LAKE WALES, Fla. — CITGO Bassmaster Elite Series angler Terry Scroggins of Palatka, Fla., took the CITGO Bassmaster Southern Open on Lake Tohopekaliga with an 8-pound, 12-ounce sack Saturday, clinching the win from second-place Mark Rizk by more than a pound. Scroggins won a fully rigged Triton boat with Mercury outboard and nearly $10,000 in cash.
"I feel pretty good," said Scroggins. "How you win on Toho with eight pounds, I don't know." Lake Toho, famous for producing the record-breaking 108-12 sack Dean Rojas brought to the scales in 2001, will host the 2006 CITGO Bassmaster Classic, Feb.24-26, in Kissimmee. Scroggins, who has already qualified for the Super Bowl of bass fishing, feels more confident now in his ability to win.
"I'm all set and ready to go," he said. "Even if I hadn't won this tournament, I'd still be confident. This just makes it sweeter."
Scroggins flipped a crawdad lure on all three days of competition and searched for fish in vegetation. The plan was good enough to take the Southern Open and Scroggins said he will use it again in the Classic.
With his win, Scroggins also jumped to first in the Southern Open points standings. The top 25 boaters and non-boaters in those standings advance to the Open Championship on Alabama River in Prattville, Ala., Dec.1-4. Five Classic berths are up for grabs.
Meanwhile, Mark Rizk, 42, of Arab, Ala., held onto second place with 7-15 Saturday for a three-day total of 37-11. Rizk, also second in the points standings, will advance to the championship as well.
"I wanted the points win and the tournament win, but Terry's a tough competitor," said Rizk. "To compete against all of the local guys and still get second is an accomplishment."
The winning non-boater was Josh Rowsky, 30 of Margate, Fla., who took the lead on Day 2. The Southern Open on Toho marked Rowsky's first BASS win and earned him a fully rigged Triton boat with Mercury engine worth $25,000. Originally, Rowsky, whose home suffered damage from Hurricane Wilma in October, wasn't sure if he could make the tournament. "I didn't think I'd be able to fish today, and so this definitely takes the pain away from the hurricane."
Location and Field
CITGO Bassmaster Southern Open