Bass anglers invade Fort Loudoun and Tellico lakes

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June 18, 2008

KNOXVILLE – The $9.5 million Wal-Mart FLW Tour will stop in Knoxville, Tenn., June 19-22 for its fifth regular-season tournament, a $1 million event presented by BP that will feature 400 anglers from 35 states, Australia, Mexico and Japan fishing for top awards of $125,000 cash in the Pro Division and $25,000 cash in the Co-angler Division.

Lucrative awards are available to fans as well, as the tournament is also the fifth stop of the year for the richest fantasy sports league in history, FLW Fantasy Fishing™, which offers total awards of $7.3 million, including $100,000 cash guaranteed to the top Fantasy Fishing player following every FLW Tour stop and the Forrest Wood Cup. Fans can even become a virtual pro by signing up for Player’s Advantage, which grants access to exclusive insider information that could help them earn a record $1 million as the FLW Fantasy Fishing cumulative points winner. Those who visit FantasyFishing.com, sign up for Player’s Advantage and register a team of FLW Tour anglers for Knoxville by June 18 will receive a complimentary $15 Wal-Mart gift card.

One angler likely to be on many FLW Fantasy Fishing teams for the tournament is BP pro David Walker, a former Land O’Lakes Angler of the Year who lives in nearby Sevierville, Tenn., and has earned 33 top-10 finishes in FLW Outdoors competition.

“Bed fishing was the predominant pattern during last year’s Knoxville event,” Walker said. “Since the tournament is in June, that won’t be the case this time. As far as conditions go, there hasn’t been a drought or flooding, and the lakes are at normal summer pool just like they should be. Both Loudoun and Tellico fish a little bit differently,” he added. “There’s a canal that connects the two lakes, but Loudoun is a bit muddier and Tellico has much cleaner water.”

Walker said anglers will find success fishing deep as well as fishing docks, although he said he expects to see a good variety of patterns being fished by anglers who make the cut to the top 10.

He predicts anglers will need limits of 3-pound fish to make the cut to the top 10 and the final two days of competition.

“It’s not going to be a slugfest where it will take 20 pounds a day to do well,” Walker said. “That’s just not the nature of the lakes. Thirteen to 14 pounds a day is probably what you should hope for, and if you can do that every day for four days, you’ll probably win.”

The Knoxville FLW Tour stop will feature many touring pros from the surrounding area, but Walker said that doesn’t necessarily mean they will fare well during the tournament.

“Local knowledge is important when guys are fishing specific spots, like at Lake Erie,” he said. “A local advantage at Erie means a lot there. When we go to places where developing a pattern is more important than where you go, the local knowledge can pretty much be your demise instead of being a help to you.

“I think that because of the sheer number of local guys that will be fishing the event, I think we’ll see a couple of them make the top-10 cut,” Walker added. “I don’t think it will be because they know the lake better than anyone else. I think it will be because we have a lot of guys who live close who will be fishing in it.”

Anglers will take off at 6:30 a.m. each day from the Tellico Recreational Area Ramp east of Lenoir City, Tenn., at the junction of highways 321 and 444. Thursday and Friday’s weigh-ins will also be held at the Tellico Recreational Area Ramp beginning at 3 p.m. Saturday and Sunday’s weigh-ins will be held at the Knoxville Convention Center located at701 Henley St. in Knoxville beginning at 4 p.m.

In conjunction with the weigh-ins Saturday and Sunday, FLW Outdoors will host a free Family Fun Zone and outdoor show at the Knoxville Convention Center from noon to 6 p.m. each day. The Family Fun Zone offers fans a chance to meet their Fantasy Fishing team anglers face-to-face and review the latest products from Berkley, Lowrance, Ranger, Evinrude, Yamaha and other sponsors while children are treated to giveaways, fishing themed games and rides like the Ranger Boat simulator. Children 14 and under visiting the Family Fun Zone on Sunday will receive a free rod and reel combo while supplies last. One lucky member of the audience will even win a new Ranger boat during the final 4 p.m. weigh-in Sunday, June 22. Admission is free, and you must be present to win.

In FLW Tour competition, pros and co-anglers are randomly paired each day, with pros supplying the boat, controlling boat movement and competing against other pros. Co-anglers fish from the back deck against other co-anglers. The full field of 400 anglers competes in the two-day opening round for one of 10 slots in Saturday’s competition based on their two-day accumulated weight. Weights are cleared for day three, and co-angler competition concludes following Saturday’s weigh-in. The top 10 pros continue competition Sunday, with the winner determined by the heaviest accumulated weight from days three and four.

The total purse for the Fort Loudoun-Tellico Lakes event is $1 million, including $10,000 through 50th place in the Pro Division.
Coverage of the tournament, hosted by the Knoxville Tourism and Sports Corporation and the Loudon County Visitors Bureau, will be broadcast to 81 million FSN (Fox Sports Net) subscribers in the United States as part of the “FLW Outdoors” television programs airing Aug. 10 and Aug. 17. “FLW Outdoors” is also broadcast in Canada on WFN (World Fishing Network) and to more than 429 million households in the United Kingdom, Europe, Russia, Australia, Africa, Asia, and the Middle East through a distribution agreement with Matchroom Sport, making it the most widely distributed fishing program in the world. The program airs Sunday mornings at 11 Eastern time in most markets. Check local listings for times in your area.

The FLW Tour will award $9.5 million cash to the world’s top bass anglers in 2008. Regular-season competition includes three $1 million qualifiers and three $1.5 million opens. Each event takes anglers a step closer to the $2 million Forrest Wood Cup presented by Castrol, which will be held Aug. 14-17 on Lake Murray in Columbia, S.C. The prestigious championship and outdoor show hosted by the Capital City Lake Murray County Regional Tourism Board will feature 77 pros, 77 co-anglers and bass fishing’s largest cash award – a potential $1 million first-place prize for the winning pro.

FLW Outdoors, named after Forrest L. Wood, the legendary founder of Ranger Boats, is the largest fishing tournament organization in the world. In 2008 alone the organization is offering more than 90,000 anglers the chance to win over $40 million through 230 tournaments in 10 circuits targeting bass, walleye, redfish, kingfish and striped bass. FLW Outdoors is also taking fishing mainstream with the largest cash awards in the history of fantasy sports, $7.3 million.


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