“Today was pretty good,” said Draime, who has won over $23,000 in prize money while fishing FLW Outdoors events. “I lost a few fish early that might have cost me. They pulled the water down last night so I had to go look for them all over again this morning. One key thing I have found is some off-colored water. I’m thinking that might give me an edge over the rest of the field.”
Draime was throwing a combination of lipless crankbaits and spinnerbaits around points in three to eight feet of water to catch his bass.
Rounding out the top five pros are Todd Auten of Lake Wylie, S.C. (15 bass, 44-2); Ryan Ingram of Phoenix City, Ala. (15 bass, 44-00); Joseph Kremer of Osteen, Fla. (14 bass, 42-00); and Ryan Worthington of Middleburg, Fla. (15 bass, 41-13).
Also clearing the top 10 cut weight of 37 pounds, 12 ounces in the Pro Division are Koby Kreiger of Okeechobee, Fla.; Ken Ellis of Bowman, S.C.; Rodger Beaver of Dawson, Ga.; Chad Prough of Chipley, Fla.; and Alex Ormand of Bessemer City, N.C.
Kremer also earned an additional $295 for the Snickers Big Bass award in the Pro Division thanks to a 7-pound, 8-ounce bass..
Overall there were 514 bass weighing 1,318 pounds, 12 ounces caught by 191 pros Friday. The catch included 47 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. Alan Hults of Gautier, Miss., leads the Co-angler Division in the chase for a top award of $35,000, including a 519VX Ranger if contingency guidelines are met, thanks to a three-day total of 12 bass weighing 34-13.
“I changed everything up today,” said Hults, who holds a six pound lead over his closest competitor going into the final day of competition. “My partner and I today were flipping. That’s one thing I haven’t done all week. The dropping water level really hurt the flipping bite. Luckily, I was able to catch two in an open area between to grass mats with a Rattle Trap today.”
“I’m just going to go fishing and have some fun tomorrow. We will just have to wait and see what happens,” he said. Rounding out the top five co-anglers are Donald Roberts of Riverside, Ala. (eight bass, 28-1); Rob Boyer of Lawrenceville, Ga. (10 bass, 26-6); Adam Saucerman of Millcreek, W.Va. (seven bass, 24-10); and Kyle Shirley of Huntsville, Ala. (six bass, 24-3).
Also clearing the top 10 cut weight of 20 pounds, 8 ounces in the Co-angler Division are Chris Hults of Vancleave, Miss.; Joe Buchanan of Abbeville, Ala.; Robert Mulleins of Cumberland, Va.; Burch Zadlo of Boone, N.C.; and Wayne Frierson of Manning, S.C.
Shirley also earned an additional $148 for the Snickers Big Bass award in the Co-angler Division thanks to a 7-pound bass he caught.
Overall there were 244 bass weighing 609 pounds, 9 ounces caught by 180 co-anglers Friday. The catch included 4 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 6:30 Saturday morning from Lakepoint State Park located at 104 Lakepoint Drive in Eufaula, Ala. Saturday’s final weigh-in will be held at the Wal-Mart store located at 1252 South Eufaula Ave. in Eufaula, Ala., beginning at 4 p.m. The takeoff and weigh-in 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.