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Locals fare well at national fishing event

POSTED: April 9, 2009 11:47 p.m.
/For The Times

Matthew Wilbanks of Gainesville placed fourth.

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EUFAULA, Ala. – Tom Mann Jr. of Buford finished second at the FLW Series event on Lake Eufaula on April 4 with a four-day total of 78 pounds, 8 ounces worth $50,000.

Mann spent the week fishing submerged hydrilla in a creek on the lower end of the lake.

"I had about a 500-yard stretch of pretty, green hydrilla that grew out into three to five feet of water," Mann said. "It was a perfect staging area, positioned between a couple of spawning bays, but what really made it good was that the old creek channel bumped up alongside the grass line."

The biggest limit of Day 4 belonged to Matthew Wilbanks of Gainesville, who brought in 26 pounds, 7 ounces to wow the weigh-in crowd.

His four-day total of 75 pounds, 15 ounces put him in fourth place, worth $30,000.

Wilbanks might have walked away with the event if he had not gotten off to such a slow start on Day 1 with just six pounds, three ounces.

"My primary area died, and I did not go to my secondary area until it was too late on Day 1" Wilbanks said.

"The secondary area is where I needed to be from the start as my second-day weight showed."

On Day 2 Wilbanks sacked 26 pounds, on Day 3 17-5 and 26-7 on Day 4 .

"The best grass was surrounded by water on all sides," he said. "A lot of that grass down there grows in a solid mat off the bank. But if you could find grass islands with water all the way around it, that was the ticket."

Rob Hicks of Lula placed 11th in the event, netting $1,300.



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