Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Sizable Tournament; Big Bass Abound at Wolfson

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Sizable Tournament; Big Bass Abound at Wolfson

Article excerpt

Byline: Joe Julavits, Times-Union outdoors editor

PALATKA -- Catching a seven-fish limit is usually a challenge in the state's largest bass tournament. Yesterday, it was routine.

The 14th annual Wolfson Children's Hospital Bass Tournament on the St. Johns River out of Palatka City Docks will be remembered for the overall size of its fish. A tournament-record 11.84-pound bass was caught, not to mention a 10, a 9, an 8 and several 7-pounders.

And then there were all those limits, 49 in all, representing almost 10 percent of yesterday's 542-boat field. It took almost 13 pounds -- 12.72 to be exact -- to capture the last of the 54 paid places.

Veteran Wolfson weighmaster Ted Ensminger was impressed.

"I've operated 500-600 tournaments over the years, and this is by far the most limits I've seen in one tournament," he said. "That's a whale of a testament to this fishery."

Yesterday's heaviest limit, seven bass totaling 28.52 pounds, was caught by the team of David Kilgore of San Mateo and Brian Weldon of Hollister, giving them the tournament's top prize of $10,000.

"Actually, we caught a couple of limits," Weldon said. "Every one was a quality fish. It was just overwhelming."

Equally enthused was the team of Ed Alderman and Rick Ledford from Mims. Their 11.84-pound bass shattered the old tournament record of 10.34 pounds and won them $5,000 for the single heaviest fish.

"That's the biggest bass I've ever caught in a tournament," Alderman said.

Finishing second overall were Pete Davitto and Chris Addair of Ocala, who pulled a total of 24.83 pounds of bass out of Rodman Reservoir. Last year's Wolfson champions, Terry Scroggins of Palatka and Glenn Browne of Ocala, came in third with 23.26 pounds and also had the tournament's third-heaviest bass, a 9.32-pounder.

Fourth place went to Brian Smith and Dan Irish of Jacksonville with 23.14 pounds, and another Jacksonville team -- Glen Lewis and Karl Hidalgo -- finished fifth at 22.10.

The second-largest bass weighed in yesterday was a 10.28-pounder caught by Scottsmoor's Covington Stevens, who was teamed with Jack Morey.

Except for a late afternoon thunderstorm that forced a 10-minute suspension of the weigh-in, yesterday's weather was favorable. …

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