Without a doubt, Lake Amistad is one of the top bass lakes in the world. Along with the two records set by Criswell and Mauldin, competitors of the event set numerous FLW Outdoors records, including: heaviest combined four-day weight (David Mauldin, 105 pounds, 8 ounces), heaviest total one-day weight (day two, 5,071 pounds, 8 ounces), heaviest opening-round total weight (9,133 pounds, 8 ounces), second-heaviest opening-round pro weight (Craig Dowling, 53 pounds, 12 ounces), fifth-heaviest one-day pro weight (day two, Ricky Scott, 34 pounds, 4 ounces), tie for sixth-heaviest one-day pro weight (day three, David Mauldin, 33 pounds, 6 ounces), heaviest one-day co-angler weight (day one, Tim Achee, 30 pounds, 10 ounces), and heaviest opening-round co-angler weight (Ed Gold, 48 pounds, 13 ounces). The Snickers Big Bass in the Pro Division for days one and two each weighed 11 pounds or more.
Anglers weighed 34 one-day catches of 25 pounds or more, including seven limits exceeding 30 pounds.
"Every now and then a blind hog can find an acorn," said Criswell, the Ranger Boats dealer owner in Del Rio. "I really got lucky in the first round. I thought it would take about 39 or 40 pounds to make the cut, and I left a good area on day two after I had about 43 pounds. The cut ended up being at 42 pounds, and I squeaked in the cut in 16th place. I would have beat myself up if I wouldn't have made the cut when I could have caught more. And I really didn't expect these kind of weights, especially on days three and four.
"I caught most of my fish in about 18 feet of water on a Lucky Craft jerkbait. But I did catch three big fish on a Senko. About half the fish I caught had spawned."
Pros Mark Mauldin of Tomball, Texas, and Craig Dowling of Many, La., had been locked in a record-setting dual all week, with one of the two leading the event each of the previous three days, but both faltered on the final day. Mauldin finished second with a two-day total of 10 bass weighing 51 pounds, 10 ounces and earned $10,000. Dowling finished third with a two-day total of 46 pounds, 3 ounces and earned $9,000.
Finishing third in the Pro Division was Ricky Scott of Van Buren, Ark., with 10 bass weighing 46 pounds, 3 ounces. He lost the tiebreaker with Dowling - largest one-day weight of the final round - and earned $8,000. Keith Combs of Temple, Texas, finished fifth with 10 bass weighing 43 pounds, 11 ounces and earned $7,500.
Chris Weaver of Lawton, Okla., caught a two-day total of 10 bass weighing 38 pounds, 7 ounces to win the Co-angler Division and earn $35,000 in cash and prizes, including a Ranger boat.
"It's been a lot of hard work and took a lot of patience," Weaver said. "I was using a Texas-rigged Senko with a 1/16-ounce weight in 20 to 30 feet of water. Do you know how long it takes a Senko with a 1/16-ounce weight to get that deep? You can drink a soda before it hits the bottom. But the fish didn't want anything with more weight. I had to use just enough weight to get the bait down but keep it light enough to move the way it's supposed to. I fished like that every day. Today, I fished with Jim Criswell, and we fished a saddle that had trees on the top."
Rounding out the top five co-anglers were Jeff Snyder of Royse City, Texas (10 bass, 37 pounds, 13 ounces, $4,000); Ed Gold of Broken Arrow, Okla. (10 bass, 36 pounds, 8 ounces, $3,500); Jim Behnken of Floresville, Texas (10 bass, 35 pounds, 6 ounces); and Tom Medlock of Licking, Mo. (10 bass, 32 pounds, 12 ounces, $2,000).
Stren Series tournaments are four-day events consisting of three rounds. The entire field competes Wednesday and Thursday, and the top 20 pros and co-anglers - based on two-day accumulated weights - advance to day three. Anglers start at zero Thursday and compete for 10 spots in each division in the final round. Winners are determined by the heaviest accumulated weight from days three and four.
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, 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 Stratos Owners Tournament Trail. These circuits offer combined purses exceeding $36.7 million through 241 events in 2006.
For more information about 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 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.