DEEDS LEADS WAL-MART FLW SERIES EVENT ON WHEELER LAKE

DECATUR, Ala. (March 27, 2008) – Pro Jake Deeds of El Dorado, Ark., caught a five-bass limit weighing 14 pounds, 6 ounces Thursday to retain the lead in the $1 million Wal-Mart FLW Series® BP Eastern Division tournament on Wheeler Lake with a two-day catch of 10 bass weighing 32-09. A southwest wind blew 15 to 20 miles per hour most of the day and gave many anglers fits, but those who accepted the wind and adapted their strategies prospered.

“The wind helped me today, and I’m hoping for some more tomorrow,” Deeds said. “With all these boats here, the fish were a little bit spooky. I had more bites today; they were just smaller.”

Deeds threw a ½-ounce football jig with a pork trailer to catch the majority of his bass on the second day of competition.

Deeds now holds a 7-ounce lead over second place pro Lonnie O’Neal of Valdosta, Ga., who managed to haul in a total of 10 bass weighing 32-02 during the first two days of competition.

O’Neal fished his bait of choice, a 10-inch worm, very slowly in pockets and feels confident in the pattern that has placed him within striking distance of the lead.

“I culled six times yesterday and probably that many today,” said O’Neal. “I was throwing back 3 ½-pounders. I feel pretty good, because I have a backup hole where I haven’t seen any other boats.”

Rounding out the top five pros are Keith Combs of Del Rio, Texas (10 bass, 30-05); Jim Dillard of West Monroe, La. (10 bass, 29-06) and Brad Hallman of Norman, Okla. (10 bass, 28-07).

Art Ferguson III of St. Clair Shores, Mich., earned the day’s $452 Snickers Big Bass award in the Pro Division thanks to a 7-pound, 2-ounce bass.

Overall there were 865 bass weighing 1,688 pounds, 15 ounces caught by 183 pros Thursday. The catch included 159 five-bass limits.

Pros are competing this week for a top award of $125,000 plus valuable points in the hope of qualifying for the BP East-National Guard West Fish-Off and a shot at advancing to the $2 million, 2009 Forrest Wood Cup, where the winning pro will earn as much as $1 million – the sport’s biggest award.

Tournament pros aren’t the only ones winning big this season. With the introduction of FLW Fantasy Fishing™, FLW Outdoors® offers anyone the opportunity to enter for their chance to land the catch of a lifetime with the opportunity to win $7.3 million in cash and prizes. 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 FantasyFishing.com today can sign up for Player’s Advantage and FLW Outdoors will include a $15 Wal-Mart gift card.

Derrick Snavely of Rogersville, Tenn., leads the Co-angler Division with a two-day total of eight bass weighing 22-15 followed by Rick Barham of Southaven, Miss., in second place with 10 bass weighing 21-01.

“I struggled today, but got off to a good start,” said Snavely, who placed fifth in the Co-angler Division of the 2008 FLW Series BP Eastern Division tournament on Lake Okeechobee. “I had an awesome partner who knows what he’s doing.”

Snavely caught four bass weighing 14-02 while fishing with pro Jason Hampson of Cartersville, Ga., Wednesday and four bass weighing 8-13 while fishing with pro Jim Dillard of West Monroe, La., Thursday.

Rounding out the top five co-anglers are Chuck Thurlow of Auburn, Ala. (10 bass, 20-13); Rodney Chmolack of Phenix City, Ala. (10 bass, 20-12) and Bill Niesciur of Glen Carbon, Ill. (10 bass, 20-07).

Michael McGhee of Blacksburg, Va., earned $280 for the Snickers Big Bass award in the Co-angler Division thanks to a 6-pound, 3-ounce bass while fishing with pro Roger Schofield of Killen, Ala.

Overall there were 645 bass weighing 1,072 pounds, 14 ounces caught by 175 co-anglers Thursday. The catch included 82 five-bass limits.

Co-anglers are competing this week for a top award of $25,000. Like the pros, the top 30 co-anglers from both FLW Series divisions after four qualifying events are complete will advance to the East-West Fish-Off for a shot at qualifying for the Forrest Wood Cup.

Anglers will take off at 7 each morning from Ingalls Harbor located at 802 Wilson St. NW in Decatur. 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 2800 Spring Ave. SW in Decatur beginning at 4 p.m. Children will also be treated to a Family Fun Zone prior to Saturday’s weigh-in from noon to 4 p.m. at Wal-Mart. Activities in the Family Fun Zone include the Kellogg’s trout pond, a Ranger boat simulator and assorted fishing-themed games. All activities are free and open to the public.

In FLW Series competition, the entire field competes for the first three days, and co-angler competition concludes on day three with the winner determined by the heaviest accumulated three-day weight. The top 10 professionals continue competition on day four, and the winner is determined by the heaviest accumulated weight from all four days.

Coverage of the Wheeler Lake FLW Series tournament will be broadcast to 81 million FSN (Fox Sports Net) subscribers in the United States as part of the “FLW Outdoors” television program airing May 4. “FLW Outdoors” is also broadcast in Canada on WFN (World Fishing Network) and to more than 429 million households in the United Kingdom, Europe, Russia, Australia, Africa, Asia, and the Middle East through a distribution agreement with Matchroom Sport, making it the most widely distributed fishing program in the world. The program airs Sunday mornings at 11 Eastern time in most markets. Check local listings for times in your area.

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 FLWOutdoors.com or call (270) 252-1000. For more information about FLW Fantasy Fishing and Player’s Advantage, visit FantasyFishing.com. FLW Outdoors historically maintains a 98 percent live release rate in all of its bass tournaments.