Ehrler weighed in a five-bass limit worth 14 pounds, 11 ounces to win the $125,000 prize after leading wire-to-wire in the four-day tournament that showcased a full field of the best bass-fishing professionals in the world.
The Redlands, Calif., native weighed in 20 bass totaling 60 pounds, 9 ounces throughout the four days of competition. Second-place pro Jacob Powroznik of Prince George, Va., weighed in 20 bass totaling 53 pounds, 5 ounces, giving Ehrler the win with a decisive 7-pound, 4-ounce margin.
“This was one of the toughest tournaments that I have ever fished,” said Ehrler, who became only the third angler in FLW history to surpass $2 million in career earnings with his win on Sunday. “I was so stressed out. I was waking up at 2 or 3 a.m. every morning thinking about where I was going to fish that day. Fortunately, I was able to catch a couple of big ones off of a couple of areas where I knew they lived. They were very tough to catch, though.”
Ehrler said he fished mostly around the main body of Ryan Creek and never tried venturing back into the pockets as some anglers did.
“Those fish are coming off that main river and starting to stage,” he said. “They were suspending deep on the trees. I would throw the Senko, and the bait would take a long time to get down there.”
After his second-place finish at the first FLW Tour event of the year last month at Lake Okeechobee and his victory on Lewis Smith Lake, Ehrler now has his sights set on even bigger prizes — Kellogg’s Angler of the Year and Forrest Wood Cup champion.
“I’ve been real close in the past, but I’ve never had that Angler of the Year title,” Ehrler said.
“To be in the hunt for Angler of the Year feels really great right now, but my number one goal is always to make it to the Forrest Wood Cup. That’s the most prestigious tournament that you can ever win. We’re early in the season, but I feel good right now and I hope it can pan out for me for the rest of the year.”
The top 10 pros were: 1st: Brent Ehrler, Redlands, Calif., 20 bass, 60-9, $125,000, 2nd: Jacob Powroznik, Prince George, Va., 20 bass, 53-5, $35,000, 3rd: Andy Morgan, Dayton, Tenn., 20 bass, 50-8, $30,000, 4th: Jason Christie, Park Hill, Okla., 20 bass, 50-5, $25,000, 5th: Koby Kreiger, Okeechobee, Fla., 20 bass, 50-3, $20,000, 6th: Zell Rowland, Montgomery, Texas, 19 bass, 49-9, $17,000, 7th: Tommy Biffle, Wagoner, Okla., 20 bass, 47-4, $16,000, 8th: Cody Meyer, Auburn, Calif., 20 bass, 46-5, $15,000, 9th: Anthony Gagliardi, Prosperity, S.C., 20 bass, 45-13, $14,000, 10th: Ray Scheide, Dover, Ark., 20 bass, 43-14, $13,000.
Overall there were 50 bass weighing 116 pounds, 10 ounces caught by pros Saturday.
Hoyt Tidwell of West Point, Tenn, won the co-angler division and $20,000 Saturday with a three-day total of 15 bass weighing 34 pounds, 1 ounce followed by Anthony Goggins of Auburn, Ala.