Original Caption: Brent Ehrler fought for a fish on Friday, the third day of the EverStart Series Championship bass tournament. He came away the winner yesterday and took home a check for $45,000. November 2004, Lexington Herald-Leader, photo credit: Yasutaka Ogasawara/FLW Outdoors.

In today’s historical photo Friday Finale, Early Ehrler, we take a look at an image that’s less than 20 years old.  Still, it’s actually one of the older national news photos I could track down of Brent Ehrler, then just 27 years old, and fishing in only his second tournament east of the Mississippi River.

The native southern Californian, already a threat and name on western circuits, held off local favorite H.C. Sumpter, to win the EverStart Series Championship on Lake Cumberland.

Here are a couple quotes from Ehrler from the article, titled Bait and Switch: Californian Reels in Big Bass, Big Cash, that appeared in the Lexington Herald-Leader in November 2004.

“I fished a jig the whole time and covered a lot of water,” said Ehrler, 27, of Redlands, Calif., who boated four bass on both days of the final round to take home $45,000 in cash (including bonuses) and a fully rigged Ranger boat.  “I looked for wood in the backs of main lake cuts between Conley Bottom and Harmon Creek, and fished in Beaver, Indiana, Otter and some other large creeks in the lower lake.”

He fished a locally made D&L Jig (3/8 and 5/16-ounce) in Cumberland Craw color with a watermelon green and pumpkin chunk.

Other notable names in the top 10 were Carolina-rig expert Lloyd Pickett, Jr. (3rd), Greg Pugh (4th), Ramie Colson, Jr. (6th), Dion Hibdon (8th), and Pete Gluszek (9th).