To add even more excitement to the Wal-Mart Open, Tyson Foods, Inc. is tagging six “Power Bass” and releasing them into Beaver Lake before the competition. One of the six fish will be worth $200,000 to any pro or co-angler who catches it during the four-day contest, which matches the purse of the pro winner of the Wal-Mart Open Powered by Tyson. The remaining five fish are each worth $5,000. If a tagged fish is caught, no one will know its worth until the weigh-in at the end of each day. The tagging of the fish is painless and the tag will dissolve and fall off in about 30 days.
“Because the event is right here in our back yard, Tyson wants to inject a little Power into the competition,” said Bob Corscadden, Tyson’s senior vice president and chief marketing officer. “Our fingers are crossed that the money fish ends up in a boat.”
When anglers who favor sight fishing first saw the 2005 schedule, they smiled when glancing at the dates for the Wal-Mart Open Powered by Tyson on Beaver Lake. Lingering cold fronts, however, have kept water temperatures in the high 40s and low 50s, and sight fishing might not be the dominating pattern. “I think sight fishing will play a big part in the tournament,” said Castrol pro Carl Svebek III of Siloam Springs. “But, there will be several different ways to approach this tournament.”
While undoubtedly waves of smallmouths, largemouths and spotted bass will be going to the beds or cruising shallow spawning areas when the tour arrives, other factors will determine the dominant patterns at the onset of the tournament. The most important factor this time of year is water level. When the water goes well above normal pool, sight fishing can become more difficult while other techniques become more effective.
“Right now it’s at normal pool,” said FLW Tour co-angler Vandy Cameron of Rogers. “It’s taking 16 to 18 pounds to win tournaments right now on Beaver. Guys are catching quality bass on crankbaits, jerkbaits and jigs.”
Anglers take off each morning from Prairie Creek Marina at 7 a.m. Wednesday and Thursday’s weigh-ins will also be held at the marina beginning at 3 p.m. Friday and Saturday’s weigh-ins will be held at the Wal-Mart store located at 2110 West Walnut in Rogers beginning at 5 p.m. and 3 p.m., respectively. Immediately following the weigh-in Friday, fans are invited to a free concert featuring country-music recording-artist Craig Morgan. Morgan’s current single “That’s What I Love About Sundays” hit No. 1 on the country radio charts last week.
The community is invited to attend the free Family Fun Zone Friday and Saturday outside the weigh-in tent in the Wal-Mart parking lot. The Family Fun Zone, which opens at 3 p.m. Friday and 11 a.m. Saturday, features interactive displays, product samples and games for the entire family to enjoy.
The full field competes in the two-day opening round for one of 10 slots in Friday’s competition based on their two-day accumulated weight. Weights are cleared for day three, and co-angler competition concludes following Friday’s weigh-in. The top 10 pros continue competition Saturday, with the winner determined by the heaviest two-day weight.
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.
This is the most lucrative FLW Tour season to date, as the popular tournament series celebrates its 10th anniversary with a $7.6 million purse, including four $900,000 events and two $1.25 million open events during the regular season. Each event leads up to the $1.5 million Forrest L. Wood Championship and Outdoor Show, which will be held July 13-16 on Lake Hamilton in Hot Springs, Ark. The prestigious championship features 48 pros, 48 co-anglers and bass fishing’s largest guaranteed cash award – a $500,000 first-place prize for the winning pro. Held in conjunction with the tournament is a world-class outdoor show featuring 140 booths and displays for everything from crankbaits to bass boats.
Coverage of the Wal-Mart Open Powered by Tyson will be broadcast to 82 million FSN subscribers as part of the “FLW Outdoors” television program. “FLW Outdoors” airs Sundays at 11 a.m. Eastern time.
Wheeler Lake near Decatur, Ala., will host the fifth tour stop May 11-14 followed by the Chevy Open in Charles County, Md., June 22-25.
Named after the legendary founder of Ranger Boats, Forrest L. Wood, FLW Outdoors administers the Wal-Mart FLW Tour and seven other national tournament circuits offering a combined $30 million in awards through 214 events in 2005. The 27-year-old organization is the purveyor of America’s largest and most prestigious fishing tournaments, including the Wal-Mart FLW Tour, EverStart Series, Wal-Mart Bass Fishing League, Wal-Mart Texas Tournament Trail, Wal-Mart FLW Walleye Tour, Wal-Mart FLW Walleye League, Wal-Mart FLW Kingfish Tour and Wal-Mart FLW Redfish Series.
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.
Tyson Foods, Inc. [NYSE:TSN], founded in 1935 with headquarters in Springdale, Ark., is the world’s largest processor and marketer of chicken, beef, and pork and the second-largest food company in the FORTUNE 500. The company produces a wide variety of protein-based and prepared food products, which are marketed under the “Powered by Tyson™” strategy. Tyson is the recognized market leader in the retail and foodservice markets it serves, providing products and service to customers throughout the U.S and more than 80 countries. Tyson has approximately 114,000 Team Members employed at 300 facilities and offices in 27 states and 22 countries. For more information please visit Tyson.com.