BAINBRIDGE, Ga. (Jan. 30, 2008) – Pro Shane Cole of Empire, Ala., caught a five-bass limit weighing

BAINBRIDGE, Ga. (Jan. 30, 2008) – Pro Shane Cole of Empire, Ala., caught a five-bass limit weighing 15 pounds, 7 ounces Wednesday to lead opening day of the Stren Series Southeast Division tournament presented by Evinrude on Lake Seminole.

Rounding out the top five pros are Ken Bearden of LaGrange, Ga. (five bass, 13-10); Ott Defoe of Knoxville, Tenn. (five bass, 12-15); Brandon Brock of Richmond, Ky. (five bass, 12-12); and Ron Klys of Gainesville, Fla. (two bass, 11-12). Currey Holley of Pulaski, Tenn., earned $285 for the Snickers Big Bass award in the Pro Division thanks to a 8-pound, 14-ounce bass.

Overall there were 300 bass weighing 642 pounds, 11 ounces caught by 187 pros Wednesday. The catch included 12 five-bass limits.

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.

Tournament pros aren’t the only ones winning big this season. With the introduction of FLW Fantasy Fishing™, FLW Outdoors® will be awarding the largest fantasy sports payout in history. Players can become a virtual pro angler by signing up for Player’s Advantage, providing them with exclusive insider information that could guide them to a $100,000 victory at every Wal-Mart FLW Tour stop and the Forrest Wood Cup. Player’s Advantage will give them an edge over the competition and increase their shot for a $1 million cash grand prize that will be awarded to the FLW Fantasy Fishing cumulative points winner. Those who visit today can sign up for Player’s Advantage and FLW Outdoors will include a $15 Wal-Mart gift card.

Joseph Jenkins of Harrogate, Tenn., leads the Co-angler Division in the chase for a top award of $35,000, including a 198VX Ranger if contingency guidelines are met. He caught four bass weighing 14-02 while fishing with pro Ron Klys of Gainesville, Fla., who is currently in fifth place.

Rounding out the top five co-anglers are Joseph Ellis Sr. of Cincinnati, Ohio (three bass, 12-09); Gerrit Goins of Cleveland, Tenn. (three bass, 12-07); Tom Ridley of Valdosta, Ga. (five bass, 12-05); and Ken Crumpler of Marianna, Fla. (four bass, 10-10).

Goins earned $144 for the Snickers Big Bass award in the Co-angler Division thanks to a 9-pound, 4-ounce bass. Overall there were 113 bass weighing 274 pounds, 14 ounces caught by 187 co-anglers Wednesday. The catch included one 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 2009 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. Thursday and 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 Street in Bainbridge, 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.

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 or call (270) 252-1000. For more information about FLW Fantasy Fishing and Player’s Advantage, visit