Paris, TN (May 10, 2018) –
In only his third elite series tournament since joining the Bassmaster Elite Series tour earlier this year, Wesley Strader reined in a whopping 80 lbs in a four-day total, taking first place at the tournament at Kentucky Lake in Tennessee on Monday.
The tournament started with 108 anglers, then cut to 50, then 12, and now there is one. When asked how it feels, Strader responded, “It feels sweet!”
It may have been only his third event since joining the Bassmaster Elite Series, but Stader is no rookie. He had a successful 20-year career as a part of the Fishing League Worldwide(FLW) tour. Back in 1997, at the very same lake that he won at today, he fished in his first tournament. His last overall victory was in March 2002 at Lake Ouachita on the FLW Tour.
“This just solidifies me,” Strader said. “I’m always the bridesmaid so, this is one of those weeks where everything just went the right way. I got on one stretch, and it was just hot.”
Strader began getting emotional, saying it was a day he wouldn’t forget, right up there with the day he got his first kiss. Strader has been fishing all his life, even a part of the Bass Club in high school at Rockwood High in Tennessee. He told his teacher when he grew up that he was going to be a professional fisherman, to which she replied he wouldn’t ever make any money with that career. He has since proved her wrong. Any of the naysayers that have tried to discourage Wesley through the years have only made him work harder.
Life of a professional angler can be tough. There are weeks you go out and you don’t make money. Then, the next week you may catch a lot and do well. Wesley has been fortunate and had a very successful 20 years with the FLW. This year, he had to choose between the FLW and Bassmaster Elite Series due to scheduling conflicts. He was taking a chance, jumping out of his comfort zone.
Before the trophy presentation, the announcer talked about the change. Strader said, “I never changed jobs, I just changed companies. I love all my FLW people, but I love my BASS people too.”
Emotions took over as Strader said, “I love fishing as much at 46 as I did at 6.”
After being presented with the 2018 Berkeley Bassmaster Elite Series Kentucky Lake Champion Trophy Stephanie Strader, his wife, joined him on stage. Together they make Team Strader.
She said, “This man works harder than anybody I know. He’s driven, he’s ambitious, he doesn’t quit. I admire him, and I love him more than anything. I would’ve given him my right arm today for him to win this. It’s not about winning this for the family, I wanted it for him.”
Strader thanked a number of his sponsors during the trophy presentation, closing the list by saying, “The main one I have to thank is Hellas Construction. Reed Seaton stepped up about four years ago and took a chance on me. I lost my deal (sponsor), he stepped up, and if you don’t know what Hellas Construction is, they are the industry leader in the turf business, they did the Dallas Cowboys Stadium, the turf, but they do complete stadiums. It’s a great company and a great man. I am glad he took a chance on me, and this is as much his as it is mine.”
Hellas President and CEO Reed J. Seaton said, “I am thrilled to see Wesley reach one of the pinnacles of success in professional angling, a dream he has pursued so long. He has worked very hard to reach this milestone. Hellas is proud to sponsor Wesley Strader and looks forward to his continued success with the Bassmaster Elite Series. When I think about Wesley’s principles in life and his ability to persevere to the top of his profession, I know we have our brand on the right man.”
About Wesley Strader a professional Bassmaster Elite Angler, originally from Rockwood, TN. Was an angler in the FLW since 1997, joining the Bassmaster Elite Series in 2018. To see more about Wesley or see his tour schedule visit straderfishing.com.
About Hellas Construction, Inc. headquartered in Austin, TX, is one of the largest sports construction contractors in the United States. While specializing in the general construction of sports facilities and synthetic surfaces, Hellas also champions innovative artificial turf manufacturing, base construction, field, track and tennis planning, installation and maintenance. Hellas Construction is the Official Turf Provider of the Dallas Cowboys at AT&T Stadium, The Star at Frisco TX, and Ford Center. Hellas is the Preferred Turf Provider of the Houston Texans at NRG Stadium, the exclusive turf provider for the Jacksonville Jaguars at their new indoor practice facility at Daily’s Place, next to EverBank Field in Florida, and the official partner of the Miami Dolphins, installing turf at their indoor practice facility at the Baptist Health Training Facility at Nova Southeastern University in Davie, Florida. To learn more about Hellas Construction, visit hellasconstruction.com.
About The Bassmaster Elite Series is the highest level of professional bass fishing tournaments. Competitors must qualify for the series through the Bass Pro Shops Bassmaster Opens or the B.A.S.S. Nation, and anglers who are already on the Elite Series must re-qualify each year by maintaining enough points throughout the season. The pro anglers compete all season for the opportunity to win points toward the Toyota Bassmaster Angler of the Year award and to qualify for the Bassmaster Classic. Visit www.bassmaster.com.
Fishing League Worldwide (FLW) is the premier tournament fishing organization that provides unparalleled fishing resources and entertainment to our anglers, sponsors, fans, and host communities. Through a variety of platforms including touraments, expos, international media, and creative marketing strategies, FLW is committed to providing a lifestyle experience that is the best in fishing, on and off the water. Visit www.flwfishing.com.
About the Dallas Cowboys Football Club headquartered at The Star in Frisco, TX. A 1960 expansion franchise in the NFL awarded to Clint Murchison, Jr. and Bedford Wynne. Bought in 1984, by H.R. “Bum” Bright and then sold to current owner Jerry Jones in 1989. They are a part of the NFC East Conference with an overall 34-27 playoff record. The 5-time World Champion Dallas Cowboys have had 3 home fields since 1960, the Cotton Bowl, Texas Stadium, and now AT&T Stadium. Visit dallascowboys.com.