PLATTSBURGH - Shinichi Fukae of Palestine, Tx., was named the winner of the four-day FLW Series Eastern Division tournament on Lake Champlain Aug. 28.
Fukae caught a five-bass limit Aug. 28 weighing 18 pounds, 7 ounces. The catch gave him the $49,349 win by a mere 5-ounces over Chevy pro Anthony Gagliardi of Prosperity, S.C., who caught a total of 20 bass weighing 73-7 and earned $19,740.
"I just fish," said Fukae, who was looking for pay back after a 5th place at Lake Champlain in 2006 and 6th in 2008. "I drop-shot all week with a shad shape worm.
"Today, I almost broke the camera guy," Fukae replied when asked about the high winds that affected Lake Champlain Aug. 28. "Waves were really bad, I lost two fishing poles."
Fukae opened the tournament in 12th place Wednesday with five bass weighing 18-12 that he caught on a drop-shot while fishing the Inland Sea. On Aug. 26, he added another five bass weighing 18-12 to jump into third place. He then caught five bass weighing 17-13 Aug. 27 to make the crucial top-five cut in second place. On Aug. 28, he sealed his victory using the same drop-shot with a shad shape worm that had worked for him all week.
When asked about his weigh marks, Fukae indicated he had 980 on Lake Champlain; however, he only used 15 of those spots for this tournament. Fishing suspended fish in 30-40 feet of water he indicated he was looking for bait fish that resembled shad.
Rounding out the top-five pros were: Jason Ober, Johnstown, Pa., 20 bass, 70-10, $14,805, third place; Andy Montgomery, Blacksburg, S.C., 20 bass, 70-1, $9,870; fourth place; David Wolak, Wake Forest, N.C., 20 bass, 66-9, $8,883, fifth place.
The remaining pro anglers in the top-10 were Michael Wolfenden, Warwick, R.I., 15 bass, 52-14, $8,389, sixth place; Jim Gildea, Weston, Mass., 15 bass, 51-12, $7,896, seventh place; Jason Knapp, Uniontown, Pa., 15 bass, 51-1, $7,402, eighth place; Scott Parker, Londonderry, N.H., 15 bass, 50-11, $6,909, ninth place; and Lancen Halbert, Enoree, S.C., 15 bass, 50-7, $6,415; 10th place.