“I did the same thing I did yesterday,” said Smith, who fished crankbaits over grass the first two days of the tournament. “I’m going to do the same thing again, just in different spots.”
The fishing continued to prove difficult for most anglers as wind prevailed for most of the day and rain moved into the area during the afternoon.
“I’m just going to go fishing and see what I can pound out tomorrow,” Smith added. “I had my fifth fish bite twice and missed it both times. I wish I had caught it, but that’s the way it goes. I’ll just do it again tomorrow.”
Rounding out the top five pros are Mike Cox of Huntsville, Ala. (five bass, 24-2); Lonnie Oneal of Valdosta, Ga. (seven bass, 23-15); and Jesse Draime of Long Beach, Miss. (nine bass, 23-8).
Ron Wolfarth of Locust, N.C., earned $295 for the Snickers Big Bass award in the Pro Division thanks to a 9-pound, 2-ounce bass.
Overall there were 280 bass weighing 676 pounds, 10 ounces caught by pro anglers Thursday. The catch included 10 five-bass limits.
Pros are competing for as much as $65,000, including a 519VX Ranger powered by Evinrude or Yamaha if contingency guidelines are met, and valuable points toward qualifying for the $1 million Stren Series Championship in Mobile, Ala., Nov. 8-11 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 2008 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, Ranger Owners Tournament Championship Series and TBF (The Bass Federation) for bass fishing’s biggest prize – $1 million.
Billy Roberson of Rincon, Ga., leads the Co-angler Division in the chase for a top award of $35,000, including a 519VX Ranger if contingency guidelines are met. He caught three bass weighing 10-6 while fishing with pro Sonny Monroe of Waycross, Ga., Wednesday and two bass weighing 3-15 while fishing with pro Tony Couch of Buckhead, Ga., Thursday for a total of five bass weighing 14-5.
“I got lucky and got a good draw on a boater and he took me to some good fish,” said Roberson, who caught one fish each on a Carolina rig and a Rat-L-Trap. “It’s all got to do with your draw. The first day my pro was on fish and I got bites behind him. My draw tomorrow is a good one.
“It’s my first time to compete in a Stren Series event, and it’s awesome,” Roberson added. “I’m elated to be in it.” Rounding out the top five co-anglers are Jason Waddell of Louisville, Ala. (four bass, 13-7); Jimmy Anderson of Davie, Fla. (four bass, 13-2); Tom Burks of Avon, Ind. (three bass, 12-12); and Frank Mackin of Tarpon Springs, Fla. (six bass, 12-6).
Burks earned $148 for the Snickers Big Bass award in the Co-angler Division thanks to an 8-pound, 6-ounce bass. Overall there were 122 bass weighing 280 pounds, 3 ounces caught by co-anglers Thursday. The catch included two five-bass limits.
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 2008 Forrest Wood Cup.
Anglers will take off at 7:30 each morning from Bainbridge Earl Mae Boat Basin located at 100 Basin Circle in Bainbridge, Ga. Friday’s weigh-in will be held at the marina beginning at 3 p.m. Saturday’s weigh-in will be held at the Wal-Mart store located at 500 E. Alice St. in Bainbridge, Ga., beginning at 4 p.m. Takeoffs and weigh-ins 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.
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, Ranger Owners Tournament Championship Series, 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 of nearly $43 million through 238 events in 2007.
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 Wal-Mart.com.
For more information about FLW Outdoors and its tournaments, visit FLWOutdoors.com or call (270) 252-1000.