Chickamauga’s Buddy Gross continues to make a name for himself as professional angler.
Gross, a second-year tour pro in the FLW Series (Fishing League Worldwide), was recently named the Costa FLW Southeastern Division Strike King Angler of the Year.
The Lakeview-Fort Oglethorpe alum finished the Costa Series with 708 points to beat out Randy Haynes of Counce, Tenn.(704) and Furman (Joe) Thompson of Clayton, Ga. (699) for the top spot.
He began the year by bagging 15 fish worth 45 pounds, 2 ounces to place eighth on Lake Okeechobee in late January, but early March saw him arrive at Lake Seminole on the Georgia-Florida border and catch 15 fish totaling 65 pounds, 11 ounces. That total was enough to win the tournament and earn a check worth $52,000.
It was his first FLW tournament victory since his $100,000 breakthrough win at Lake Pickwick back in 2016.
He battled tough weather conditions and managed just 32 pounds, 10 ounces on the familiar waters of Lake Chickamauga in early May, bringing him home in 36th place. However, it was enough to secure the Angler of the Year award.
To date, Gross has won $64,600 so far this season, including a $2,000 package that includes paid tournament deposits for the 2018 season.
The 2018 FLW Tour will have stops at Lake Okeechobee (Fla.), Harris Chain (Fla.), Lake Lanier (Ga.), Lake Cumberland (Ky.), Smith Lake (Ala.), Kentucky Lake (Ky.) and Lake St. Clair Metropark (Mich.).