"A lot of what the fish do at Wheeler will depend on the current conditions," said National Guard pro Jonathan Newton of Rogersville, Ala., who qualified for the championship as the No. 15 seed in the Midwest Division. "Water levels and weather conditions are going to be two big factors. This time of year, fishing is usually pretty tough. A lot of fish will be caught, but they will likely be in the 12- to 14-inch range."
With stable weather and water levels, Newton predicts the bass will be in shallow-water grass beds in 4 to 8 feet of water. Spinnerbaits, crankbaits and soft plastics will be the choice baits, but they will be fished at a very slow pace.
"I think the key will be fishing a slow presentation," he said. "Pros will need to catch 10 to 12 pounds a day to have a shot at winning."
Anglers will take off from Ingalls Harbor at 7 each morning. Wednesday and Thursday's weigh-ins will also be held at Ingalls Harbor, which is located on Highway 20 W. in Decatur, beginning at 3 p.m. As part of the festivities, Lynn Layton Chevrolet, located at 2416 Highway 31 S. in Decatur, will host Chevy Pro Night on Wednesday, Nov. 1, from 6 to 8 p.m.
Friday and Saturday's weigh-ins will be held at the Wal-Mart store located at 2800 Spring Ave. S.W. in Decatur beginning at 4 p.m. The community is invited to attend the Family Fun Zone Friday and Saturday outside the weigh-in tent in the Wal-Mart parking lot. The Family Fun Zone, which opens at 2 p.m. Friday and noon Saturday, features interactive displays, product samples and games for the entire family to enjoy. Admission to all activities is free.
Two hundred pros and 200 co-anglers (the top 40 based on points standings from each of the Stren Series' five divisions) will compete for two days on Wheeler Lake to determine the top 10 pros and top 10 co-anglers who will advance to the final round based on their two-day accumulated weight. Weights are cleared for the final round and co-angler competition concludes on day three with the winner determined by the day's heaviest catch. Pro competition concludes on day four, with the winner determined by the heaviest accumulated weight from days three and four.
The winning pro will earn an Evinrude- or Yamaha-powered Ranger 519VX equipped with Lowrance electronics, a Minn Kota trolling motor and EverStart batteries plus $50,000 cash. If the winner is the original owner of a qualifying Ranger boat powered by an Evinrude or Yamaha outboard that is used during the tournament, he will also receive a $25,000 bonus from Ranger and an additional $25,000 Evinrude/Yamaha bonus for a total award of $140,000. The winning co-angler will receive a fully rigged Ranger 519VX plus $15,000 cash. If the winning co-angler meets Ranger and Evinrude or Yamaha contingency guidelines, he will also receive bonuses totaling $15,000 for a total award of $70,000.
The Stren Series Championship is being hosted by the Decatur/Morgan County Convention and Visitors Bureau. For more information, visit Decaturcvb.org or call (800) 524-6181.
Named after the legendary founder of Ranger Boats, Forrest L. Wood, FLW Outdoors administers the Wal-Mart FLW Tour, Wal-Mart FLW Series, Stren Series, Wal-Mart Bass Fishing League, Wal-Mart Texas Tournament Trail presented by Abu Garcia, Stratos Owners' Tournament Trail, Wal-Mart FLW Walleye Tour, Wal-Mart FLW Walleye League, Wal-Mart FLW Kingfish Tour, Wal-Mart FLW Kingfish Series, Wal-Mart FLW Redfish Series and Wal-Mart FLW Striper Series. These circuits offer combined purses exceeding $37.9 million through 249 events in 2006.
For more information about FLW Outdoors and its tournaments, visit FLWOutdoors.com or call (270) 252-1000.
Wal-Mart and many of America's largest and most-respected companies support FLW Outdoors and its tournament trails. Wal-Mart signed on as an FLW Outdoors sponsor in 1997 and today is the world's leading supporter of tournament fishing. For more information about Wal-Mart, visit Wal-Mart.com.