Bennett takes early lead, hangs on for $1 million fishing payday

How would you like to catch nine bass in two days worth $111,111.11 each?

How would you like to catch nine bass in two days worth $111,111.11 each?

That’s exactly what 24-year-old Michael Bennett of Lincoln, Calif., did when he won the FLW Forrest Wood Cup recently on South Carolina’s Lake Murray.

He is the youngest champion and youngest angler to reach

$1 million in earnings in the history of the event.

Bennett began the competition in a field of 77 professional bass anglers who had qualified for the event through a series of other FLW tournaments held throughout the year. Bennett led all the compet­itors at the end of the second day when the field was cut to the top 10. He had 27 pounds, four ounces.

The winner was then determined by total weight for the last two days only. Bennett, though, never looked back, coming to the scales on day three with a five-bass total of 16 pounds, one ounce, and four bass on day four totaling eight pounds, 14 ounces, and a million dollar winning two-day total of 24 pounds, 15 ounces.

He said had to change his deep-water tactics and patterns that he found during his practice days because of the heavy rains just before the tournament. He said he moved into the shallows to “junk fish” following a run-and-gun method that took him all over the lake. His bait choice was a Snag Proof Fred Frog Custom Color that he used in open water and over mid-lake grass.

The young angler received $500,000 first place cash plus a $500,000 Ranger Boat Bonus cash.

Second, with a two-day, 10-bass total of 19 pounds, 12 ounces was Pennsylvania angler Dave Lefebre who received $100,000. Lefebre, who lost a five-pound bass the last day, caught all his tournament fish using a six-inch Berkley PowerBait Flippin’Tail worm, rigged Texas- style with a three-sixteenths-ounce sinker and 3/0 worm hook.

Rounding out the top five cash positions were: Terry Bolton, Arkansas, $75,000; Chris Baumgardner, North Carolina, $60,000; and Kevin Vida, Michigan, $50,000. All anglers who competed in this event received a cash reward. Total cash awarded was just over $1.9 million. TV coverage will air on the Fox Sports Net Sept. 28 and Oct. 5.


Last weekend, the FLW Outdoors pro bass trail returned to Plattsburgh for its $1 million Wal-Mart Series event, and once again, Lake Champlain did not disappoint the 189 pros and 189 co-anglers competing in the four-day event.

And as expected, it was a tourn­ament that was determined by mere ounces.

At the end of the third day when the field of pros was cut to the top 10, Chip Harrison of Indiana was in eighth place with 52 pounds, seven ounces — four pounds, three ounces behind the leader, Pete Gluszek of New Jersey. But at the end of the final day, a 21-pound, six-ounce five-bass limit vaulted him into the championship with a total winning weight of 73 pounds, 13 ounces, and a $125,000 payday and first FLW win.

Two lures accounted for Harrison’s success: a Poor Boys wat­ermelon-colored tube and a Poor Boys Drop-shot Darter that he tossed around in bays north of the launch site on the New York side of the lake.

Gluszek, who weighed in a limit totaling 16 pounds, seven ounces on the final day, placed second with a tournament total of 73 pounds, one ounce and earned a $46,488 cash reward. Rounding out the top five were: Jim Moynagh, Minnesota, $37,191; Takahiro Omori, Texas, $27,893, and Jacob Powroznik, Verginia, $18,595.

Two local anglers also earned cash in this event. Phil Colarusso Jr. of Stillwater placed 65th in the pro division with a three-day total of 39 pounds, nine ounces and received $1,860. James Schneider of Watervliet placed 53rd in the co-angler division with a three-day total of 28 pounds, 15 ounces and received $997.

TV coverage of this event will air on the Fox Sports Net on Nov. 9.


A total of 60 teams competed in the final event of the Northeast Team Bass tournament trail on Lake George, and the fish were biting exceptionally well for Mike Zasuly of Woodstock and Jim Kane of Connecticut, who outdistanced their closest competitors by more than five pounds.

In their bag of five bass, which included several five-pounders, Zasuly and Kane weighed in 21.34 pounds and were rewarded with $2,160 plus an additional $600 for their 5.32-pound tournament lunker.

The remaining top five cash pos­itions and their weights were: the Albany team of Mark Kurtzner and Craig DuBois, 16.17 pounds; Pennsylvania anglers Bernie Lindo and Lee Rogers, 15.42 pounds; George Variano of Hyde Park and Jason Pipitone of Highland, 15.35 pounds; and Cory DiLorenzo of Glens Falls and Luke Musto of Lake George, 14.98 pounds. Second through fifth returned $1,400, $980, $800 and $550, respectively.

Jeff Russell of Ballston Lake and Dan Dyer of Saratoga Springs won their second Anglers-of-the-Year title in a row with a total of 626.93 points. Zasuly and Kane were a close second with 619.57 points.


The Saratoga Lake largemouths are still biting, as evidenced by the results in the recent Greenbush Bass Association’s open partners tournament.

Leading the way in the 21-team event with a five-bass limit totaling 17.09 pounds was the Ballston Lake team of Clayton and Jim Pollock. First place returned $500. Carl

Paquette and George Brown of Stillwater finished second ($315) with 14.77 pounds, while Allan Cavert of Schaghticoke and Jim Janis of Ballston Spa were third ($230) with 12.14 pounds. Tournament lunker honors and $210 went to the team of Adam Bielawa of Wynanskill and Jerry Gibson of Averill Park for their 5.35-pound largemouth.

The Greenbush Bass Assoc­iation has two open partners tournaments on Saratoga Lake remaining this season. They are scheduled for Sept. 28 and Oct. 12. Entry for these events, $75 per team, can be paid the morning of the tournament at the Saratoga Lake state boat launch. Tournament hours are

7 a.m. to 3 p.m.

Categories: Sports

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