An already shallow lake, Lake Conroe has been drawn down 6 feet below normal to inspect damage to the dam caused by Hurricane Katrina, putting many of the popular fall fishing spots high and dry. Added challenge came in the shape of a high pressure system followed by blue bird skies and calm winds during the tournament
"I'm from around here, and I just fished places I knew normally held big bass this time of year," Cecil said. For Cecil, that meant hitting as many productive docks, brush piles and offshore structure spots he could over the course of two days. He threw a shad-colored Norman Baby N on 12-pound Ande monofilament with a 7-foot Falcon Cara Reaction rod. He also flipped a Lake Fork Tackle Flipper in killer craw color on 50-pound Ande braid with a 6-foot, 10-inch Falcon Cara pitching rod with a 5/16-ounce tungsten weight.
Rounding out the top five pros were Keith Combs of Temple (seven bass, 21 pounds, 9 ounce, $11,000); Chad Griffin of Cresson (five bass, 21 pounds, 8 ounces, $8,500); Barry Smith of Palo Pinto (six bass, 21 pounds, 4 ounces, $6,500); and Stan Gerzsenyi of Alba (five bass, 20 pounds,$4,750).
Kevin Flowers of Beaumont caught six bass weighing 21 pounds to win the Co-angler Division and earned $40,000 including a fully-rigged Ranger 519 VX powered by an Evinrude or Yamaha outboard, Minn Kota trolling motor, Garmin electronics and EverStart batteries, plus $5,000 cash. Flowers earned an additional $5,000 for meeting the Ranger Boats contingency guidelines. He also was awarded a $500 Wal-Mart gift certificate and $500 of Castrol products from Castrol for wearing a Castrol shirt on the final day of competition.
"On Saturday, I caught my one fish on a senko for 2 pounds, 7 ounces," Flowers said. "Today I threw a drop-shot and caught 18 pounds, 9 ounces." Flowers fished with Ronnie Wagner on Sunday. They were targeting bass on a creek-channel edge in 8 to 10 feet of water near brush piles. Flowers threw a 4-inch watermelon with red flake Zoom finesse worm on 12-pound Seaguar fluorocarbon line with a Falcon Cara weightless worm rod with a Shimano reel.
"My partner showed such great sportsmanship Sunday," Flowers said. "I caught a 4-pounder and a 5-pounder out of a brush pile, and the wind started to blow us off the spot. But he held me in position all day, where I could reach the productive waters too. It would have been easy for him not to with the slight breeze, but he was a class act."
Rounding out the top five co-anglers were Danny Joiner of Irving (four bass, 15 pounds, $4,500); Todd R. Lee of Grove, Okla. (five bass, 14 pounds, 7 ounces, $3,000); William Herline of Silsbee (three bass, 13 pounds, 3 ounces, $1,350); and Bill Rogers of Jasper (four bass, 10 pounds, 13 ounces, $1,900).
Jeffery Giarrizzo of Belton caught an 8-pound, 8-ounce largemouth Sunday to win the $1,000 Snickers Big Bass award for the tournament.
Named after the legendary founder of Ranger Boats, Forrest L. Wood, FLW Outdoors administers the Wal-Mart Texas Tournament Trail and nine other national tournament circuits offering a total purse in excess of $36.5 million through 235 events in 2006. The 27-year-old organization is the purveyor of America's largest and most prestigious fishing tournaments, including the Wal-Mart FLW Tour, Wal-Mart FLW Series, Stren 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, Wal-Mart FLW Kingfish Series 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.