June 20, 2008
KNOXVILLE -- Team Castrol pro David Dudley of Lynchburg, Va., caught a five-bass limit weighing 15 pounds, 12 ounces Friday to capture the lead in the Wal-Mart FLW Tour’s $1 million event on Fort Loudoun-Tellico Lakes with a two-day catch of 10 bass weighing 35-14. He now holds a 2-pound lead in the tournament featuring 200 pros and 200 co-anglers representing 35 states, Mexico, Australia and Japan.
“I’m sticking with the same pattern,” said Dudley, who has won more than $2,184,000 in FLW Outdoors events. “I’m fishing ledges out deep. I was able to catch them again today.”
Dudley moved around a bit during the day, chasing fish as they switched depths with the current. Dudley said his five keepers were the only fish he caught, electing to save his fish for the final two days of competition. Dudley said his fish, caught on a 10-inch Berkley PowerWorm, came early in the day in 10 to 15 feet of water.
“I had a lot of spectators following me today and they have been very nice by staying off of the spots I’m fishing when I leave them, and that means a lot to me,” Dudley said.
Brandon Coulter of Knoxville, Tenn., advanced to the final round of 10 pros in the No. 2 spot with a two-day total of 10 bass weighing 33-14.
“It was slow at the start,” Coulter said. “I had three squeakers, just 14 inch fish, at 11:45. With just four hours to fish, I was pretty stressed. And then at about the 50th place I stopped, I ran into some five pounders. I caught two of those and then culled out the 14-inchers and stopped fishing at 1 p.m.”
Coulter said he ran around the lake a lot during the day to try to find bigger fish.
“On this lake, local knowledge definitely helps,” Coulter said. “Typically there’s a good bite somewhere on the lake. You’ve just got to keep moving around and find it.”
Coulter said he caught some of his fish on a bait he calls the Callie jig — a football-head jig he and his daughter Callie tie together.
Rounding out the top five pros who will continue competition Saturday and Sunday are Team National Guard pro Scott Martin of Clewiston, Fla. (10 bass, 32-07); Art Ferguson of St. Clair Shores, Mich. (10 bass, 32-05); and Jerry Green of Del Rio, Texas (10 bass, 31-05).
Also clearing the top-10 cut weight of 26 pounds, 15 ounces and adding to this already power-packed top-10 field are Andy Montgomery of Blacksburg, S.C.; Team National Guard pro Ramie Colson Jr. of Cadiz, Ky.; Team Prilosec pro Craig Powers of Rockwood, Tenn.; Andy Morgan of Dayton, Tenn.; and Hank Cherry of Maiden, N.C.
Aaron Hastings of Middletown, Md., and Bob Blosser of Lodi, Wisc., split the day’s $750 Snickers Big Bass award in the Pro Division thanks to a pair of 5-pound, 11-ounce bass. Stacey King of Reeds Spring, Mo., won an extra $1,000 for having the biggest bass of the tournament, a 5-pound, 15-ounce largemouth caught during the first day of competition.
Overall there were 663 bass weighing 1,360 pounds, 9 ounces caught by 182 pros Friday. The catch included 77 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 the winning pro will earn as much as $1 million – the sport’s biggest award. The top 40 pros after three $1 million qualifiers and three $1.5 million opens will advance to the Forrest Wood Cup.
Dennis Price Jr. of Tinley Park, Ill., leads the Co-angler Division with an opening-round total of seven bass weighing 20 pounds, 4 ounces, followed by Shawn Carnahan of Chandler, Ariz., in second place with 10 bass weighing 19-11.
“I wasn’t on fish like I was yesterday, but I got two of them for about seven pounds, including a 4 ½-pound smallmouth, so it was a good day,” said Price. “I caught the smallmouth on a Lucky Craft Sammy and the other fish came on a Fluke.
“This is only my second tournament, so I’m a little nervous going into tomorrow, but my confidence is at an all-time high and I’m ready for it,” Price added.
Rounding out the top five co-anglers are Kyle Lane of Clarkrange, Tenn. (eight bass, 18-03); Dirk Davenport of Delaware, Ohio (nine bass, 18-03) and Barry Isbell of Trussville, Ala. (nine bass, 18-01).
Also clearing the top-10 cut weight of 15 pounds, 6 ounces in the Co-angler Division are Doug Weiser of Springdale, Ark.; Team Berkley co-angler Stetson Blaylock of Benton, Ark.; Todd Lee of Jasper, Ala.; Jim Campbell of Maryville, Tenn.; and Brian Gage of Gray, Tenn.
Brad Denton of Knoxville earned $500 for the day’s Snickers Big Bass award in the Co-angler Division thanks to a 4-pound, 12-ounce bass he caught while fishing with pro Hastings.
Overall there were 339 bass weighing 615 pounds, 9 ounces caught by 146 co-anglers Friday. The catch included 14 five-bass limits.
Co-anglers are fishing for a top award of $25,000 this week.
Anglers will take off at 6:30 a.m. Saturday and Sunday from the Tellico Recreational Area Ramp located at the intersection of Highways 321 and 444 east of Lenoir City, Tenn. 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, 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 is a chance for fishing fans to meet their favorite anglers and review the latest products from Berkley, Lowrance, Ranger, Evinrude, Yamaha and other manufacturers while children are treated to 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.
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 competes Thursday and Friday for 10 slots in Saturday’s competition based on their two-day accumulated weight. Weights are cleared Saturday, and co-angler competition concludes following Saturday’s weigh-in with the winner determined by the day’s heaviest catch. The top 10 pros continue competition Sunday, with the winner determined by the heaviest accumulated weight from Saturday and Sunday.
Coverage of the Fort Loudoun-Tellico Lakes tournament will be broadcast to 81 million FSN (Fox Sports Net) subscribers in the United States on Aug. 10 and 17 as part of the “FLW Outdoors” television program. “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.