Championship presented by Castrol on Lake Hamilton. The half-million dollar check
is the largest first-place award in professional bass fishing.
Cochran entered the event as the No. 16 seed and displaced No. 33
seed Sandy Melvin of Boca Grande, Fla., at the end of the first
round. During Friday’s semifinal round, Cochran was paired against
No. 9 seed Brent Chapman of Lake Quivira, Kan. There, he again
brought in a limit of bass to defeat Chapman and advance to the final
round where he ultimately claimed the half-million dollar prize.
When you get to be my age, it seems like the most important victories
are at the end, Cochran laughed. I don’t think I’ll have to worry
about money for a while.
But money is just a tool. I love to fish, and I love competing
against my friends.
Cochran pointed out that in a tournament of this caliber, anglers
need to have an ace in the hole.
There are very few times that everything goes just like you plan,
Cochran said, but I had a bank where I knew I could catch some fish.
I didn’t touch it at all during practice or during the tournament
until today. But I went in there this morning, missed one on the
first cast and landed a keeper on the second cast. I had my limit in
the boat by 9 o’clock. That bank was my ‘ace in the hole.’
Cochran, well-known for being a master of shallow-water angling,
threw topwater lures, including Baby Chug Bugs and buzzbaits, and a
5-inch trick worm. He concentrated on fish around boat docks in
particular, where heavy, line-shredding cables made fishing with
heavy, 15-pound monofilament a must.
The bite was best early in the day before bass could get a good look
at anglers’ lures. Working the topwater lures at a quick pace was the
key to getting strikes, according to Cochran, who fished within site
of his lakeside home during the entire event.
Cochran, a veteran of tournament fishing on the FLW Tour, as well as
the Bassmaster Tour, had more than $1.24 million worth of winnings to
his credit prior to this event, including two Bassmaster Classic wins
in 1987 and 1996. Now, his career earnings come to a total of
$1,742,509 an increase of more than 40 percent.
Cochran has qualified for the Forrest L. Wood Championship five
times, but this was the first time he’s ever won the event. Following
this year’s Bassmaster Classic, Cochran said he’ll be exclusively
fishing the FLW Tour in 2006.
The top 48 anglers from the six-event 2005 Wal-Mart FLW Tour advanced
to the championship. Anglers were seeded according to their year-end
ranking, with the No. 1 pro fishing head-to-head against the No. 48
seed, the No. 2 seed fishing against the No. 47 seed, and so on. The
twelve anglers who advanced to the final round fished for the
heaviest weight of the day.
Rounding out the top five pros were Chad Grigsby of Colon, Mich.
(five bass, 6 pounds, 7 ounces, $50,000); John Murray of Phoenix,
Ariz., (five bass, 5 pounds, 4 ounces, $40,000); Dean Rojas of Grand
Saline, Texas (five bass, 5 pounds, 4 ounces, $35,000); and Anthony
Gagliardi of Prosperity, S.C. (five bass, 5 pounds, $30,000). Murray
and Rojas had identical final-round totals, but Murray took third
place because he was the higher seed entering the event.
Friday’s action saw the conclusion of the co-angler competition after
the co-angler field cut down from 48 to 24 on Thursday. Trevor
Janscasz of White Pigeon, Mich., walked away with a check for
$25,000, thanks to his tournament-winning catch of three bass
weighing 6 pounds, 10 ounces.
Allen Tillery Chevrolet held a drawing to award a bass boat to one
lucky fan. Army National Guard Sgt. Daniel Geremy Newman, 28, of Hot
Springs won the new Ranger Z-20 Comanche worth $47,500. The boat is
powered by Yamaha, EverStart Batteries, Garmin electronics and a Minn
Kota trolling motor.
Forrest L. Wood Championship winner George Cochran of Hot Springs,
Ark., entered the event with $1,242,509 in pro bass-fishing earnings
accumulated through his 26-year career one of the most successful
careers in the sport. With the $500,000 payday he collected Saturday
in Hot Springs, Cochran boosted his career earnings by 40.2 percent
BFGoodrich Tires pro Chad Grigsby of Colon, Mich., finished the
championship in second place. The top-10 finish was Grigsby’s third
of the year, and he ended the 2005 FLW Tour season with earnings of
Once again, the fishing on Lake Hamilton was very tough. Only the top
five pros caught 5 pounds or more.
The 12 pro finalists at the Forrest L. Wood Championship have career
earnings totaling $9,290,185 and have 101 Forrest L. Wood
Championship and Bassmaster Classic appearances, including five wins.
Cochran’s final-round bass were worth $3,067.48 per ounce more than
seven times the current value of gold at $420 per ounce.