Berry leads opening round of $215,000 EverStart Series event on Lake Pleasant - Major League Fishing

Berry leads opening round of $215,000 EverStart Series event on Lake Pleasant

January 30, 2003 • MLF • Archives

PEORIA, Ariz. – Pro Art Berry of Ramona, Calif., caught eight bass weighing 19 pounds over two days to lead the $214,525 EverStart Series Western Division event on Lake Pleasant near Peoria, Ariz. Berry’s three-bass catch Thursday weighing 5 pounds, 1 ounce was enough to lead the Pro Division into Friday’s semifinal round.

The first-ever Western Division event kicked off Wednesday with warm weather and clear skies greeting the 300-plus pro and co-angler competitors. Temperatures continued to rise Thursday as anglers hit the water again for one of 20 coveted spots in the semifinal round.

“I went to the exact same area I fished (Wednesday),” said Berry, who led Wednesday’s competition with five bass weighing 13 pounds, 15 ounces. “I fished for maybe an hour and had five bites. I caught three of them and never fished the rest of the day. I just sat there and protected the area and let the fish get nice and comfortable for tomorrow.” Berry caught his bass Thursday on a top-water.

Rounding out the top five pros are Jim Furr of Phoenix, Ariz. (eight bass, 16 pounds, 9 ounces); Jack Trahan of Kingman, Ariz. (five bass, 15 pounds, 13 ounces); Brent Ehrler of Redlands, Calif. (nine bass, 15 pounds, 10 ounces); and Larry Cross of Calimesa, Calif. (eight bass, 15 pounds, 7 ounces).

Gary Collins of Moorpark, Calif., leads the Co-angler Division thanks to a two-day total of 10 bass weighing 15 pounds, 7 ounces.

“We could not ask for better fishing weather,” said Collins, who caught his bass by slowly dragging a drop-shot. “I’m ecstatic beyond my expectations. This was one of those days where I couldn’t do anything right at first, but once I got bit, I couldn’t do anything wrong.” Collins is an accomplished Wal-Mart Bass Fishing League angler with five top-10 BFL finishes to his credit, including three runner-up performances.

Rounding out the top five co-anglers are Dean Kreuzer of Mesa, Ariz. (five bass, 13 pounds, 15 ounces); Mario Caporuscio of Rancho Santa Margarita, Calif. (seven bass, 13 pounds, 15 ounces); Reese Randall of Payson, Ariz. (seven bass, 11 pounds, 6 ounces); and Jason Billmaier of Las Vegas, Nev. (six bass, 11 pounds).

Trahan earned $500 as the big-bass award winner in the Pro Division, thanks to an 8-pound, 1-ounce bass. Kyle Clement of Anderson, Calif., claimed co-angler big-bass honors with a 5-pound, 15-ounce bass that earned him $200.

Four hundred and forty-eight bass were caught Thursday, including 21 five-bass limits. More than 99 percent of the bass were released alive.

Daily takeoffs are held at Pleasant Harbor Marina in Peoria beginning at 7 a.m., and daily weigh-ins are also held at the marina beginning at 3 p.m. The community is invited to attend daily takeoffs and weigh-ins.

The full field of anglers – over 150 pros and 150 co-anglers – was narrowed down to the top 20 in both divisions for Friday’s competition based on their two-day accumulated weight. Anglers will start at zero Friday, and the top 10 anglers in both divisions will advance to Saturday’s final round based on their one-day weight. Weights are cleared for Saturday’s competition as well, and anglers compete for position and prize money.

The winning pro will take home a guaranteed cash award of $8,500 plus a new Ranger 519VS Comanche equipped with Garmin electronics and powered by an Evinrude or Yamaha outboard. If the winner is the original owner of a Ranger boat, he will receive an additional $10,000 cash bonus from Ranger for a total of $60,400 in cash and prizes. Ranger will also award an additional $3,000 to the winner if he is a Ranger Cup participant, and Garmin will award $1,000 to the winner if his boat is equipped with a fixed-mount Garmin Fishfinder or combination GPS/Sounder.

The winning co-angler is guaranteed $4,500 cash. If the winning co-angler is a registered Ranger owner, he will also receive a new Ranger 519VS Comanche for a total of $27,300 in cash and prizes.

Four divisions – Eastern, Central, Northern and Western – comprise the 2003 EverStart Series. Each division stages four regular-season tournaments leading up to the no-entry-fee $335,975 EverStart Series Championship, which will be held on Old Hickory Lake near Gallatin, Tenn., Oct. 29-Nov. 1.

In EverStart Series competition, pros supply the boats, control boat movement and fish from the front of each boat against other pros. Co-anglers fish from the back of each boat and compete against other co-anglers.

FLW Outdoors, the world’s leading marketer of competitive fishing, administers the EverStart Series. Other FLW Outdoors-sanctioned tournament trails include the Wal-Mart FLW Tour, the Wal-Mart Bass Fishing League, the Wal-Mart Texas Tournament Trail, the Wal-Mart RCL Walleye Tour and the Wal-Mart RCL Walleye League. FLW Outdoors will award as much as $20 million through 175 tournaments in 2003.

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. For a complete list of FLW Outdoors sponsors and for more information about the premier products and services they offer, please visit