RED WING, Minn. – Howie Lee of Brooklyn Park, Ill., grabbed the lead Wednesday in the $2.8 million EverStart Series Northern Division tournament on the Mississippi River after an opening-day catch of five bass weighing 11 pounds, 6 ounces.
The tournament features 154 pros who supply boats, control boat movements during competition and fish for a top award of more than $50,000 in cash and prizes and 154 co-anglers who fish from the back deck of each boat for a top award of $6,000 cash. If the winning pro’s boat is equipped with a fixed-mount GARMIN Fishfinder or combination GPS/Sounder, he will also receive a $1,000 bonus from GARMIN.
Koby Kreiger of Osceola, Ind., finished opening day in second with five bass weighing 11 pounds, 5 ounces. Christian Romans of Carrollton, Ky. (five bass, 10 pounds, 13 ounces); John Johnson of Winnebago, Ill. (five bass, 10 pounds, 8 ounces); and Mike Felderman of Galena, Ill., (five bass, 10 pounds, 5 ounces) rounded out the top five pros.
Co-angler Randy Ramsey of Riverside, Ill., leads his division with five bass weighing 10 pounds followed by Tom Howland of Riceville, Iowa., (five bass, 8 pounds, 12 ounces) in second and Ken Garbe of Batavia, Ohio, (five bass, 8 pounds, 1 ounce) in third.
A 3-pound, 14-ounce largemouth landed David Reault of Livonia, Mich., big bass honors and $750 in the Pro Division while a 3-pound, 15-ounce largemouth landed Edwin Snook of Floyds Knobs, Ind., big bass honors and $250 in the Co-angler Division.
For a shot at victory, anglers in both divisions must secure one of 20 slots in Friday’s semifinal round with their two-day opening round total. Anglers then start from zero and compete for one day to determine the top 10 pros and co-anglers who will fish in Saturday’s finale. Catch weights are cleared for the final day, and the winners are determined by that day’s catch.
Competition begins at 6 a.m. each morning at Treasure Island Casino and Resort in Welch, Minn. Thursday’s weigh-in will also be held at the marina starting at 3 p.m. Friday and Saturday’s weigh-ins will be held at the Wal-Mart store located at 225 33rd St. West in Hastings, Minn., starting at 3 p.m.
Now in its fifth season, the EverStart Series features three divisions-Eastern, Central and Northern-with four events each plus the $325,000 EverStart Series Championship presented by Conseco. The top 50 pros and co-anglers from each division will be invited to the Championship for a shot at top pro awards of more than $60,000 in cash and prizes and top co-angler awards of more than $40,000 in cash and prizes. The top 10 pros and co-anglers from each division also receive priority entry into the 2003 Wal-Mart FLW Tour where they could win up to $260,000 and $40,000 in cash, respectively.