ROGERS, Ark., (Oct. 30, 1999) – Curt Lytle of Suffolk, Va., boated five bass weighing 15 pounds, 13 ounces on Beaver Lake today to win the EverStart Batteries Challenge bass championship and $45,000 in cash and prizes.
Lytle survived two elimination rounds of competition earlier this week to top a field of 150 professional anglers en route to his victory. In today’s final round, he edged out four other finalists to win $20,000 in cash and an Evinrude-powered Ranger boat. The win also gives Lytle priority entry into the $4.4 million, 2000 Wal-Mart FLW Tour – the most lucrative professional bass fishing series in history.
“This tournament has been amazing for me,” Lytle says. “I was able to catch a limit the first day. Then the second day, I was able to rest the fish I was going after, and I found a spot I’d never fished before and caught another limit.”
Lytle says he discovered a pattern that allowed him to catch a limit each day. He caught most of his fish flippen’ a jig around logs on round bends in major coves. But he caught his biggest fish of the day, a 5-pounder, flippen’ around a dock.
Preston Havens of Mountain Home, Ark., took second place and $20,000 in the championship round with a three bass stringer weighing 6 pounds, 14 ounces.
Rounding out the top five places in the Pro Division are: (3) Keith Smith of Crystal Springs, Miss., four fish, 5-15, $18,000; (4) Jack Graham of Hindsville, Ark., three fish, 2-8, $16,000; and (5) David Cooke of Davidson, N.C., one fish, 2-2, $14,000.
Frank Divis Sr. of Fayetteville, Ark., caught two bass weighing 2 pounds, 14 ounces yesterday to win the Co-Angler Division and collect $10,000.
The EverStart Batteries Series consists of eight regular season events – four in the Eastern Division and four in the Central Division – and two EverStart Challenge tournaments. The Challenge events, one per division, feature the same format as Wal-Mart FLW Tour events, where the pro and co-angler fields are cut to the top 10 after two days. Co-angler competition ends after the third day of competition, with only the top five pros competing on the final day.
Each of the EverStart Challenge events is filmed for a future television segment that will air on ESPN 2. The Central Division event will air Dec. 19-20, 1999, at noon EST on ESPN 2.
The 2000 EverStart Series will include two divisions with four qualifying events each and will culminate with the EverStart Championship. The tentative schedule for 2000 is as follows: Central Division – March 8-11, Sam Rayburn, Jasper, Texas; March 29 – April 1, Beaver Lake, Rogers, Ark.; May 3-6, Kentucky Lake, Gilbertsville, Ky.; June 7-10, Ft. Gibson Lake, Wagoner, Okla. Eastern Division – Jan. 5-8, Lake Okeechobee, Clewiston, Fla.; Feb. 2-5, Lake Martin, Alexander City, Ala.; March 1-4, Lake Santee, Cooper Manning, S.C.; April 5-8 Lake Cumberland, Somerset, Ky. EverStart Series Invitational Challenge (top 75 from each division) November 8-11, Winter Haven Chain, Cypress Gardens, Winter Haven, Fla.
Sponsors of the EverStart Series include: EverStart Batteries, CITGO, Evinrude Outboards and Electrics, Ranger Boats, Black and Decker, Land O’ Lakes, Chevy Trucks, Wal-Mart, Coca Cola, Coleman, Eveready Flashlights, Mitchell Rods and Reels, Spiderwire, Uniroyal, US Bank VISA, Wrangler, Wheaties, Chex Mix, and Hamburger Helper.