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      Talk about some Big Ol' Fi$h

      We all have hobbies, whether it's golf, fishing, knitting or sock puppets.

      Some hobbies are just more productive than others.

      Last weekend, Dennis Berhorst's hobby produced a payday of $70,000. How about yours?

      That's what I thought. Mine too.

      Stupid sock puppets.

      Berhorst, 48, Holts Summit, caught a three-day bass total of 47 pounds, 8 ounces of bass to win the EverStart Central Division Tournament that concluded Saturday at the Lake of the Ozarks.

      He won $25,578, plus a Ranger Z518 boat with 200 HP outboard, worth $44,000.

      "To me, it's just unbelievable," Berhorst said. "To win an event like this, it's one of the toughest tournaments to win ... you're fishing against all these FLW pro tour guys who are all down here --- it's a big tournament."

      Just so you know, FLW doesn't stand for Fish Love Water. It's named after Forrest L. Wood, the founder of Ranger Boats. The professional fishing tour was named after Wood in 1996.

      "I was excited, but I was drained," Berhorst said. "I was on the water for 10 straight days, from daylight to darkness. That's how you have to practice for a big tournament like this.

      "I just had a good, solid three days. I knew where the fish were, what they were doing and what depth (10 feet) they were in."

      Okay, to say fishing is Berhorst's hobby would be an understatement. He is good, very good. In other words, he's a professional fisherman ... it just happens to be his hobby.

      His regular job is with River City Construction.

      "That's a guaranteed paycheck," Berhorst said. "I've got a family to raise. If I had a big corporate sponsor, that's what I'd be doing for a living, fishing."

      In his spare time, he's doing pretty well.

      He was in second place after day one and led by one ounce after the second day, when he had a two-day total of 32 pounds, 15 ounces.

      "I stuck where I knew the fish were, I never bailed out," he said. "A lot of times, you bail out because you don't catch a fish for two hours. I didn't do that, I just kept my head up, stuck in there and fished where I knew I had to fish.

      "I never did leave my fish and eventually, I caught them."

      This is no surpise. Berhorst, from 10 paces, can cast a lure in a Mason Jar.

      "I was throwing my bait up in the wells, underneath the boats, underneath the hoists, over the top of the bars ... everything," Berhorst said. "The fish were really tight inside the docks.

      "The key was getting in those real, tight spots, those dark holes. That's where those fish were. Even though it was cloudy, those fish still stayed tight up inside those holes.

      "That was the key to winning the tournament."

      For you serious fishermen/women out there, here's some more insight, courtesy of the FLW website:

      Berhorst caught all of the fish he weighed on a green pumpkin Zoom Brush Hog Texas-rigged on a 4/0 wide gap hook with a 3/8-ounce weight. The bait, he said, does a good job of impersonating bluegill ?? a staple in the largemouth bass diet.

      Berhorst presented his Brush Hogs on 7 1/2-foot flipping outfits with 16-pound Gamma fluorocarbon.

      Not sure about you, but that's what I would have done, too.

      "After I caught a 5 1/2-pounder (around 11 a.m. Saturday)," Berhorst said, "I thought that should win it. I felt pretty confident, but I wasn't sure. It went down to the weigh-in ... there were some guys I didn't know about.

      "But in the end, it turned out pretty good."

      When he competes, Berhorst is decked out like a NASCAR racer. His sponsors include Ranger Boats, Yamaha Motors, St. Croix, Minnkota, Humminbird, Lew's Reels, Gamma, Chompers Baits, Tablerock Bait and Tackle, Fitz's Fishing, T.H. Marine and Numa Sunglasses.

      "If it weren't for sponsors, I couldn't do this," Berhorst said. "It all means so much because otherwise, you can't afford to do it."

      But he has even bigger sponsors.

      "My wife (Dana) and my children," he said, "I couldn't do it without them."

      With his family's support, Berhorst has now won $300,000 in FLW events during his 20-year career, and his total career earnings are around $500,000.

      Some hobbies are just more productive than others, wouldn't you agree?