North American Fishing Guides

Talmage Leads Opening Round of Everstart Series on Detroit River

TRENTON, Mich. (July 24, 2003) – Pro Aaron Talmage of LaGrange, Ind., caught 10 bass over two days that weighed 35 pounds, 14 ounces to lead the 20 anglers who advanced to Friday’s semifinal round of the four-day, $256,825 EverStart Series Northern Division event on the Detroit River. Two hundred pros and 200 co-anglers competed for two days for one of 20 semifinal-round slots in their respective division, with pros competing for a top award worth as much as $61,900 in cash and prizes, including a fully rigged Ranger 519VS Comanche. The winning co-angler will earn as much as $27,800 in cash and prizes, including a Ranger 519VS Comanche.

Thursday’s clear, mild weather was a repeat of a calm and sunny Wednesday, and Talmage took advantage of the favorable conditions Thursday and caught five bass that weighed 19 pounds, 1 ounce. However, Talmage says that if the wind picks up, he might be in for a challenge.

“I’m targeting rock piles in 23 feet of water with a jigging spoon,” said Talmage, who is a veteran of the Wal-Mart Bass Fishing League. “We’re fishing in Lake Erie, and I stuck around my spot so I could catch a little more weight (Thursday). But if the wind blows out of the southwest (Friday), I’m in trouble. I’m not going to be fishing Lake St. Clair; it’ll have to be on Lake Erie. I’ve got a couple of more spots, but they aren’t as hot as this one.”

Rounding out the top five pros are Dave Lefebre of Erie, Pa. (10 bass, 34 pounds, 12 ounces); Dion Hibdon of Stover, Mo. (10 bass, 34 pounds, 3 ounces); Mark Zona of Sturgis (10 bass, 34 pounds, 3 ounces); and Cecil Cole of Durand (10 bass, 33 pounds, 12 ounces).

Joel Hazelbaker of Columbus, Ohio, caught a two-day total of 10 bass that weighed 31 pounds, 7 ounces to lead the Co-angler Division into the semifinal round. He caught five bass Thursday that weighed 15 pounds, 14 ounces fishing tubes in 17 to 21 feet of water.

“Basically, I’m dragging tubes or actively working tubes, and I think it’s working for me because it’s something I’m used to doing, and I like to do it,” said Hazelbaker, who is fishing in only his second EverStart Series event. “I like to do it, and I’ve got a lot of experience with it. It fits right in. I had the right color and the right setup, but more importantly, I had the right partners that put me on some really good fish.”

Rounding out the top five co-anglers are Virgil Grant of Findlay, Ohio (10 bass, 30 pounds, 11 ounces); Jeff Zeisner of Arva, Ontario (10 bass, 29 pounds, 1 ounce); Mike Graalman of Genoa, Ohio (10 bass, 28 pounds, 5 ounces); and Andrew Lemle of Perrysburg, Ohio (10 bass, 27 pounds, 12 ounces).

Hal Graham of Toledo, Ohio, earned $750 Thursday as the Pro Division big-bass winner with a 5-pound, 1-ounce bass, and Leonard Smith of Pershing, Ind., and Dominic Gambardella of North Haven, Conn., tied for co-angler big-bass honors with a 4-pound, 9-ounce bass. Each earned $125.

A total of 1,351 bass were caught Thursday, including 182 five-bass limits.

Elizabeth Park in Trenton will host Friday and Saturday’s takeoffs at 6 a.m. The semifinal- and final-round weigh-ins will be held at the Wal-Mart store located at 7555 Telegraph Rd. in Trenton beginning at 3 p.m. The community is encouraged to attend daily takeoffs and weigh-ins.

Weights will be cleared for Friday’s competition, and the top 10 pros and 10 co-anglers will advance to Saturday’s final round based on Friday’s total weight. Weights are again cleared for Saturday’s competition, and anglers compete for the heaviest one-day weight.

The winning pro will take home a guaranteed cash award of $10,000 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 $61,900 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 $5,000 cash. If the winning co-angler is a registered Ranger owner, he will also receive a new Ranger 519VS Comanche for a total of $27,800 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

FLW Outdoors is named after the legendary founder of Ranger Boats, Forrest L. Wood.

FLW Outdoors

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