JASPER, Texas (Feb. 22, 2008) – Pro Russell Cecil of Willis, Texas, caught a five-bass limit weighing 17 pounds, 11 ounces Friday to capture his lead in the Stren Series Texas Division tournament presented by Yamaha on Sam Rayburn Reservoir. With a three-day catch of 14 bass weighing 52-11, he holds an 1-pound, 6-ounce lead over his closest competitor heading into the final day of competition.

“Today was a better day,” said Cecil, who won the Stren Series Texas Division Toledo Bend event in 2007. “The weather cooperated today so I was able to run around to some key areas and find fish.” Cecil caught his limit throwing a red H20 Express lipless crankbait and a chartreuse H20 Express square-bill crankbait in 4 to 10 feet of water in and around hydrilla.

“Tomorrow, I plan on rotating my spots and looking for new water,” he added. “The weights are so close in the top 10 that I think it will come down to who executes the best and gets all their fish in the boat.”

Rounding out the top five pros are Gary Vining of Morgan City, La. (15 bass, 51-05); Toby Hartsell of Livingston, Texas (15 bass, 51-04) Darrell Lyons of Hemphill, Texas (15 bass, 50-11); and Dicky Newberry of Houston, Texas (15 bass, 50-02).

Also clearing the top 10 cut weight of 48 pounds, 4 ounces in the Pro Division are Shonn Goodwin of Moore, Okla.; Stephen Johnston of Hemphill, Texas; James Stricklin Jr. of Jasper, Texas; Greg Gleason of Houma, La.; Cory Rambo of Orange, Texas.

Rambo earned $268 for the Snickers Big Bass award in the Pro Division thanks to a 9-pound, 7-ounce bass. Pros are competing for as much as $65,000, including a 198VX Ranger powered by Evinrude or Yamaha if contingency guidelines are met, and valuable points toward qualifying for the $1 million Stren Series Championship in Branson, Mo., Nov. 5-8 for a shot at $140,000. After four qualifying events are complete in each of the circuit’s five divisions, the top 40 pros from each division will advance to the championship. The highest-finishing pro from each division at the championship will also earn a spot in the $2 million 2009 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 TBF (The Bass Federation) for bass fishing’s biggest prize – $1 million.

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Rich Dalbey of Greenville, Texas, leads the Co-angler Division in the chase for a top award of $35,000, including a 198VX Ranger if contingency guidelines are met, thanks to a three-day total of 15 bass weighing 43-07.

“Today was my toughest day,” said Dalbey, who qualified for the Stren Series Championship in 2007. “I have stayed with the same pattern all week but today I only caught eight keepers.”

Even though the fishing was tough, Dalbey caught his limit throwing a Rat-L-Trap.

“I am looking forward to fishing tomorrow,” he added. “I think Russell is around some good fish. Hopefully, I will get what I need to win.”

Rounding out the top five co-anglers are Jonathan Simon of Orange, Texas (14 bass, 42-14); Nick Diberardino of Huffman, Texas (15 bass, 40-10); Steve Evans of Lufkin, Texas (15 bass, 40-09); and Ryan ONeal of Woodville, Texas (15 bass, 37-07).

Also clearing the top 10 cut weight of 35 pounds, 5 ounces in the Co-angler Division are Randy Hicks of Lumberton, Texas; Dan West of Ada, Okla.; Mark Lester of Marion, Ind.; Jeremy Brown of Ringgold, La.; and Danny Cherry of Kountze, Texas.

John Moon of Brookeland, Texas, earned $138 for the Snickers Big Bass award in the Co-angler Division thanks to a 9-pound bass.

The top 40 co-anglers from each Stren Series division will also advance to the championship, where they will fish for as much as $70,000. The highest-finishing co-angler from each division at the championship will then advance to the 2009 Forrest Wood Cup.

Anglers will take off at 7 Saturday morning from Umphrey Family Pavilion located at 5438 RR 255 W. in Sam Rayburn, Texas. Saturday’s final weigh-in will be held at the Wal-Mart store located at 800 W. Gibson St. in Jasper, beginning at 4 p.m. The takeoff and weigh-in are free and open to the public.

Stren Series tournaments are four-day events consisting of two rounds. The entire field competes Wednesday, Thursday and Friday. At the conclusion of Friday’s weigh-in, the field is cut to the top 10 pros and co-anglers based on the heaviest three-day accumulated weights. These anglers continue competition Saturday, with the winners determined by the heaviest accumulated weight from all four days.

FLW Outdoors historically maintains a 98 percent live release rate in all of its bass tournaments.

FLW Outdoors, named after Forrest L. Wood, the legendary founder of Ranger Boats, is the largest fishing tournament organization in the world. In 2008 alone the organization is offering more than 90,000 anglers the chance to win over $40 million through 230 tournaments in 10 circuits targeting bass, walleye, redfish, kingfish and striped bass. FLW Outdoors is also taking fishing mainstream with the largest cash awards in the history of fantasy sports, $7.3 million.

For more information about FLW Outdoors and its tournaments, visit FLWOutdoors.com or call (270) 252-1000. For more information about FLW Fantasy Fishing and Player’s Advantage, visit FantasyFishing.com