Brent Chapman of Lake Quivira, Kan., leads the Pro Division with a two-day total of 10 bass weighing 33 pounds, 10 ounces. He caught five bass weighing 16 pounds, 7 ounces Wednesday using a homemade 3/8-ounce jig with a Zoom Super Chuck Jr. trailer then added another five bass weighing 17 pounds, 3 ounces Thursday using the same lure around both shallow grass and boat docks. He also used a crankbait early in the day to boat a quick limit near grass beds. Low tide, he said, is helping to position his fish each day.
"I feel good right now," said Chapman, who is expecting the birth of his second child any day now. "I've finished 11th twice already this year, so it's great to make the top 10. If I miss my daughter's birth, I figure a $200,000 check will help make up for it."
Michael Iaconelli of Runnemede, N.J., added five bass weighing 14 pounds, 13 ounces to his day one catch of five bass weighing 18 pounds, 12 ounces to finish the opening round in second with 10 bass weighing 33 pounds, 9 ounces.
Greg Hackney of Gonzales, La., claimed the No. 3 qualifying spot in the final round with a two-day total of 10 bass weighing 32 pounds, 10 ounces.
Toshinari Namiki of Hachioji-City, Japan, (10 bass, 32 pounds, 7 ounces) and Kellogg's pro Clark Wendlandt of Cedar Park, Texas, (10 bass, 31 pounds, 13 ounces) rounded out the top five pros.
All told, it was another near-record performance in Charles County as 195 pros and 181 co-anglers caught bass, bringing a total of 1,495 fish weighing 3,166 pounds, 15 ounces to the stage. The two-day opening round catch of 3,201 bass weighing 7,084 pounds, 1 ounce is the tour's third best of all time in terms of bass caught and weight. Only Lake Champlain in New York produced more fish in 2004 (3,457 bass, 8,239 pounds, 11 ounces) and 2002 (3,233 bass, 7,865 pounds, 8 ounces). Most of the bass weighed in on Lake Champlain were smallmouths, while the Potomac River produced largemouths.
The closely contested Land O'Lakes Angler of the Year points race drew even closer Thursday with only seven points separating Hackney and Namiki in the chase for the coveted title. Both men came from behind to unseat the previous points leader, J.T. Kenney of Frostburg, who fishes for Team 7 UP. Final points will not be available until Saturday's final weigh-in.
Coming into the event, Gagliardi, Hackney and Namiki trailed Kenney by 2, 16 and 23 points, respectively, in the No. 2, 3 and 4 positions. Gagliardi finished the tournament in 37th with 10 bass weighing 25 pounds, 8 ounces while Kenney finished 114th with nine bass weighing 20 pounds, 12 ounces.
Gary Yamamoto of Mineola, Texas, earned the Energizer Keeps on Going Award for jumping from 43rd in the standings to qualify for the final round as the No. 7 angler.
Chapman earned the day's Snickers Big Bass award of $750 in the Pro Division with a 5-pound, 14-ounce largemouth. Danny Correia of Marlborough, Mass., earned the overall Snickers Big Bass award of $1,000 for catching the heaviest bass in either division during the opening round. Correia caught a 6-pound, 9-ounce largemouth Wednesday.
Roger Hester II of Walnut Cove, N.C., leads the Co-angler Division thanks to a two-day catch of 10 bass weighing 26 pounds, 12 ounces. Hester caught five bass weighing 13 pounds, 14 ounces Wednesday while fishing with John Crews of Salem, Va., then added another five bass weighing 12 pounds, 14 ounces to his total Thursday while fishing with pro Koby Kreiger of Okeechobee, Fla..
Rounding out the top five co-anglers are Kent McPhail of Lubbock, Texas (10 bass, 26 pounds, 7 ounces); Fred Martin of North Little Rock, Ark. (10 bass, 26 pounds, 5 ounces); Johnny Taylor of Kodak, Tenn. (10 bass, 26 pounds, 5 ounces); and Merle Wells Jr. of Hammond, N.Y. (10 bass, 25 pounds, 10 ounces).
Dennis Kirby of Lakeland, Tenn., claimed the Snickers Big Bass award and $375 in the Co-angler Division with a 6-pound, 6-ounce bass that he caught while fishing with pro Steven McGahan of Gales Ferry, Conn.
Anglers will take off each morning from Smallwood State Park in Marbury at 6:30 a.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 join the world's top bass anglers as they celebrate the FLW Tour's 10th anniversary in the Family Fun Zone Friday and Saturday outside the weigh-in tent in the Wal-Mart parking lot. The Family Fun Zone, which opens at 2 p.m. Friday and 11 a.m. Saturday, features interactive displays, product samples and games for the entire family to enjoy.
Tom Arnold, Chris Rose and John Salley will be appearing in the Family Fun Zone from 2 to 4 p.m. Friday for a special taping of the FSN hit "Best Damn Sports Show Period," which airs weeknights at 10:30 p.m. Arnold, Rose and Salley will interview FLW Tour anglers and prominent sports figures from the Washington, D.C., area. Spectators could possibly make an appearance on the show as well, so you won't want to miss this opportunity.
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 hit book.
Following Thursday's competition, the field was narrowed from 200 competitors per division to 10, and weights were cleared for Friday's competition. Co-angler competition concludes Friday based on the heaviest one-day weight, and pros continue competition Saturday with the winner determined by the heaviest two-day weight. The winning co-angler earns $40,000 while the winning pro earns $200,000. Pros finishing as low as 50th place earn $10,000.
The top 48 pros and top 48 co-anglers in the Land O'Lakes Angler of the Year points standings following this event will advance to the Forrest L. Wood Championship July 13-16 in Hot Springs, Ark., on Lake Hamilton. The $1.5 million championship presented by Castrol awards the winning pro $500,000 cash, the sport's largest payout, and features a world-class outdoor show. Pros earn a minimum of $15,000 just for qualifying.
Complete 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.
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.