Anglers competing in the Pro Division will fish for a top award worth as much as $60,000, including a fully rigged Ranger 519VX powered by an Evinrude or Yamaha outboard, Minn Kota trolling motor, Lowrance electronics and EverStart batteries plus $10,000 cash. Pros will have the chance to earn an additional $10,000 bonus award from Ranger if contingency guidelines are met. Ranger will award another $3,000 to the winner if he or she is a participant in the Ranger Cup program, or $1,500 to the highest-finishing Ranger Cup participant. Yamaha will match 50 percent of Ranger Cup earnings if the participant meets "Powered by Yamaha" guidelines.
Co-angler competitors cast for a top award worth as much as $35,000, including a Ranger boat and trailer if contingency guidelines are met. Competitors will also be vying for valuable points that could earn them a berth into the $1 million Stren Series Championship in Decatur, Ala., for a shot at $140,000 in the Pro Division and $70,000 in the Co-angler Division. The highest finishing pro and the highest finishing co-angler from each division at the championship will qualify for the 2007 $2 million Forrest Wood Cup, where the winning pro will have a shot at bass fishing's first $1 million prize.
Wal-Mart FLW Tour pro Craig Powers of Rockwood, Tenn., who won the 2005 Stren Series event on West Point Lake, predicts a big-fish bite at this year's event.
"It's all going to be weather-related," Powers said. "A week of pretty weather will result in some big fish being caught. There are as big of fish in West Point as there are anywhere in that area. Lots of guys will be fishing for spotted bass, but I think largemouths will win it. One good largemouth could weigh as much as five spotted bass.
"It could be a decent prespawn pattern," Powers continued. "Guys will probably catch them on Rat-L-Traps, jerkbaits, crankbaits and maybe spinnerbaits."
Anglers will take off from Highland Marina Resort at 7:30 each morning. Wednesday and Thursday's weigh-ins will also be held at the marina, which is located at 1000 Seminole Road in LaGrange beginning at 3 p.m. Friday and Saturday's weigh-ins will be held at the Wal-Mart store located at 1513 Lafayette Parkway in LaGrange beginning at 4 p.m. Takeoffs and weigh-ins are free and open to the public.
As many as 200 pros and 200 co-anglers will compete for two days to determine the top 20 pros and top 20 co-anglers who advance to Friday's semifinal round, based on their two-day accumulated weight. Weights are cleared for the semifinal round and anglers compete for 10 spots in each division in the final round. Winners on day four are determined by the heaviest accumulated weight from days three and four.
In Stren Series competition, pros supply the boats, fish from the front deck against other pros and control boat movement. Co-anglers fish from the back deck and compete against other co-anglers. Every angler who receives weight credit in a tournament earns points that determine angler standings. Two hundred points are awarded to the winner, 199 points for second, 198 points for third, and so on. The top 40 pros and top 40 co-anglers from each of the Stren Series' five divisions - Central, Northeast, Midwest, Southeast and Western - will advance to the $1 million Stren Series Championship on Wheeler Lake Nov. 1-4. The top 10 pros and top 10 co-anglers from each division also qualify for the Wal-Mart FLW Tour, the world's most lucrative tournament series, where they can compete for a share of $7.6 million in 2007.
Each Stren Series Division features four regular-season tournaments.
Named after the legendary founder of Ranger Boats, Forrest L. Wood, FLW Outdoors administers the Stren Series as well as the Wal-Mart FLW Tour, Wal-Mart FLW Series, Wal-Mart Bass Fishing League, Wal-Mart Texas Tournament Trail, Stratos Owner's Tournament Trail, Wal-Mart FLW Walleye Tour, Wal-Mart FLW Walleye League, Wal-Mart FLW Kingfish Tour, Wal-Mart FLW Kingfish Series and Wal-Mart FLW Redfish Series. These circuits offer combined purses exceeding $36.5 million through 235 events in 2006.
For more information on FLW Outdoors and its tournament programs, 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 title sponsor of the FLW Tour in 1997 and today is the title sponsor of all FLW Outdoors events. For more information on Wal-Mart, visit Wal-Mart.com.