June 19, 2008
KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (June 19, 2008) – Team National Guard pro Scott Martin of Clewiston, Fla., crossed the weigh-in stage Thursday with a five-bass limit weighing 20 pounds, 11 ounces to lead day one of the Wal-Mart FLW Tour® Fort Loudoun-Tellico Lakes event. Martin now holds a slim 9-ounce lead in the $1 million tournament featuring 400 anglers from 35 states, Mexico, Australia and Japan.
Martin and his fellow competitors faced clear skies as they left the Tellico Recreational Area Ramp early Thursday morning. The fishing was good, and many anglers caught bigger bags than they expected to.
“I had a pretty miserable practice,” said Martin, who has won more than $778,000 in FLW Outdoors competition. “I found one or two areas a day in practice and was real concerned about how many boats would be around, and fortunately I didn’t have anybody bother me today, and that was a big factor.
“I caught a couple of big largemouth and a big smallmouth this morning, and then later in the day caught another smallmouth,” Martin added. “That was kind of a bonus for me.”
Martin said the deep bite that so many anglers found on the first day of competition wasn’t very productive for him. Martin said a lack of current was keeping his deep bite from developing.
“Really, I’m just looking for the bait,” Martin said. “That’s the main pattern. And looking for some shad and finding some active fish and trying to find some shallow structure the shad are around. It was kind of an all-day process.”
Martin said he fished both deep off-shore areas as well as near the bank in the pursuit for the 10 keeper fish he caught.
“In the mornings you’re pretty much fishing the banks and later in the afternoon, when the current tries to run, you try to catch them in deep water,” Martin said. “They’re just not pulling enough water to get them deep.”
Rounding out the top five pros are Team Castrol pro David Dudley of Lynchburg, Va. (five bass, 20-02); Andy Morgan of Dayton, Tenn. (five bass, 19-07); Team Prilosec pro Craig Powers of Rockwood, Tenn. (five bass, 17-10) and Jerry Green of Del Rio, Texas (five bass, 17-00).
Second-place Dudley remained tight-lipped about his day on the water.
He nodded in the affirmative when asked if he caught his fish on a crankbait and did reveal that he caught some fish on ledges.
“I can’t say too much because there’s too many people in the area, and if I spill any more than I should … I can’t really talk about it,” Dudley said.
Stacy King of Reeds Spring, Mo., earned the day’s $750 Snickers Big Bass award in the Pro Division thanks to a 5-pound, 15-ounce bass he caught on a large Texas-rigged plum-colored plastic worm. If that weight holds up Friday as the heaviest of the two-day opening round, he will earn an additional $1,000.
Overall there were 728 bass weighing 1,543 pounds, 12 ounces caught by 190 pros Thursday. The catch included 98 five-bass limits.
Pros are competing for a top award of $125,000 this week plus valuable points in the hope of qualifying for the $2 million Forrest Wood Cup presented by Castrol in Columbia, S.C., Aug. 14-17, where they could win as much as $1 million – the sport’s biggest award.
Tournament pros aren’t the only ones winning big this season. With the introduction of FLW Fantasy Fishing™, which offers $7.3 million in cash and prizes, FLW Outdoors® presents anyone with the opportunity to land the catch of a lifetime. Players in the lucrative new fantasy sports league can become virtual pros by signing up for Player’s Advantage, which provides exclusive insider information that could guide them to a $100,000 victory at every Wal-Mart FLW Tour stop and the Forrest Wood Cup. Player’s Advantage will give them an edge over the competition and increase their shot for a $1 million cash grand prize that will be awarded to the FLW Fantasy Fishing cumulative points winner. Those who visit FantasyFishing.com today can sign up for Player’s Advantage and receive a complimentary $15 Wal-Mart gift card.
Dennis Price Jr. of Tinley Park, Ill., leads the Co-angler Division with five bass weighing 13-3 followed by Shawn Carnahan of Chandler, Ariz., and Doug Weiser of Springdale, Ark., who tied for second place with five bass weighing 11-09.
Price took the early lead in the tournament while fishing with Green.
“Whatever Jerry was dragging, I was dragging the same thing,” said Price, who said he caught eight to 10 keepers throughout the course of the day. “I didn’t have my first fish until 11 a.m., but it started picking up after that. I caught my biggest fish, which was three to four pounds, about 2 p.m.
“I just hope the next few days are like today,” Price added. “I had a great day out on the water and a great day with Jerry.”
Rounding out the top five co-anglers are Stetson Blaylock of Benton, Ark. (five bass, 11-04) and Brian Gage of Gray, Tenn. (four bass, 11-00).
Team Land O’Lakes co-angler Tyrone Phillips of Little Rock, Ark., earned the day’s $500 Snickers Big Bass award in the Co-angler Division thanks to a 5-pound, 9-ounce bass he caught.
Overall there were 373 bass weighing 659 pounds, 12 ounces caught by 152 co-anglers Thursday. The catch included 13 five-bass limits.
Co-anglers are fishing for a top award of $25,000 this week.
Anglers will take off at 6:30 each morning from the Tellico Recreational Area Ramp located at the intersection of Highways 321 and 444 east of Lenoir City, Tenn. Friday’s weigh-in 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 at 701 Henley St. in Knoxville, beginning at 4 p.m.
Prior to the weigh-ins Saturday and Sunday, FLW Outdoorswill host a free Family Fun Zone and outdoor show in 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 Sunday will also receive a free rod and reel combo while supplies last, and one lucky member of the audience will win a new Ranger boat during the final 4 p.m. weigh-in on Sunday. Admission is free and you must be present to win.
Pros and co-anglers are randomly paired each day, and 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 Saturday, 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 the final two days.
Coverage of the tournament will be broadcast to 81 million FSN (Fox Sports Net) subscribers in the United States as part of the “FLW Outdoors” television program airing Aug. 10 and 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.
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.
For more information about FLW Outdoors and its tournaments, visit FLWOutdoors.com or call (270) 252-1000. For more information about FLW Fantasy Fishing and Player’s Advantage, visit FantasyFishing.com.