HOT SPRINGS, Ark. – Trevor Jancasz is from White Pigeon, Mich., but he will always remember Arkansas’ Lake Hamilton as the place where he won his first FLW Tour Championship title as a co-angler.
Jancasz brought Hot Springs’ Summit Arena to a roar when he unleashed a 4-pound-plus bass from his weigh-in bag and walked it to the front of the stage for the crowd to see. The bass anchored a three-fish string weighing 6 pounds, 10 ounces, which gave him the victory.
“I feel tingly,” an overwhelmed Jancasz told Charlie Evans as he accepted his $25,000 first-place check. “No really, I’m tingling all over – this feels weird.”
Jancasz squeaked into the top-24 cut yesterday in 22nd place. But with weights zeroed out this morning, it was game on.
The big bass bit at about 10 a.m. after his pro, Andy Morgan, made a long run up the river.
“Andy pulled into this little narrow pocket and started fishing down the left hand side,” Jancasz recounted. “I threw my cut-tail worm out the other side of the boat into the middle of the channel. My rod loaded up, I set the hook, and I screamed for the net. After catching pipsqueaks all week, I knew it was a good one.”
For the record, Jancasz caught all of his winning fish on an 1/8-ounce Bite-Me jighead with a 5-inchYamamoto Cut-tail worm in green pumpkin and watermelon.
“That’s pretty much what I used all week,” he said. “The only difference today was that I went to 6-pound-test Bass Pro Shops fluorocarbon instead of 8-pound-test. I figured it would help me get a few more bites – and it did.”
Gift `schooled’ for second
Gift qualified in 21st place after fishing with Jeremiah Kindy and Tracy Adams.
Today he fished with Mickey Bruce and used a topwater stickbait to catch schoolers.
“We each had a limit by 8:30 or 9 o’ clock this morning,” he said. “Then we started running deep brush piles, and I culled up once on a Zoom Mag II (plum).”
“This tournament was all about perseverance for me,” Gift said. “It felt like an endurance contest.”
Jason Knapp of Uniontown, Pa., finished third with four bass weighing 5 pounds, 4 ounces, which earned him $10,000. Knapp fished with Greg Hackney on day one, Koby Kreiger on day two and Danny Correia today.
He qualified in 19th place over the first two days using an 1/8-ounce Shaky Head worm and a topwater.
Today he relied totally on the topwater.
“When the fish would come up schooling, I’d throw a white Super Spook Jr. over them,” he said. “That’s how I caught every one of them today.”
Lee fished with Alton Jones today.
“Alton was fishing real specific brush piles in deep water,” Lee said. “I kept my eye out for schoolers, and whenever they would come up, I’d get after them with a popper. I had five fish blow up on it, but only caught three.
“This is absolutely the hardest tournament I’ve ever fished,” said Lee, who has been fishing as a co-angler since the FLW Tour started in 1996. “These are some of the smartest fish I’ve ever seen.”
The FLW Tour’s 2005 Co-angler of the Year, Tee Watkins of East Point, Ky., kept his hot streak alive today by finishing fifth at the FLW Tour Championship with three bass weighing 2 pounds, 13 ounces.
Watkins qualified eighth after fishing with Mickey Bruce and Larry Nixon the first two days.
“I fished a variety of worms to make the cut,” Watkins said. “I was using a finesse worm, a wacky worm and a big Zoom Ol’ Monster, all in plum apple color.”
Today Watkins fished with Chip Harrison and caught schoolers.
“I used a Lucky Craft jerkbait for most of the day,” said Watkins, who earned $8,000 for his finish.
Rest of the best
Brett Bell of O Fallon, Mo., finished sixth with 2 pounds, 13 ounces and earned $7,000.
Greg Lineberry of Galax, Va., finished seventh with 2 pounds, 11 ounces and earned $6,000.
William Bridges of Tallapoosa, Ga., finished eighth with 1 pound, 11 ounces and earned $5,000.
Masafumi Kato of Japan finished ninth with 1 pound, 10 ounces and earned $4,000.
Matt Arey of Shelby, N.C., finished 10th with 1 pound, 2 ounces and earned $3,500.