PALATKA, Fla., Dec. 8, 2001 -  Terry Scroggins proved that his advanced billing as the heavy pre-tournament favorite in the $250,000 Florida CITGO BASSMASTER Eastern Open presented by Yamaha was well deserved by putting the finishing touches Saturday on an 8-pound-plus victory.

The 33-year-old auto shop owner from Palatka entered Saturday's final round on the St. Johns River with a 3-pound cushion. Scroggins expanded that lead considerably with a 15-pound, 3-ounce five bass limit that enabled him to blow away the field. His three-day total of 40-15 was 8 pounds, 3 ounces ahead of runner-up Danny White of Georgia (32-12) and easily earned him his first B.A.S.S. victory (worth $51,000).

Terry Scroggins wasn't the only Scroggins to score a big victory Saturday. His 10-year-old son Jonathan was one of two winners in the BASSMASTER CastingKids event, presented by Chevy Trucks and CITGO, earlier in the day.

"I'm really happy to win this thing, said Scroggins, who estimates he has won more than 300 tournaments of various sizes on the St. Johns River. "I thought I could win it when I shook off over 100 fish in practice. Although I caught over 60 fish during the actual tournament, it got a little tougher.

"Today went pretty well, but it didn't start off well because the tide wasn't running for the first two hours. I finally put a decent limit together and then was able to improve it. But overall, it was tougher fishing today."

Scroggins fished several spots on the main river with two lures: a Carolina-rigged Zoom Finesse Worm; a gold-and-green Heddon Zara Spook with a white Front Runner teaser tied inches in front of it. Most of his catch came on the redbud-colored worm as it was dragged across the river bottom. The Spook was put into action whenever schooling bass sporadically surfaced within casting range.

Four of the top five finishers utilized a Carolina-rigged Zoom Finesse Worm in the river as part of their pattern. Among them was White, a Georgia Power employee, who climbed from third to second Saturday with a limit weighing 10-15. It is his second B.A.S.S. runner-up finish.

"I'll take second place, I'm happy with that," White said. "I fished about as well as I could this week. I'm happy with my performance."

Mark Pattison, a 34-year-old custom-cabinet shop owner from Wisconsin, dropped from second to third Saturday on the basis of his 8 1/2 pound catch. He finished with 31-4. "I'm thrilled to do so well," Pattison said. "I fished the same 50-yard stretch of the river all week. Fortunately, I had to all to myself, which is a luxury in one of these tournaments."

Virginia's Chris Daves finished fourth with 28-14, followed by David Foshee of Florida with 28-3.

Alabama's Rusty Taylor took Saturday's big-bass honors with a 5-pound, 6-ounce largemouth.

The Florida CITGO BASSMASTER Eastern Open presented by Yamaha will be broadcast on ESPN2 on March 2, 2002 at 10:30 a.m. (Eastern). The event will also be rebroadcast on March 8 at 10:30 a.m. and March 15 at 10 a.m. and 4 p.m.

By sanctioning over 20,000 tournaments worldwide, B.A.S.S. is the world's largest fishing organization. The CITGO BASSMASTER Tournament Trail is the oldest and most prestigious pro bass fishing tournament circuit. It continues to set the standard for credibility, professionalism, and sportsmanship after more than three decades.

Sponsors of the CITGO BASSMASTER Eastern Open event include: CITGO, Chevrolet Trucks, Mercury Marine, Yamaha Outboards, Triton Boats, Skeeter Boats, Lowrance Electronics, Pennzoil Marine, Flowmaster Exhaust Systems, Stowaway Batteries, Kumho Tires, Long John Silver's, Gore-Tex Outerwear, MotorGuide Trolling Motors, Bass Pro Shops, Armstrong Industrial Hand Tools, GMAC/ B.A.S.S. Vehicle & Boat Insurance, B.A.S.S. Platinum Visa/First USA.

Associate Sponsors include: Bass Cat Boats and G3 Boats

Story Courtesy of B.A.S.S., Inc.