

tion (Feb, 10, 11) will be weighed-in at 2:30 p:m:, at the Cypress Bend Marina Complex on Lake Toledo Bend, as the entry field of anglers are whittled down to the top 30 Co-anglers (non-boaters) and top 30 pro's (boaters)after two days of competition.

Day 3 (Feb, 13)"a clean slate" as the top 30 anglers will be fishing for new weights which will be weighed-in at the Cypress Bend facillity at 2:30 p:m:. The tournament field is "once again" whittled down as the top 10 Co-anglers and top 10 pro-anglers of the 3rd day of competition advance to a 4th day of competition. A clean slate will again require the final day anglers to catch new weights as their tournament results (Saturday-Feb, 14) will then be trailered to the parking lot of the Wal-Mart store in Many LA, where they will weigh-in their final efforts at 3:30 p:m: for winning the top honors of the Toledo Bend Everstart tournament. (The winners of the four day event will also be given a priority entry into the Wal-Mart FLW tour.)

The February 10, 11, 13, tournament day weigh-ins, to be held out at the Cypress Bend complex at the lake, are sceduled for 2:30 p:m: each day, with the final day (Feb, 14-saturday) weigh-in being held at 3:30 p:m: on the parking lot of the Many Wal-Mart store. "ALL" tournament days are "open and free" to the public who would like to attend the weigh-in operations to help cheer on their favorite tournament anglers.

This "Major" tournament will draw a national entry listing from far and wide as over 18 states will be represented with vehicle tag logo's from the West, Southwest, Midwest, South, Southeast, and "Back East" as salt cedar, gravel, and wild rice anglers arrive to shake hands with Toledo Bend's hydrilla gorilla.

"I plan to give the youngsters a run for their money, stated 59 year old Robert Urfer, of New Philadelphia, Ohio, as he informed that this will be the first time that he has ever been to Lake Toledo Bend, but plans to spend at least 10 days on the water for prefishing the Toledo Everstart prior to the tournament days. Mr Urfer also plans to fish the Anglers Choice Pro/Am, the BassMasters, and the Sam Rayburn Everstart before heading home in March. (Busy Fella')

"Fishin' Hole" television star, Jerry McKinnis, hasn't fished Big "T" since the early years of the 60's, but plans to compete in the upcoming Toledo Everstart tournament. "I'm expecting some really fantastic weigh-in's at this event, stated the Little Rock AR, resident and FLW television co-host, as he went on to inform that they wouldn't be taping the Toledo event because of a prior commitment with the FLW, but that he was really excited about being able to fish on Toledo Bend and was expecting to catch a lot of fish during the four days of competition.

"I haven't fished Toledo since 1995, stated Jack Hodges of Albuquerque N.M., as he explained how he finished a '95 tournament with a 21-lb and 20-lb weight "back then", as he hoped to do just as good this time. "I think the FLW and the Everstart tournament trails have become a real good deal for all anglers, Mr Hodges emphasized, as he went on to predict that the FLW would probably have to split into two major national circuits "because" of its extreme popularity with the tournament fishing public. "Its the best thing going, Hodges advised, before heading off to pack for his Toledo Bend trip.

"I'm, "more or less", a poor boy angler, chuckled Bruce Weller, of Hardin KY, further explaining that he really couldn't afford to fish competitively on a full-time basis, "but, Bruce went on to state, the Operation Bass organization, which puts on the Wal-Mart sponsored FLW and Everstart bass tournament circuits, provides an affordable format for guys like us "poor boys" to compete in. "Its been at least 15 years since i've fished Toledo Bend, informed the Employee training agent for Matel Toys, "but, he added, i'm expecting to have a great time at the Toledo Bend Everstart which is a stepping stone to the FLW tour.

"I moved here from Natches Mississippi last August, informed Ernie Hildebrandt, of Sam Rayburn TX, "I fished the Rayburn Everstart last year and just fell in love with this area, Ernie explained, "so I moved here to become a part of it, he informed, further stating that he has probably fished Toledo at least 20 times as he enjoys competing in the tournaments. "I feel that Toledo is probably one of the most upcoming fisheries in the country, Ernie pointed out, "as I also feel the same about the Everstart tournament series. "But for missing a Pine Bluff AR, event, I've fished all of the Everstart tournaments last year, Ernie informed, explaining that he really enjoyed the format which provided an exciting way to move up on the tournament scale. "My outllook for the Toledo Everstart anglers, Ernie advised, "would be that if they can catch at least 13 lbs a day, for the first two days, that they should be able to make the cut for the top 30 anglers, which would then give them a shot at the final day for the top ten cut of Pro and Co anglers. "I personally feel that its going to take 26 to 27 lbs to make the first cut, Ernie predicts, "with at least 14 lbs for the 2nd cut, with probably 18 or 19 lbs on the final day to win the Toledo Everstart event.

"So, there it is folks, a mile marker to start with as Ernie Hildebrandt's prediciton becomes one, of the many predicitons for what its going to take to be able to drive your expertise in front of the final day weigh-in crowds at the Wal-Mart parking lot on Saturday, February 14th. The format of this tournament tour is what makes it unique as anglers have to fish for not one, but "three" different catch weights in order to make it to the winners circle. After day one and two weigh-in, the leaderboard is then wiped clean, which gives the anglers a fresh start for day three. Then, after day three is tallied, the board is wiped clean "again", giving the final day qualifiers another fresh start for the win. What this does is to neutralize any "run of luck" catches, which avoids any tournament dominations by any one angler, giving each angler, who is skilled enough to make the grade, an even chance to advance to the top.

Don't miss this tournament folks, "as it is as exciting to watch as it is to fish". For more info on Toledo Bend camping and lodging facillities, call the (318)-256-4114 or for more info on the Operation Bass events call (502)-362-4880.

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