GUNTERSVILLE, Ala. — “Sweet” was the word of the day Saturday according to angler Andy Morgan of Dayton, Tenn., who found his first ever BASS win in the CITGO Bassmaster Southern Open on Lake Guntersville. Morgan fished three secluded spots during the tournament, going back to his Day 1 honey holes on Day 3 to bring in 17 pounds, 10 ounces for a total of 56-6.
“I felt like I had to get 20 pounds to win, and if I got the early bite, I’d be alright,” said Morgan, who quickly landed a 6-pounder and caught eight or nine keepers for the day. He fished a watermelon-candy Zoom Brush Hog on 65-pound Spiderwire Stealth line in clumps of grass, working both the outer edges and center of each grass clump.
Morgan won more than $50,000 in cash and prizes including a new Triton boat with a Mercury outboard.
Two-time Bassmaster Classic qualifier Terry Scroggins, who took the lead on Day 2, fell to second place Saturday. Scroggins sacked four fish weighing 13 pounds, 2 ounces, totaling out at 53-8.
The Palatka, Fla., resident visited the same spot all three competition days, hoping his waters would hold out. “I fished the first two days aggressively, but just couldn’t get the bites today,” said Scroggins.
Marshall Deakins of Dunlap, Tenn., held on to third place with 18 pounds, 5 ounces today for a total of 52-9. Deakins threw topwater baits in water 3 to 9 feet deep into grass mats.
Todd Wagman of Winter Garden, Fla., jumped from 25th to fourth place, tipping the scales with an impressive 21 pounds, 5 ounces of largemouth including a 7- pound, 9-ounce lunker that earned him the $1,000 Purolator Big Bass bonus. Wagman caught the big bass using a blue and black Rebel Pop-R in patchy grass.
Jay Kendrick of Ooltewah, Tenn. and John Pollard of Eclectic, Ala. tied for fifth with three-day totals of 45-7.
Meanwhile, Calera, Ala., resident Steve Harris hoisted his trophy high after winning the non-boater division. Harris caught three fish weighing 12 pounds, 4 ounces for a three-day total of 32-15, more than 1 pound ahead of second place.
Harris, 47, credited his boater partners for his three good days of fishing. His strategy – pitch and flip heavy jigs in water 2 to 6 feet deep – earned him more than $25,000 in prizes, including a Triton boat with a Mercury outboard.
The last of the three tournaments in the Southern Bassmaster Open division is on Lake Tohopekaliga in Kissimmee, Fla., Oct. 27-29, which also is the site of the 2006 Bassmaster Classic, Feb. 24-26.
The top 25 boaters and non-boaters in CITGO Bassmaster Southern Open points standings advance to the Open Championship on the Alabama River in Prattville, Ala., Dec. 1-4, 2005.
Additionally, the River City Bassmasters hosted a CastingKids competition for youngsters 7-10 and 11-14 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. on at Lake Guntersville State Park prior to the weigh-in. Dusty Walker, 8, of Hollywood, Ala. won the younger age division with 70 points, while 13-year-old Nathan Samuel, a Guntersville local, won the older age division with 90 points. Both competitors received a certificate of participation, gold medallion and Zebco rod and reel. They will advance to the state CastingKids competition.