LAKEPORT, Calif. — Firsts came in bunches for Jim White this week.
In his first BASS tournament, the computer salesman from West Lake Village, Calif., had a bag that is believed to rank first among co-anglers in an Elite Series Event. That 33-pound, 8-ounce stringer on Friday also helped him take first in the Golden State Shootout presented by Evan Williams Bourbon.
Heading into Saturday's final, White led local Bob Myskey of Nice by 10-11. White's final-day catch of 16-0 left him coming to the scales a touch nervous.
"I was scared today," he said, flashing intermittent smiles as he held the trophy and answered questions from the media. "I figured I needed to come in with 18 to 20 pounds today to be comfortable. I was sweating it. I thought I had about 15 pounds, when I came in and I had 16."
His three-day total of 72-9 gave him good clearance on first-day leader Ron Tyson of Marietta, Ga., who fell to third on Day Two but jumped over Myskey to take second with 66-2. Myskey finished third at 63-5.
White, who fishes team tournaments in southern California with his wife, said he was split-shotting and drop-shotting 6-and-7 inch Robo worms in oxblood light and redfleck. Most of his fish came in water 10 to 15 feet deep.
"None of my pros fished on beds," he said. "We did some dock fishing today. Yesterday we were in open water. I liked that. We were looking for staging fish. We weren't looking for fish on the beds, and that was where the biggers ones were."
Competiting in tournaments since 1974, White ranks seventh for the Angler of the Year on the Western Outdoor News team circuit, where he partners with his wife. He's competed in the U.S. Open eight times, but this stands as his biggest victory.
White takes home the $50,000 first-prize package. Tyson received $25,000 and Myskey won $5,000.
Tyson was hurt by a 4-ounce dead fish penalty, but not being able to cull the 2-and-half pounder hurt worse.
"I couldn't cull him," said Tyson, who also lost a a10-pounder. "He came up and ate a swimbait but he spit it up, it just came out."
A vision of calm after taking the lead with his huge bag on Friday, White said his mind was a tad occupied early Saturday morning.
"I was up at 2 o'clock, and I didn't get back to sleep," he said.
Maybe now he can get another first — his first good night of sleep.
Editors Note: ESPNOutdoors.com's new and exclusive pre-game show, Hooked Up, will start at 6 p.m. (ET) on Sunday, April 1. It will be hosted by ESPN2 Bassmaster television hosts Tommy Sanders and Jerry McKinnis, and can be seen in the same location on ESPNOutdoors.com where the live video weigh-in is streamed.