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left Lake Hartwell last year with a second-place finish, but was 10
pounds short of victory. On Sunday Erhler sat one ounce out of the lead
when he began chasing the victory that escaped him a year ago. And at
the end of the day, Ehrler’s five bass worth 20 pounds, 5 ounces gave
him a total four-day weight of 74 pounds, 13 ounces – more than 3 pounds
heavier than second place – as well as a championship trophy and
$125,000 at the Walmart FLW Tour on Lake Hartwell presented by Folgers.

Micah Frazier of Newnan, Ga., posted a total weight of 71 pounds, 11
ounces to claim second place. He set up a dramatic finish when he pulled
out a monster bass that Ehrler estimated to be about 8 pounds. The
standing-room-only crowd in the TD Center erupted and Ehrler’s mind
began to race.

“I thought he had 17 or 18 pounds and then he pulled out that big one
and I thought, ‘He’s probably got close to 20,’” said Ehrler, who now
has four FLW Tour victories. “And I was sitting there looking at the
board, and I knew I had close to 20, and I was trying to do the math.
And I started thinking, ‘Maybe mine weigh 18.’ So I started getting
scared.”

Ehrler said he fished three main techniques during the event but credited his location to the victory.

“I had one really good spot that I kept conserving,” Ehrler said. “I
didn’t fish it that long each day. I’d pull up, catch a few and leave. I
could tell there were a lot (of fish) on it. When I got there yesterday
my co-angler caught all his weight there by 8:30, and he had 18
pounds.”

Ehrler said he left the spot early Saturday to save it for the last day
of competition. He returned Sunday and caught four of his fish he
weighed in on that spot.

Ehrler said he targeted bass with his electronics the first day of
competition and presented them with a drop-shot rig and a jig. Ehrler
also fished a Senko around shallow docks on the first day. On Friday he
caught fish on a jig, drop-shot rig and a Picasso School-E-Rig. Saturday
the jig bite began to pick up, however, he caught his biggest bass of
the day on the School-E-Rig. Ehrler said he relied solely on the jig to
land his limit Sunday.

Ehrler’s jig setup consisted of a Lucky Craft 7-foot heavy-action rod
with 16-pound-test Sunline FC Sniper line on an Abu Garcia Revo MGX
reel. His jigs were brown ¾- and 5/8-ounce models tipped with
green-pumpkin Yamamoto Twin Tail Grubs.

For the drop-shot rig, Ehrler used Owner 1/0 wide-gap hooks with a
6-inch Roboworm, ¼-ounce Lunker City drop-shot weight, an 8-pound-test
Sunline FC Sniper leader connected to 12-pound-test braided Sunline line
on a 7-foot Lucky Craft shaky-head rod paired with an Abu Garcia Revo
PRM40 reel.

For the School-E-Rig setup Ehrler used a stout 8-foot Lucky Craft rod
and an inshore Abu Garcia Revo reel with 80-pound-test Sunline FX2
braided line. Ehrler used ¼-ounce Picasso jig heads and 3 ½-inch silver
pearl Yamamoto swimbaits with the rig.

“It feels so good,” Ehrler said of his fourth Tour win. “I can’t tell you how awesome it feels to win this thing.”

Tom Monsoor of LaCrosse, Wis., caught only one fish on the last day of
competition at Lake Hartwell for the second year in a row and dropped
his lead after three days to an eighth-place finish. Monsoor earned
$35,000 for his efforts.

The remaining top 10 pros finished the tournament in:

3rd: Marty Stone, Fayetteville, N.C., 20 bass, 68-5, $30,000

4th: Todd Auten, Lake Wylie, S.C., 20 bass, 66-1, $25,000

5th: Chevy pro Anthony Gagliardi, Prosperity, S.C., 20 bass, 61-1, $20,000

6th: Chevy pro Jay Yelas, Corvallis, Ore., 20 bass, 61-0, $17,000

7th: Kettle Brand Chips pro Dan Morehead, Paducah, Ky., 20 bass, 58-14, $16,000

8th: Tom Monsoor, LaCrosse, Wis., 16 bass, 56-6, $15,000

9th: Andy Morgan, Dayton, Tenn., 20 bass, 55-7, $14,000

10th: National Guard pro Brett Hite, Phoenix, Ariz., 18 bass, 54-9, $13,000

A complete list of results can be found at FLWOutdoors.com.

Overall there were 44 bass weighing 128 pounds, 4 ounces caught by pros Sunday. The catch included eight five-bass limits.

Kevin Gordon of Aiken, S.C., won the co-angler division and $25,250
Saturday with a three-day total of 15 bass weighing 43 pounds, 3 ounces
followed by David Kuykendall of Fletcher, N.C., in second place with 15
bass weighing 35-12 worth $7,500.

Photo courtesy of FLW

 

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