Kevin Hawk of Ramona, Calif., had the biggest limit today and came from behind to win $500,000 plus another $100,000 from new FLW Outdoors partner T. Boone Pickens. Hawk weighed 15 pounds, 13 ounces before two dead fish penalties knocking his weight back to 14 pounds, 13 ounces. Still it was plenty to hold off the rest of the top six on the final day. Hawk beat nearest competitor Cody Meyer by 2 pounds, 6 ounces with a four-day weight of 50 pounds, 14 ounces.
“Basically for this event I used two baits,” Hawk said. “The first was the 1/2-ounce Swarming Hornet Fishhead spin, and the other was a Roboworm on a drop shot. Basically I was just running and gunning trying to hit enough brush piles. I felt like if I could hit enough brush piles each day, I could catch a good weight. For my drop shot I used 7 pound test. I felt 5-pound test was too much of a gamble on those brushpiles. On the fishhead spin I used 10-pound test.”
Hawk was spending as little as a few casts per brushpile making sure he had enough time to get to as many as possible each day. Today everything fell into place. But the story of how he got here was even more interesting.
Hawk rooms with Brent Ehrler on the FLW Tour. He fished as a boater out west. He qualified for the Forrest Wood Cup via the National Guard Western Division. Last November he packed up and moved to Gainesville, Ga. to start learning Lanier. Since he was out here he decided to fish as a co-angler. He actually rooms with Ehrler but he practices at every event with Brett Hite.
Hawk has been living in a one-room pool house and showering outside since November. He fished the FLW Tour this year as a co-angler and spent every other day fishing on Lake Lanier. The huge investment in this one event paid off.
His plans after the big win are to move to Lake Guntersville and rent a house with buddy Justin Lucas.
He fished a G.Loomis IMX 843 rod with a Abu Garcia Revo with a Swarming Hornet Fishhead Spin with an Zoom Albino Fluke Jr on 10-pound Sunline Fluorocarbon. Today the fish bit the fishhead spin really well and that enabled him to put the spinning rod down and really cover water quickly looking for better quality spotted bass. His bass were relating to brush piles, but they were suspending more today, something on which he capitalized.
The rest of the top 10 shook out as follows: in second place was Cody Meyer with 48-8, $100,000; in third place was Larry Nixon with 47-3, $85,000; in fourth place was Brent Ehrler with 46-8, $60,000; in fifth place was Troy Morrow with 41-13, $50,000; and in sixth place was Ronald Hobbs Jr. with 35-3, $40,000.
Here are a few more quotes today from the top 6 finishers:
Troy Morrow – “Very late in the day I went on a little flurry,” Morrow said. “Three stops in a row I caught one on a crankbait. As we went to sit down on my last spot, my cameraman asked me if I had time. I said, ‘No not really.’ I made one cast, caught that biggest fish and we raced all the way back and made it just in time.”
Ronald Hobbs Jr. – “I only had two areas that I found and I milked for all they were worth and it got me to 6th place,” Hobbs said. “But I wanted to ride on that Blackhawk helicopter and I got to do that. I work 40 hours a week just like all these folks in the crowd.”
Larry Nixon – “I just couldn’t find that fifth one and ran out of time,” Nixon said. “I looked down once and my Lowrance screen was loaded with fish. I dropped my worm down there and caught one of those big ones and then they scattered like flies. I never caught another fish in that spot. It’s a bad omen to catch a bass on your very first cast, and that big one bit on my very first cast. My elbows are shot and my hands don’t hardly work. When you got a big ole bass on the line you got to net them with whatever you can, your mouth your foot, whatever.”
Cody Meyer – “My first spot I had some problems and was fishing blind. But I got on my brush pile and caught a good bass. Lowrance came out and saved the day for me. I caught almost all my fish this week on a Jackall Crosstail Shad. I lost a 3-pounder today that really hurt me but. On the dropshot, I had the privelege to watch Aaron Martens fish it about 10 years ago. I caught all my fish vertically seeing them on my Lowrance and dropping it right on top of the fish. It’s deadly. The keys were the Crosstail Shad and the Roboworm. I had a blast. This place is unbelievable.”