Wisconsin Pro Claims Victory In His First B.A.S.S. Event
HENDERSONVILLE, Tenn.- Little-known pro Cary Bever used the strength of a final day limit of 8 pounds and 2 ounces to boost his three-day total to 24-7 and claim to first place in the $232,000 BASSMASTER Tennessee Eastern Invitational held on Old Hickory Lake. The event was the first B.A.S.S. sponsored tournament that the Wisconsin pro had ever entered. The win was worth $51,000.
"I don't know that I have ever felt this way in a tournament, and I have been fishing tournaments for about 15 years," said Bever. "I really don't know what to say, it is overwhelming."
Bever took the overall lead on day two with a 9-2 limit and entered Saturday with only an 8-ounce lead over two-time BASS Master Classic champion George Cochran. His final limit on Saturday put him firmly into first, while Arkansas pro Cochran was only able to bring in 6-11. Cochran finished second with a 22-8 total, which was worth $32,000. North Carolina's Chris Elliot came in third with 21-5, winning $30,000. Roger Stegall of Mississippi was fourth at 18-7 and Tennessee's Rufus Johnson rounded out the top five at 17-10.
"I'm disappointed," said Cochran. "I thought I would be able to win it.I really did. On the second and third days I never really caught a good fish." Bever says that he used a slightly different approach to fishing the lake to claim the victory.
"In practice I was able to narrow it down to a real specific crankbait that was just better than the other ones I was throwing, he said. "I caught a lot of fish on a spinnerbait during practice, but I switched because I figured that there are so many spinnerbait fisherman-like there alwaysare - that I thought catching the fish would be tough on a spinnerbait. Even though it is always scary catching fish on a crankbait in a tournament - I had a couple come off and I lost a 3 pounder at the net - that crankbait made all the difference.
"All three days, my partners struggled,. My first day partner didn'tcatch any keepers. My other two partners each had two. Today, I had 7 and the other two days I had 10. I fished it a lot different I was staying out on the breaks, although I did catch some fish shallow. The crankbait will only run down about 4 feet, but if you get them tuned in just right, you can reel them extremely fast, and it gives them a real wide wobble and a big profile. The fish would eat it even behind other people."
Bever believes that the hot summer and the transition into cooler weather had a lot to do with the lower weights. "I think that if this tournament was held next week the weights would be a lot different," he said. "The shad are really starting to move into the backs of the creeks, but Idon't think that the big fish have. It has been really hot here for a lot of weeks and the water temperature is just starting to drop. I think that you will see bigger fish from here on out."
The BASSMASTER Tournament Trail will return to action September 20-23 when it returns to New Orleans for the Louisiana BASSMASTER Top 150. The 32-year-old BASSMASTER Tournament Trail is the oldest and most prestigious pro bass fishing tournament circuit. It has set the standard for credibility, professionalism, and sportsmanship for more than three decades.
Sponsors of the 2000 Tennessee BASSMASTER Eastern Invitational include:Ranger Boats, RangerTrail Trailers, Mercury Outboards, Chevy Trucks, ACDelco Batteries, Worldwaters.com, Humminbird/Zercom Marine, Pennzoil Marine, Flowmaster Exhaust Systems, First USA/B.A.S.S. Platinum Visa, MotorGuide Trolling Motors, Gore-Tex Outerwear, GMAC Insurance.
The event is sponsored locally by the United Chambers of Sumner County.