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TUESDAY, MAY 1, 2007
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Haynes battles windy conditions to grab $4,177 on Wheeler Lake

With a westerly wind sometimes gusting more than 20 mph, Hollywood angler Brian Haynes stuck with his game plan of fishing near the main river channel on Wheeler Lake on Saturday. Haynes' patience and perseverance paid off as he fought all obstacles to win the Wal-Mart Bass Fishing League Choo Choo Division Wheeler Lake Tournament. For his efforts, Haynes received a first-place check for $4,177.

When a west wind is blowing on Wheeler Lake, especially when it is more than 15 mph, the reservoir becomes extremely rough with whitecaps and swells, making fishing conditions difficult. Haynes had to be focused while throwing his spinnerbait, which netted him a five-bass limit that weighed in at 22 pounds, 10 ounces.

According to an FLW media release, 151 boats participated in the event.

Many boats under 15-feet in length took cover in creeks, sloughs, behind rock bluffs and railroad tracks to stay out of harm's way.

Rounding out the top 10 in the boater division were: Danny Buckner (Woodville, 17-6, $2,458); Tim Hurst (Oxford, 14-12, $1,640); Clark Smith, Jr. (Pell City, 13-4, $1,147); Keith Buterbaugh (Douglasville, Ga., 12-14, $983); Todd McAdams (Fayetteville, Tenn., 12-13, $901); Marshall Deakins (Dunlap, Tenn., 12-10, $819); Randall Tharp (Gardendale, 12-9, $737); Lee Pitts (Gaylesville, 12-7, $614); and Blaine Shelton (Moulton, 12-7, $614).

In a tie for 18th were Decatur's Luke Kyle and Athens' Jason Yelverton, both finishing with 11-5 pounds. The pair received $352 each. Hartselle's Charles Clemons finished in 24th place with 10-8 to win $295.

Anglers in the boater division pay $200 to compete in the tournament while co-anglers (must fish in the back of the boat) compete for $100.

Haynes' winnings included $750 for catching the big bass (6-14) of the day in the boater division.

In the co-angler division, Odenville's Steve Briscoe received $375 for big bass, which tipped the scales at 6-10. Briscoe also won the co-angler division championship with a total weight of 24-3.

His total winnings came to $2,458.

Rounding out the top 10 in the co-angler division were: Chad Wynn (Athens, 14-5, $1,229); Shawn Lolley (Hayden, 12-9, $817); Josh Fordham (Glencoe, 11-9, $573); David Barlow (Temple, Ga., 10-11, $492); Johnny Sanson (Winchester, Tenn., 10-8, $451); Charles Nails (Rainbow City, 10-5, $410); Davy Lolley (Hayden, 9-15, $369); Richard Lee (Denmark, Tenn., 9-14, $328) and Kyle Shirley (Huntsville, 9-5, $287).

John Cook of Trinity tied for 11th place with 9-3, which earned him a check for $248. Hartselle's Richard Hayes finished with 8-15 to collect a $217 check for his 14th-place
finish.

Bassmasters

Michigan superstar Kevin VanDam claimed $100,000 for his three-day catch of bass weighing in at 66 pounds, 3 ounces at the Bassmaster Elite Series Purolator Southern Challenge on Lake Guntersville this past week.

VanDam also collected two checks worth $1,000 each for having caught the big fish on day 3 (7-5) and having the heaviest bag on day 3 (25-5).

Normally a four-day tournament, day 1 (Thursday) was canceled due to unsafe weather conditions. After Friday's weigh-in, the field was cut to the top 50 before being cut again Saturday to the top 12. The 12 finalists got to compete Sunday for the championship.

The victory adds yet another title to KVD's resume. The 39-year-old owns 11 BASS tournament victories and 67 top 10 finishes.

VanDam said the secret to his success this past week was concentrating on spawning shad along grass lines where he threw a 1/2-ounce Strike King Pro Model spinnerbait or a Strike King Series 5 or Series 6 crankbait.

"Shad are spawning all over the lake on the ledges or grass," KVD said. "You can throw a spinnerbait in the grass and hardly get it back because of the shad bumping the bait.

"Bass are up there capitalizing on that and if you can find a pack of them, you can catch two or three. I really had to slow down and work the spinnerbait, deliberately threw those areas, and when a bass in that grass saw it, come over their heads, they'd come up and get it."

Rounding out the top 12 finishers were: Mark Tucker of St. Louis (59-1, $30,000); Oklahoma pro Terry Butcher (58-4, $34,000 with bonuses); Terry Scroggins of Florida (58-0, $18,000); South Carolina's Jason Quinn (57-2, $17,000); Texas pro Kelly Jordan (55-3, $15,500); Yusuke Miyazaki of Texas (51-9, $15,000); Alton Jones of Texas (48-0, $14,500); Kotaro Kiriyama of Moody (46-11, $14,000); Florida's Shaw Grigsby, Jr. (44-13, $13,500); Ben Matsubu of Texas (43-3, $12,500) and Tim Horton
of Muscle Shoals (43-1, $12,300).

Coverage of the Lake Guntersville event is set to air on ESPN2 at 8 a.m. Saturday.

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