March madness continues - Major League Fishing

March madness continues

Highly competitive EverStart Central Division event to conclude on Pickwick Lake Saturday
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A boater heads off into the sunrise at the start of today's takeoff. Photo by Gary Mortenson.
March 27, 2004 • Gary Mortenson • Archives

FLORENCE, Ala. – If the NCAA was running this week’s EverStart Series tournament, the final field in today’s competition would most likely be called the Terrific Ten. However, fishing being just a tad more modest, we’ll settle for best top 10 anglers on Pickwick Lake. In any event, it’s onto the finals. With 376 of their fellow competitors already sent packing, the final field departed McFarland Park Marina shortly after 6 a.m. in search of one and only one goal – a tournament title on Pickwick Lake.

As usual, the stakes are high. With a total purse of $250,000 on the line, the winning pro is guaranteed a cash award of at least $10,000 as well as a fully rigged Ranger boat, valued at another $40,000. The top co-angler will be awarded $5,000 and, if various incentives are met, receive a Ranger boat package valued at an additional $35,000.

But while mild temperatures greeted anglers for the fourth straight day, anglers still will have to contend with the stringent 15-inch minimum catch limits, which have caused much consternation for both co-anglers and pros alike over the past week.

Ultimately, the winner in each of the Pro and Co-angler divisions will be determined by the heaviest two-day weight recorded over the course of Friday’s and Saturday’s competition.

Currently, Mark Park of Mineola, Texas, leads the pro field with a healthy semifinal catch of 16 pounds, 14 ounces. Meahwhile, Ronald Aikin of Valley Station, Ky., holds the top spot in the Co-angler Division after netting a 4-pound, 14-ounce stringer in yesterday’s competition.

EverStart action on Pickwick Lake concludes after today’s weigh-in, scheduled to take place at 4 p.m. at the Wal-Mart Supercenter, located at 3100 Hough Road in Florence, Ala.

Saturday’s conditions:

Sunrise: 5:44 a.m.

Temperature at takeoff: 52 degrees

Expected high temperature: 86 degrees

Water temperature: 59 degrees

Wind: from the south at 7 mph

Maximum humidity: 50 percent

Day’s outlook: mostly sunny