In recent decades, the water quality of the lower Potomac River has improved to create one of the best largemouth fisheries in the nation. Bass in the 3- to 4-pound range are common. The river system is full of grass, rocks, wood and docks, and anglers should be able to use a variety of techniques to catch solid limits. Anglers will likely fish from Washington, D.C., downstream to where the river empties into the Chesapeake Bay.
“Fish will be everywhere, and it should be very interesting,” said Kellogg’s pro Dave Lefebre of Erie, Pa. “Everything in the tackle box will work. Most anglers will probably target grass beds with spinnerbaits and shallow-running crankbaits. There will be a lot of good fish caught. I think it will take 13 or 14 pounds per day to make the cut and more than 30 pounds to win.”
The Chevy Open is the final regular-season event of the FLW Tour season, and valuable points are on the line. The top 48 pros and top 48 co-anglers qualify for the no-entry-fee $1.5 million Forrest L. Wood Championship presented by Castrol on Lake Hamilton in Hot Springs, Ark., July 13-16. The prestigious Land O’Lakes Angler of the Year title is also still up for grabs, with 7 UP pro J.T. Kenney of Frostburg currently leading the race by a mere two points over Anthony Gagliardi of Prosperity, S.C. Several other pros are also within striking range.
Anglers take off each morning from Smallwood State Park in Marbury at 6:30 a.m. Wednesday and Thursday’s weigh-ins will also be held at the park beginning at 3 p.m. Friday and Saturday’s weigh-ins will be held at the Wal-Mart store located at 40 Drury Drive in LaPlata beginning at 5 p.m. and 3 p.m., respectively.
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. Monte Burke, author of “Sowbelly, the Obsessive Quest for the World Record Largemouth Bass,” will also be in the Fun Zone autographing copies of his new book.
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.
Several FLW Tour pros that do not make the final-round cut will still spend quality time on the water Friday, as they have volunteered to take wounded service men and women from Walter Reed Army Medical Center and the National Naval Medical Center out for a day of fishing on the Potomac River.
“It’s a small way for us to give something back to those men and women who serve our country so courageously,” said Charlie Evans, FLW Outdoors president and CEO. “These soldiers and all the men and women serving our country make the freedoms we enjoy possible.”
Forty service men and women who have been wounded in the line of duty will meet FLW Tour pros at the Smallwood State Park launch ramp Friday, June 24 at 9 a.m. for several hours of fishing. The service men and women will then be honored guests at the day’s 5 p.m. weigh-in at the LaPlata Wal-Mart. The outing was arranged through the USO of Metropolitan Washington.
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. The prestigious $1.5 million Forrest L. Wood Championship features bass fishing’s largest guaranteed cash award – a $500,000 first-place prize for the winning pro. Held in conjunction with the championship is a world-class outdoor show featuring 140 booths and displays for everything from crankbaits to bass boats.
Coverage of the Chevy Open presented by Kellogg’s will be broadcast to 82 million FSN subscribers as part of the “Wal-Mart FLW Outdoors” television program July 24 and 31. “Wal-Mart FLW Outdoors” airs Sundays at 11 a.m. Eastern time. Additionally, “Wal-Mart FLW Outdoors” is broadcast by the American Forces Network to 800,000 service men and women stationed around the world in 177 countries and aboard naval ships. Saturday’s final weigh-in will also be broadcast live to Wal-Mart stores nationwide by the Wal-Mart Television Network.
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.