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Jasper Texas & Hastings Minnesota Take Top Honor's At Rayburn EverStart
By Ed Snyder

Operation Bass-EverStart Series-Central Division
"I highly recommend that you invest your time in this fine tournament organization, Robert Royal stated to the crowd of spectators who were watching the EverStart weigh-in at the Jasper TX, Wal-Mart SuperCenter, as the Vidor TX, angler began to step down from the weighing his catch, he further praised the EverStart tournament circuit with, "these people can provide what dreams are made of, "stick with them". And with that "heart-felt" comment the spectator crowd of friends, family, and tournament on-lookers applauded the final moments of Wal-Mart's 1999, Operation Bass EverStart Tournament for Lake Sam Rayburn..... "Another Class Act Folks".

Tournament Re-Cap;
(Day-1)-April 14- Twenty States are represented within the ranks of the 314 anglers who arrive to fish the Central Division circuit of the EverStart Tournament series. As the teamed Pro/Boater & Co/Boater anglers launch into the 1st day of competition, they were to be buffeted with the predicted severe pre-front thunderstorms, gusting rains, and dangerous winds. Shane Allman of Sam Rayburn TX, managed to take the 1st-day Pro-lead with a 5 bass/15.6 lb catch and La Porte TX, Co-Angler, Ronald Bates, notched his lead with a 5 bass/13.14 lb catch.

(Day-2)-April 15-(Cancelled)- Due to post-front Gale-Force winds of 35 to 40 strong northwesterlies, the 2nd day of the two day top 30 cut was cancelled for safety reasons. The Pro/Boater & Co-Boater anglers who had finished in the top-30 positions on day-1 were now qualified to compete for the top-10 cut of day-3 competition.

(Day-3)-April 16-(New day-New weights)- With the top 30 teams now competing for the top 10 slots they were launched into calmer waters for the early start, but were soon being buffeted by 15 to 20 mph "blue-Birds" as the high pressure cold-front would "numb" the bass bite making it difficult to catch any "weighted" limits. Todd Faircloth of Jasper TX, managed to gain the lead for the Pro/Boater division with a 5 bass/14.10 lb catch & Evadale TX, angler, Rusty Clark took the Co/Boater lead with a 5 bass/10.15 lb weight.

The EverStart tournament series provides a "really neat" format for all anglers to enjoy as you are given a choice of a Pro-entry-(which allows you to maintain control of the boat as well as earning a heavier payback)- or- options for the Co-entry level-( which puts you at the back of the boat where you can take advantage of having a Pro-Angler "OJT" some of his finesse skills that will help you to advance to the pro-level)-this unique format is what dreams are made of, as any angler-(male or female)-are given some serious experiences in the field of bass tournaments. "And make some money too" as the EverStart events payout $129,100 "CASH" per tournament as well as awarding a fully rigged Ranger Bass Boat for the #1 Pro/Win. The top 10 finishers of each division will also be given a priority up-grade to the National Level of the FLW Tournament series for a chance at winning some "Really Serious-Money". "But First", they would have to survive the first three days of the tournament to make the final cuts for surviving (Day-Four).

(Day-Four)-April 17-(New Day-New Weights)-(Pay-Day)- Coolish temps merged with light & variable winds to "becalm" a previously wind ravaged Lake Sam Rayburn. And as the top 10 teamed EverStart anglers launched into the final day of the tournament, this was to be "show & tell" day for the top anglers who had managed to best the original field of 314 anglers who had fished for the same reasons as they, "to-win", but even now, after they had made it to the final moments, it would still be a difficult win as they had to overcome the high pressure cold-front that had settled in, putting the bass on "lock-jaw" patterns, and to make things even "tuffer" mid-morning winds decided to "re-gust" the lake area. Only those who had strong finesse skills could manage to "pull the rabbit" for winning this prestigious bass tournament event. And not until after the final bass were weighed, tallied, and tabulated by the EverStart weigh-in team would they then be able to relax and enjoy their final accolade's.

Those of us who spend a lot of time with tournaments will always chuckle at the site of two main players who may be standing at the holding tanks, as they check out each others weigh-in bag to see who might have "the" winning weight. And as the final two Pro/Anglers waited to take their turns at the weigh-in stage, Todd Faircloth from Jasper TX, and Bradley Stringer of Huntington TX, eyeballed each others bag of bass, and "wondered". Brad was first to weigh as he digitized a 5 bass/11.4 lb catch which quickly positioned him "temporarily" in a 1st place position. "But", as Todd was finally called to the stage with his sack, all eyes strained to see, but it was just too close to call until Tournament Director, Jerry Stackley announced, "folks, he has 5 bass/13.0 lbs, and before Stackley could even announce Todd Faircloth as the Pro-winner, his hometown crowd went absolutely "banana's" as the popular Jasper TX, Pro brought home the top honor for the Pro-division win, which would also pay him a $10,000 check "and" the keys to a fully rigged Ranger 461/Evinrude 150 Bass Boat valued at $25,000.

"I give credits to my Skeeter/Yamaha for getting me here, stated the Dawson Marine Pro/Staff angler, "and the Erhardt Fishing sticks with Quantum reels spooled with Berkely BG-20# mono. The first day I concentrated on working shad patterned Bomber Fat-Free shads, Todd informed, adding that he was fishing Mid-Lake inside grass-lines in 10'-12' water. "The second day was canceled, Todd reviewed, "so I kept with the crank-bait pattern on the 3rd day as I also used a Norman Little-N's for catching my fish in the same area. "Today, Todd re-capped, "I mainly used carolina rigged watermelon/pumpkin Riverside lizards in the same area, which really helped me to catch the bigger fish. Todd Faircloth would average 10 keeper bass a day to win this event as well as the "braggin' rights" to one of the "tuffest" EverStart Tournament events yet.

"Mid-lake creekbends, announced Bradley Stringer of Huntington TX, as he told of using carolina rigged Gambler pumpkin lizards and white/chartreuse Hawg-Hustler spinner baits while fishing the outside-edges of the bends. "I also used chartreuse/green Norman Little-N cranks to catch my 5 bass/11.4 lb weight. Bradley Stringer managed to nab the 2nd place Pro-Division mark for a $10,000 paycheck.

"I stuck with my Carolina rig all three days, explained Scott Donahoe, a Hastings MN, angler who had just won the 1st place position for the Co/Angler division. "Scott also informed that he mainly fished upper and mid-lake outside weedlines and 2ndary points with Baby Brush-Hogs in pumpkin colors as he worked the ditches and drains. Scott would manage a final day catch of 4 bass/7.0 lbs to take the #1 spot for the non-boaters that would put a $5,000 check in his tackle-pack.

All bass were live released by the Everstart Fish recovery crew with 40 bass weighing 77.3 lbs for the Pro/Anglers and 19 bass weighing 36.13 lbs for the Co/Anglers.
For more information on this, as well as other Operation Bass/Wal-Mart tournament events contact Operation Bass at (501)-631-7263.

Top 10 Pro/Anglers-
1-TODD FAIRCLOTH, JASPER, TX----------------5/13.0 10,000.00-35,000-Ranger
3-LEE KNIGHT, MINEOLA, TX----------------------4/9.12 9000.00
4-STEPHEN JOHNSTON, HEMPHILL, TX--------5/8.11 8000.00
5-MARK PACK, MINEOLA, TX---------------------5/8.5 7000.00
6-ANDY GAIA, TOMBALL, TX----------------------5/8.1 6000.00
7-GREG CARPENTER, ROYAL, AR ------------------4/7.0 5000.00
8-SHANE ALLMAN, SAM RAYBURN, TX--------4/6.0 4500.00
9-WILLIAM WATKINS, VIDOR, TX----------------2/3.6 4000.00
10-EDWIN EVERS, DURANT, OK--------------------1/1.12 3500.00

Top 10 Co/Anglers-
1-SCOTT A DONAHOE, HASTINGS, MN----------4/7.0 5000.00
2-RICK HOLLINGSWORTH, ZAVALLA, TX------2/6.14 2750.00
3-RUSTY CLARK, EVADALE, TX--------------------4/5.8 2250.00
4-MICHAEL TRPKOSH, RICHARDSON, TX------3/4.13 2000.00
5-HARLEY WILSON, BECKVILLE, TX--------------1/3.10 1800.00
6-RODNEY HOWARD, LEESVILLE, LA-------------2/3.9 1600.00
7-LINDY HADLEY, DALLAS, TX---------------------2/3.2 1500.00
8-ROBERT ROYAL, VIDOR, TX-----------------------1/2.5 1400.00
9-Jerry Huntley, BaytownTX------------------------0-0 1300
10-Robert A. Whittle, Freeport TX ----------------0-0 1200

1st Place Pro - Todd Faircloth (Left)

Overall Pro Big Bass - Ted Capra

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