Evans has definitely been fishing an interesting pattern this week. As the leaderboard has shifted throughout the tournament, reports of big catches on many different patterns have emerged. Some pros have been fishing offshore structure and rocky points. Others have been flipping in and around boat docks.
Evans and a few others have been fishing stump fields. "I've been fishing in the best-looking big-bass spot in the lake," Evans said. "It's so obvious and so shallow I think people have avoided it. Every fish I've caught this week has been on wood in 5 feet of water or less."
Evans has been casting a 3/4-ounce green-pumpkin Stacey King casting jig tipped with a Paca Craw to visible stumps. Bass have been holding in the root systems under the stumps and most of Evans' bites have been on the initial fall.
"I could believe there were that many big bass up that shallow after the spawn," Evans said. "But they were a little poor looking and hungry. I think they were up there eating bluegills and those bluegills are around the stumps."
Rounding out the top five pros are Curt Tindall of Brandon, Vt. (10 bass, 28 pounds, 8 ounces, $10,000 plus $1,500 Ranger Cup earnings); Todd Auten of Lake Wylie, S.C. (10 bass, 27 pounds, 5 ounces, $8,950); Andy Montgomery of Blacksburg, S.C. (10 bass, 26 pounds, 4 ounces, $7,950); and Ryan Park of Elizabethtown, Pa. (10 bass, 24 pounds, 5 ounces, $7,450).
Michael McMahon of Hackettstown, N.J., won the Co-angler Division and earned $35,000 in cash and prizes, including a fully rigged 519VX Ranger and $5,000 cash. He caught a two-day total of nine bass weighing 18 pounds, 15 ounces.
McMahon fished with Evans on the last day. "I've caught them anywhere and everywhere this week," McMahon said. "I've caught them in over 20 feet of water and we caught them in less than a foot of water today. While fishing the stump field, we saw a big school of 4- or 5-pounders move through in crystal-clear water. Larry caught one of them and they spread out and we started picking them off."
McMahon used a Texas-rigged Senko with a 1/8-ounce weight fished on spinning tackle to catch his bass on the final day.
Rounding out the top five co-anglers are Gary Love of Roanoke Rapids, N.C. (seven bass, 17 pounds, $4,000); Gary Cossaboom of Winchester, Ontario (eight bass, 15 pounds, 3 ounces, $3,480); Moo Bae of West Friendship, Md. (six bass, 12 pounds, 15 ounces, $2,480); and Jay Garrad of Durham, N.C. (five bass, 12 pounds, 10 ounces, $1,980).
Anglers are also competing for valuable points that could qualify them for a trip to the $1 million Stren Series Championship for a shot at $140,000. The highest-finishing pro from each division at the Stren Series Championship will also earn a spot in the new $2 million 2007 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' tournaments and The Bass Federation for bass fishing's first $1 million top award.
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 presented by Abu Garcia, Stratos Owners' 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 Wal-Mart FLW Striper Series. These circuits offer combined purses exceeding $37.9 million through 249 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.