KENTUCKY ANGLERS WIN TRITON OWNERS TOURNAMENT
A cold front, strong east winds, heavy boat traffic and rough water could not stop Donald Cordle Jr. and Larry Noel from catching over 22 pounds of bass to win the fifth annual Triton Owners Tournament, which wrapped up June 26 at Kentucky Dam Village State Park, Gilbertsville, Ky.
The event, held on Kentucky and Barkley lakes, drew Triton boat owners and their families from across the nation. During two preliminary days of competition, over 450 teams of nglers were whittled down to 225 teams which fished Saturday for cash payouts totaling $100,000.
Cordle, a Triton owner from Hopkinsville, Ky., and Noel, of Cadiz, Ky., fished offshore ledges on Lake Barkley to weigh in five largemouth bass totaling 22.62 pounds, beating out the second place team by over 5 pounds and pocketing $10,000 for their efforts. All of Cordle's and Noel's fish were caught on a half-ounce black and blue Lunker Lure Rattleback Jig with a Gene Larew trailer.
The Kentucky team, veterans of the local tournament scene, caught 30 bass during the day, including 15 keepers. Their winning stringer had three bass weighing over 5 pounds. "Our fish were 8 to 10 feet deep on top of ledges, and with the cold front we had today, they wanted the jig moved real slow," Noel said. "I caught the first 5-pounder on my fifth cast, then around 10:30 a.m., I hooked one over 6 pounds that got off,
which devastated us both. We sat down in the boat for five minutes to calm down, then got up, made a few more casts and caught another 5 pounder."
Cordle and Noel ran 35 miles each way to their fishing spots, coping with churning water and weekend traffic from commercial barges, cabin cruisers and other fishing boats. "Barkley was as rough as I'd ever seen it, but my Triton handled the conditions beautifully," Cordle said.
Dwayne Nesmith of Island, Ky. and Brian Thomas of Dawson Springs, Ky. boated 17.59 pounds to finish second and take home $5,500. Dwight Terwilliger and Calvin Bell, Jr., both of Ashland City, Tenn., copped third place, $3,500, with 17.39 pounds.
In a blind drawing among all 450 competitors, Gregg Sanders of Jackson, Tenn. won a Triton Tr-21X bass boat equipped with a 225 hp Mercury OptiMax outboard, Motor Guide trolling motor and Lowrance electronics, valued at over $40,000.
The weigh-in was emceed by Ray Scott, founder of the Bass Anglers Sportsman Society. Scott, credited with creating the concept of modern-day bass tournament fishing, said, "The Triton Owners Tournament is a reflection of the camaraderie and sportsmanship that makes bass fishing a uniquely American sport. These are hard-working folks with day
jobs, not professional anglers, yet every year they haul their Triton boats from as far away as Washington and Vermont to fish this tournament. That shows the tremendous loyalty that Triton owners feel to the brand, and to each other."
"This event is not just a bass tournament, it's a family homecoming, and our way of expressing our appreciation to our loyal customers," said Triton vice president of marketing Neal Hart. "Triton owners have been bringing their families to this tournament for five years now, and many lasting friendships have been formed. Rarely do you see a group of
people come together in support of each other like you do here. Of course, they're fishing for plenty of money, but you'd never know it because the feeling of fellowship is so strong among the competitors." Family activities held during the annual event include bicycle drawings for kids, a ladies‚ "dash for cash" and a catered cookout, Hart added.
The 2005 Triton Owners Tournament will be held at Pickwick and Wilson lakes in Florence, Ala., with dates to be announced.
Triton is the official boat of the ESPN Bass Masters Classic, the most prestigious fishing tournament in the outdoor industry. For additional information on Triton Boats and the Triton Owners Tournament, log onto the company's website, www.tritonboats.com, call 1-888-8TRITON, or see
an authorized Triton Boats dealer.