Coleman, Lasley win Big Bucks Bass


By Dan Cook

Outdoors Editor


Veteran Soddy-Daisy fishermen Chris Coleman and Freddie Lasley teamed for 18.7 pounds of bass Saturday to win the $18,000 top prize in the annual Chattanooga Times Free Press Big Bucks Bass Tournament.

   They competed in a record field of 279 boats whose owners were from as far away as West Virginia and Florida. The field represented slightly more than 550 anglers, as some chose to fish alone.

   Coleman and Lasley reported catching fish along the river drops on a tough day of fishing. Only 83 boats weighed fish.

   Mark Powell and Richard Hutchins were second with 17.88 pounds, good for $5,000. Josh Wofford and Dallas George were third with 16.74. Powell and Hutchins said they said they used spinner bait and Rat-L-Traps to make their catch. Wofford and George found Rat-L-Traps effective in 10 feet of water.

   Retiree Gene Cote had the day’s big fish, a 7-pounder worth $700 as the first hourly prize winner, and he and partner Wally Millsaps totaled $2,690. Cote said he was going to donate his winnings to Bayside Baptist Church.

   Other hourly $700 winners were Cleveland fishermen Mark Mauldin and Pat Lay, both regular contenders on FLW’s Bass Fishing League; Robert Townsend and Danny Swafford; Israel Peckinpaugh and David Macelroy; and Lanny Graham and Terry Lewis.

   This was the first spring tournament in the newspaper’s Big Bucks series, after exclusively fall events the previous two years. Tournament director Dewaine "Preacher" Reeves said the second 2003 tournament will be on Sept. 13, also with an $18,000 top prize, and provide a third chance for money the next day.

   The top 35 from a combination of Saturday’s results and the Sept. 13 tournament will fish for bonus money on Sept. 14. Amounts of those prizes are yet to be determined.

   "We’re trying to keep the prize money up and the entry fees as low as possible," Reeves said.

   In addition to hourly prizes for the fall tournament, Prowler Pro Pitch Lures, Chattanooga Fish- ’n’-Fun and Stealth I announced bonuses for top finishers using their products. To get the $1,000 Prowler award, a team must have caught all its weighed fish on Prowler products.

   The $1,000 Fish- ’n’-Fun prize will go to the winner(s) who used a Ranger Boat while wearing a Ranger Cup shirt and hat. The $700 Stealth I bonus will go to the winning angler(s) who used a Stealth charging system and can show proof of purchase.

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This story was published Sunday, March 23, 2003



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