BENTON, Ky. (June 7, 2006) - Pro Mike Auten of Benton, Ky., caught a five-bass limit weighing 23 pounds, 10 ounces to lead day one of the Stren Series Midwest Division event on Kentucky/Barkley lakes. Pros are competing for as much as $64,500 and valuable points that could qualify them for a trip to the $1 million Stren Series Championship for a shot at $140,000. The highest-finishing pro from each division at the Stren Series Championship will also earn a spot in the new $2 million 2007 Forrest Wood Cup where they will compete against top pros from the Wal-Mart FLW Tour, Wal-Mart FLW Series, Wal-Mart Bass Fishing League and Ranger owners' tournaments for bass fishing's first $1 million top award.

Wednesday's weigh-in was a definite indicator of the excellent fishing this time of year on Kentucky and Barkley lakes. Out of a full field of 200 pros, 91 caught limits. Most of those limits came while fishing Kentucky Lake's famous ledges with a variety of jigs, plastics and crankbaits. Numerous catches over 15 pounds were weighed on both the pro and co-angler side, and many big bass breaking the 5-pound mark were carried across the stage.

Auten was one of the pros who targeted bass on the ledges. "I didn't catch too many keepers, but the bites I got were quality bites and I didn't work on them too hard," Auten said.

"I'm mixing it up," Auten said of his presentation. "I'm throwing crankbaits, jigs and worms on 15 or so ledges in the north end to the middle of the lake. I probably caught nine keepers throughout the day. I was using a crankbait when the wind was blowing and dragging a jig or a worm when it was calm."

Sam Lashlee of Camden, Tenn., who is fresh off a win at the Wal-Mart FLW Series event on Old Hickory Lake, also put on a stellar performance on day one, catching a five-bass limit weighing 22 pounds, 6 ounces to head into day two in second place. Lashlee threw primarily Strike King football-head jigs on the deeper side of ledges to catch his bass.

Art Ferguson III of St. Clair Shores, Mich., finished day one in third place with a five-bass limit weighing 21 pounds, 5 ounces. One of Ferguson's bass was a 6-pound, 2-ounce lunker that earned him $750 for the big-bass award.

Rounding out the top five pros are Jim Tutt of Longview, Texas (five bass, 19 pounds, 12 ounces); and Yancy Windham of Gordo, Ala. (five bass, 18 pounds, 10 ounces).

Jeramiah Sifers of Sellersburg, Ind., leads the Co-angler Division in the chase for a top award worth as much as $35,000, including a 519VX Ranger if contingency guidelines are met. He caught five bass weighing 19 pounds, 5 ounces. Sifers caught his bass on a crankbait in deep water. "I got all the bites I needed," Sifers said. "I threw a crankbait all day. Kentucky Lake is an awesome fishery."

Rounding out the top five co-anglers are Richard Meuth of Henderson, Ky. (five bass, 18 pounds, 9 ounces); Dan Booth of North Muskegon, Mich. (five bass, 17 pounds); Rick Pelletier of Anoka, Minn. (five bass, 16 pounds, 10 ounces); and tied for fifth were Steve Anderson of Lafayette, Ind., and Ron Fabiszak of South Bend, Ind. Both anglers caught five bass weighing 16 pounds, 5 ounces.

Booth earned an additional $250 as winner of the big-bass award, thanks to a 6-pound, 9-ounce bass.

All in all, 1,132 bass weighing 2,803 pounds, 9 ounces were caught on day one.

Anglers will take off each morning from Moors Resort and Marina in Gilbertsville, Ky., 6 a.m. Thursday's weigh-in will also be held at the marina beginning at 2:30 p.m. Friday and Saturday's weigh-in will be held at 4 p.m. at the Wal-Mart store located at 310 West 5th Street in Benton. Takeoffs and weigh-ins are free and open to the public.

Stren Series tournaments are four-day events consisting of three rounds. The entire field competes Wednesday and Thursday, and the top 20 pros and co-anglers - based on two-day accumulated weights - advance to day three. Anglers start at zero Thursday and compete for 10 spots in each division in the final round. Winners are determined by the heaviest accumulated weight from days three and four.

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 tournament programs, visit 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