Bridges’ birthday bash - Major League Fishing

Bridges’ birthday bash

Mayor of Tallapoosa, Ga., wins Co-angler Division at Forrest Wood Cup
Image for Bridges’ birthday bash
Co-angler champion Pete Bridges holds up his check. Photo by Brett Carlson.
August 4, 2007 • Brett Carlson • Tackle Warehouse Pro Circuit

HOT SPRINGS, Ark. – On his 66th birthday, Pete Bridges bested 80 other co-anglers in winning the richest championship in the history of professional bass fishing. It wasn’t worth a $1 million like it will be on the pro side, but the mayor of Tallapoosa, Ga., couldn’t be any happier.

Under suffocating heat, Bridges won the Forrest Wood Cup by catching four bass that weighed 6 pounds, 13 ounces. While that doesn’t sound like an impressive catch, that weight would be good enough for third place in the Pro Division on day three. Needless to say, the fishing Saturday on Lake Ouachita was tough.

David Hudson congratulates Pete Bridges on winning the 2007 Forrest Wood Cup.“I had two fish prior to my pro having any fish,” said Bridges, who was partnered with David Dudley on day three.

The two started the day by fishing a rocky point in 20 feet of water. After that proved unsuccessful for Dudley, he moved upriver and tried throwing a crankbait.

“He seems to sense they’re around,” Bridges said of Dudley. “He talks to them.”

Their last move was to a deep, grassy area, where Bridges caught his final two keepers. The first two fish bit a 10-inch Zoom Old Monster in watermelon-red color. His last two bass were caught on a 10-inch ribbontail worm in plum color. Earlier in the week he used a swimming Senko when fishing shallow water.

“I gave David all the leftover baits I had. I think he liked how they were hitting the worms.”

Pete Bridges places his day-three catch on the scale.

The 2007 Forrest Wood Cup was Bridges’ third championship appearance. He has six top-10 finishes to his name, but this was his first victory and it was worth $25,000.

“I like having the bragging rights, but the best part is that I’m taking this check home to my wife. She sacrifices a lot to let me go fishing.

“I’d also like to thank Gary Yamamoto. He’s my practice partner, and he trained me. He’s taught me everything I know.”

Caporuscio takes runner-up

Western co-angler Dino Caporuscio caught three bass on day three that weighed 5 pounds, 14 ounces, which was good enough for second place on a stingy Lake Ouachita.

“I’m happy, not disappointed at all,” he said. “It was a great year for me.”

Co-angler Dino Caporuscio earned $10,000 for his second-place finish on Lake Ouachita.Caporuscio caught his bass with a 5-inch Roboworm in Aaron’s Magic color. He Texas-rigged the bait and drug it deep along the grass.

On Saturday, he fished with Pedigree pro Greg Pugh on the southeast side of the lake in 25 to 30 feet of water.

“On my last cast of the day, I caught a 3-pounder. I just never gave up, it was great.”

For his efforts, the Coto de Caza, Calif., native earned $10,000. Next up is a visit to the Columbia River for the third Wal-Mart FLW Series National Guard Western Division event of the year. Caporuscio fishes that circuit as a professional.

Murphy third

Completing an incredible 2007 season, Ken Murphy of Meridian, Miss., finished third with three bass weighing 5 pounds, 7 ounces for $9,000.

Co-angler Ken Murphy finished third at the 2007 Forrest Wood Cup.This was Murphy’s fourth top-10 finish of the season. He opened the year with a fifth-place performance on Lake Travis. At the Wal-Mart FLW Tour event on the Potomac River, Murphy took ninth. At the Chevy Open on Lake Erie, he caught a five-bass limit on the final day of competition that weighed 18 pounds, 13 ounces. That was good enough for his first victory and $40,000.

Fishing with pro John Devere on day three of the Forrest Wood Cup, Murphy caught his three bass on three different baits. He used a topwater, a finesse worm and a Senko.

Caldwell finishes fourth

The other mayor in the top 10 was Doug Caldwell, who oversees the small town of Kane, Pa. Caldwell finished fourth with three bass for 5 pounds, 1 ounce, worth $8,000.

Doug Caldwell finished the 2007 Forrest Wood Cup in fourth place in the Co-angler Division.Caldwell had the privilege of fishing with Dave Andrews, Scott Suggs and Clark Wendlandt during the week.

Partnered with Suggs on day two, Caldwell caught a limit weighing 10 pounds, 12 ounces, the second heaviest of the tournament for the co-anglers.

Victory continues to elude Hudson

David Hudson of Jasper, Ala., finished fifth with three bass for 4 pounds, 10 ounces, worth $7,000.

“That’s just the way it is,” said a disappointed Hudson, who led each of the first two days of competition. “My plan for the day was to swing for the fence with a 10-inch worm and a big jig. I had David Hudson holds up a keeper bass caught on day three of the Forrest Wood Cup.only caught one small fish on the worm, so I switched to a drop-shot with about an hour left in the day, and I caught two pretty quick. Then I said to myself, `Why didn’t I do this all day?’ For whatever reason, the fish just didn’t want the big baits today, and I don’t know why.”

In his career, the Jasper, Ala., native has 15 top-10 tour-level finishes. Without a doubt, he is one of the most accomplished co-anglers in the sport. He has not, however, won a tour-level event. His best chance may be at his home waters of Lewis Smith Lake, as the FLW Tour will visit Jasper April 3-6.

“I’m not upset, I’m heartbroken. I’ve been here so many times. I’m going to do it one day. It’s my dream.”

Rest of the best

Rounding out the top 10 co-anglers in the 2007 Forrest Wood Cup:

6th: Jason Hampson of Cartersville, Ga., two bass, 3-13, $6,000

7th: Kevin Koone of Greenbrier, Ark., two bass, 3-11, $5,000

8th: Matt Arey of Shelby, N.C., one bass, 1-9, $4,000

9th: Karyn Sanchez of Midlothian, Texas, one bass, 1-8, $3,500

10th: Bret Bell of O’Fallon, Mo., zero bass, 0-0, $3,000