$10 MILLION WAL-MART FLW SERIES TO VISIT CALIFORNIA DELTA
$1 million National Guard Western Division tournament to feature top bass anglers from 11 states
OAKLEY, Calif. (Feb. 20, 2008) - The $10 million Wal-Mart FLW Series® will visit the California Delta in Oakley, Calif., March 12-15 for its first National Guard Western Division tournament of the season. Hosted by the City of Oakley, the tournament will feature as many as 400 top bass anglers from 11 states and Japan casting for top awards of $125,000 in the Pro Division and $25,000 in the Co-angler Division.
"The California Delta event covers an incredible amount of water and can be won just about anywhere," said Team National Guard pro Brent Ehrler of Redlands, Calif., who has earned more than $773,526 in FLW Outdoors events and finished fourth at the 2007 FLW Series California Delta event. "Fishing will be fairly similar to last year. But I think it's going to come down to the competitor who manages to get away from the crowd."
Ehrler said local anglers may have an advantage at the California Delta event over those who are travelling to fish the tournament. According to Ehrler, anglers who fish the waters of the Delta regularly have many more opportunities to explore the massive expanse of water that makes up the Delta, which allows those anglers to find remote fishing spots not easily found by visiting anglers.
"The guys who live within 100 miles of this tournament really have it dialed in, and it seems like the rest of the field tends to just stumble around," Ehrler said. "There are so many corridors and sloughs that the local guys fish, it's just tough for guys who aren't from the area to find those really great spots. A guy can go down a little stretch of a slough and catch 30 pounds in 20 minutes. And there's so many places like that. It's just insane. But those places are just so hard to find in all of that water that you'd need to fish it a couple of times a week for a while just to find them."
In 2007, Ehrler made the cut to the final day of competition in 10th place with 61 pounds, 11 ounces - more than 12 pounds behind leader and local favorite Bobby Barrack of Oakley. As the California Delta proved, big bites make all the difference, and Ehrler finished fourth with 79-02, more than 14 pounds off of Lake Havasu City, Ariz., angler Michael Rooke's lead mark of 93-05.
Ehrler said fishing success will depend heavily on weather. Fish should be in a pre-spawn pattern, but how many fish move up shallow will be dictated by how warm the weather gets - and how long it stays that way.
"The weather last year was just perfect," Ehrler said. "The fish were just pulling in shallow and the fishing just got better and better every day. If we get warm weather and no wind, the weights will just continue to get bigger every day."
Ehrler said popular baits among anglers will include crankbaits, spinnerbaits and the Berkley PowerBait 5-inch Hollow Belly swim bait, and competitors could catch fish using a variety of methods - ranging from soft plastics with 1 ¼-ounce weights in hyacinth to finesse fishing a drop-shot rig.
"There's a number of things you can do there; it's just a matter of finding the better fish," Ehrler said. "I talked to guys that fished this event last year that caught all of their limits on a 10-inch swim bait. It's kind of crazy."
Ehrler predicts anglers will need weights similar to last year's event to take home the $125,000 first-place cash prize - 60 pounds to make the cut to the final day of competition and anywhere from 85 pounds to 95 pounds to win.
Anglers will take off from Russo's Marina located at 3995 Willow Rd. in Bethel Island, Calif., at 7:30 each morning. Wednesday, Thursday and Friday's weigh-ins will also be held at the marina beginning at 2:30 p.m. Saturday's final weigh-in will be held at the Wal-Mart store located at 4893 Lone Tree Way in Antioch, Calif., beginning at 4 p.m. Children will also be treated to a Family Fun Zone prior to Saturday's weigh-in from noon to 4 p.m. at Wal-Mart.
Activities in the Family Fun Zone include the Kellogg's trout pond, a Ranger boat simulator and assorted fishing-themed games. All activities are free and open to the public.
The entire field competes for the first three days of FLW Series events. Co-angler winners are determined on day three based on the heaviest accumulated three-day weight. The top 10 professionals continue competition on day four, and the winner is determined by the heaviest accumulated weight from all four days.
In FLW Series 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 total purse for the California Delta tournament is $1 million, including $10,000 through 50th place and $2,000 through 75th place in the Pro Division. Ultimately, all anglers in the tournament will also be competing for valuable points in the hope of qualifying for the BP East-National Guard West Fish-Off and a shot at advancing to the $2 million, 2009 Forrest Wood Cup, where the winning pro will earn 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, FLW Outdoors® offers anyone the opportunity to enter for their chance to land the catch of a lifetime with the opportunity to win $7.3 million in cash and prizes. Players can become a virtual pro angler by signing up for Player's Advantage, providing them with 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 FLW Outdoors will include a $15 Wal-Mart gift card.
Coverage of the California Delta FLW Series 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 April 20. "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.
Total awards are based on a full field of 200 boats in every tournament.
Source: flwoutdoors.com (2008-02-20)