Ober wins co-angler title, $5,000
MANNING, S.C. (April 19, 2008) – Pro Ott Defoe of Knoxville, Tenn., caught a five-bass limit weighing 24 pounds, 2 ounces Saturday to win the Stren Series Southeast Division tournament on Santee Cooper with a four-day total of 20 bass weighing 93-14. For his victory, Defoe earned $25,000 cash.
“This win really changes my perspective,” said Defoe, who notched his first FLW Outdoors victory. “I feel like I’ve been snakebit because I’ve had so many top-10 finishes without a win. I always knew I could win, but this just really gives me confidence.”
Defoe said he caught his first two fish of the day the way he had caught all of his fish during the first two days of competition – by throwing a green pumpkin Berkley PowerBait 7-inch Shaky Worm on 8-pound-test line around trees. Defoe said he added a couple of key bed fish to his livewell that helped propel him to victory.
Defoe led the tournament wire-to-wire and opened the tournament Wednesday with five bass weighing 27-14. On Thursday he added another five bass weighing 22-6 to maintain his lead. He then caught five bass weighing 19-8 on Friday to make the crucial top 10 cut.
Rounding out the top five pros are Team Snickers pro Greg Pugh of Cullman, Ala. (20 bass, 84-8, $7,677 plus $5,000 Ranger bonus); Brett Mitchell of Timmonsville, S.C. (20 bass, 81-13, $6,909); Lex Costas of Daniel Island, S.C. (18 bass, 79-00, $6,142); and Ken Ellis of Bowman, S.C. (20 bass, 74-3, $5,374).
Greg Vinson of Wetumpka, Ala., caught the biggest bass of the tournament in the Pro Division Wednesday – an 8-pound, 5-ounce largemouth – that earned him the day’s Snickers Big Bass award of $231.
Overall there were 44 bass weighing 164 pounds, 7 ounces caught by 10 pros Saturday. The catch included six five-bass limits.
Jason Ober of Johnston, Penn., won the Co-angler Division and $5,000 with a four-day total of 18 bass weighing 53-00.
“This is absolutely awesome,” said Ober, who also notched his first FLW Outdoors win. “It’s absolutely surreal. It hasn’t sunk in yet.
“At one point today, Ott and I just both sort of knew (we would win), and a calm came across both of us,” Ober continued. “We knew we had got the job done.”
Ober said he targeted post-spawn fish by throwing a weightless trick worm and fishing it slowly. On Friday, Ober said he was confident his approach would work on the final day of competition.
“I knew I was going to be around fish,” Ober said. “Ott gave me the right opportunities to catch those fish. I would cast around while he was working a tree, and I made good decisions. I just made the right decisions the entire week, and that was the key to this win.”
Ober caught five bass weighing 12-3 Wednesday while fishing with pro Steven Salvadore of Sioux Narrows, Ontario, to open the tournament in third place. He then caught three bass weighing 13-1 Thursday while fishing with pro Gary Elsey of Moncks Corner, S.C., to move to second place. On Friday he added five more bass weighing 14-3 to make the top 10 cut in first place while fishing with pro Brian Latimer of Belton, S.C. Finally, on Saturday, he sealed the win with a five-bass catch weighing 10-12 while fishing with pro Defoe.
Rounding out the top five co-anglers are Larry Breckenridge of Dothan, Ala. (13 bass, 46-10, $3,251); Brad Rodrigue of Pierre Part, La. (12 bass, 38-12, $2,642); Mike Morris of White, Ga. (14 bass, 38-9, $2,032); and Greg Hamblin of New Albany, Miss. (12 bass, 35-2, $1,626).
Blake Parker of Harpersville, Ala., caught the biggest bass of the tournament in the Co-angler Division Thursday – an 8-pound, 14-ounce largemouth – that earned him the day’s Snickers Big Bass award of $122.
Overall there were 25 bass weighing 70 pounds, 9 ounces caught by nine co-anglers Saturday. The catch included two five-bass limits.
The next Stren Series Southeast Division event, hosted by Florence/Lauderdale Tourism, will be held June 4-7 on Pickwick Lake in Florence, Ala. Boats will launch from McFarland Park in Florence and the final weigh-in will be held at the Wal-Mart located at 3100 Hough Road in Florence.
After four qualifying events are complete in each of the Stren Series’ five divisions, the top 40 pros from each division will advance to the $1 million Stren Series Championship in Branson, Mo., Nov. 5-8 for a shot at $140,000. The highest-finishing pro from each division at the championship will also earn a spot in the $2 million 2009 Forrest Wood Cup, where they will compete against top pros from the Wal-Mart FLW Tour®, Wal-Mart FLW Series®, Wal-Mart Bass Fishing League® and TBF (The Bass Federation) for bass fishing’s biggest prize – $1 million.
Tournament pros aren’t the only ones winning big this season. With the introduction of FLW Fantasy Fishing™, FLW Outdoors® offers anyone the opportunity to enter for their chance to land the catch of a lifetime with the opportunity to win $7.3 million in cash and prizes. Players can become a virtual pro angler by signing up for Player’s Advantage, providing them with exclusive insider information that could guide them to a $100,000 victory at every Wal-Mart FLW Tour® stop and the Forrest Wood Cup. Player’s Advantage will give them an edge over the competition and increase their shot for a $1 million cash grand prize that will be awarded to the FLW Fantasy Fishing cumulative points winner. Those who visit FantasyFishing.com today can sign up for Player’s Advantage and FLW Outdoors will include a $15 Wal-Mart gift card.
The top 40 co-anglers from each Stren Series division will also advance to the championship, where they will fish for as much as $70,000. The highest-finishing co-angler from each division at the championship will then advance to the 2008 Forrest Wood Cup.
FLW Outdoors historically maintains a 98 percent live release rate in all of its bass tournaments.
FLW Outdoors, named after Forrest L. Wood, the legendary founder of Ranger Boats, is the largest fishing tournament organization in the world. In 2008 alone the organization is offering more than 90,000 anglers the chance to win over $40 million through 230 tournaments in 10 circuits targeting bass, walleye, redfish, kingfish and striped bass. FLW Outdoors is also taking fishing mainstream with the largest cash awards in the history of fantasy sports, $7.3 million.
For more information about FLW Outdoors and its tournaments, visit FLWOutdoors.com or call (270) 252-1000. For more information about FLW Fantasy Fishing and Player’s Advantage, visit FantasyFishing.com.