PLATTSBURGH, N.Y. (Sept. 8, 2004) – New York’s Lake Champlain, one of the nation’s premier smallmouth fisheries, will be the playing field for the final EverStart Series Northern Division event of the regular season. The tournament, scheduled for Sept. 22-25 and hosted by the City of Plattsburgh, will feature as many as 400 Northern Division anglers competing for valuable angler points that will determine who will advance to the $335,975 EverStart Series Championship, scheduled for Nov. 3-6 on Lake Cumberland in Somerset, Ky. The tournament will pay out as much as $256,825 in cash and prizes, with as much as $61,900 going to the winning pro, including a fully rigged Ranger boat. The winning co-angler can earn as much as $35,000 in cash and prizes. Early fall on Champlain means water temperatures are going to be mild, so the bass will likely be in energetic moods and willing to chase an assortment of lures. “Champlain is an incredible fishery,” said Kellogg’s pro and Northern Division stalwart Dave Lefebre of Erie, Pa. “The lake is full of quality smallmouths and largemouths, and it’s good from one end to the other. The bass are everywhere, and it could be won just about anywhere on the lake. It’s really going to be an exciting tournament.”

Spinnerbaits, crankbaits and top-waters should produce some quality sacks of smallmouths, and Lefebre said there could also be a good flipping bite in progress along the outside edges of milfoil, coon tail and cabbage grass beds. “The more productive patterns are definitely going to be centered around the weeds,” Lefebre said. “The lake has a million points, humps and underwater islands, and they will all have weeds on them. Places where rock and weeds collide also could be key areas.”

Anglers will take off from Mooney Bay Marina at 7 each morning. Wednesday and Thursday’s weigh-ins will also be held at Mooney Bay beginning at 2:30 p.m., and Friday and Saturday’s weigh-ins will be held at the Wal-Mart store located at 25 Consumer Square in Plattsburgh beginning at 4 p.m. The community is encouraged to attend daily takeoffs and weigh-ins.

The full field will compete for two days to determine the top 20 pros and 20 co-anglers who advance to Friday’s semifinal round based on their two-day accumulated weight. Weights are cleared for the semifinal round, and anglers compete for one day to determine who advances to Saturday’s final round. Only the top 10 pros and 10 co-anglers compete Saturday, and the winner is determined by the heaviest two-day weight.

The winning pro is guaranteed $10,000 cash plus an Evinrude- or Yamaha-powered Ranger 519 VS equipped with Garmin electronics, a Minn Kota trolling motor and EverStart batteries. If the winner is the original owner of a Ranger boat, he will receive a $10,000 bonus from Ranger for a top pro award worth $61,900. If he is a qualifying participant in the Ranger Cup incentive program, Ranger will award another $3,000 cash (or $1,500 to the highest-finishing Ranger Cup participant if not the winner), and Yamaha will match 50 percent of Ranger Cup winnings if the angler’s boat is powered by a Yamaha outboard. Garmin will award the winning pro $1,000 if he uses only Garmin electronics and at least one unit is a qualifying unit.

The winning co-angler is guaranteed $5,000 cash, and if he is a Ranger boat owner, Ranger will award him a new Ranger 519 VS for a total prize package worth $35,000. Co-anglers who make the final round of each regular-season EverStart Series event and wear an EverStart/Evinrude shirt and cap on stage are awarded points toward the EverStart Batteries and Evinrude Outboard Engines Co-angler Award. The co-angler receiving the most points by the end of the season receives a 2004 Evinrude 225HO Direct Injection outboard engine rigged on a Ranger boat equipped with a Minn Kota trolling motor and EverStart batteries that will be presented at the EverStart Series Championship.

The EverStart Series features a pro/co-angler format with pros supplying the boats, fishing from the front deck against other pros and controlling boat movement. Co-anglers fish from the back deck and compete against other co-anglers. Every angler who receives weight credit in a tournament earns points that determine angler standings. Two hundred points are awarded to the winner, 199 points for second, 198 points for third, and so on.

Designed as a pathway to the $6.8 million Wal-Mart FLW Tour, the world’s most lucrative bass-tournament series, the EverStart Series features four divisions – Eastern, Central, Northern and Western – with four regular-season events each. The season culminates with the EverStart Series Championship, which will be broadcast to 65 million subscribers of the Outdoor Life Network on the “FLW Outdoors” television series. Northern Division anglers who finish in the top 40 in the final points standings are eligible to compete in the championship.

Named after the legendary founder of Ranger Boats, Forrest L. Wood, FLW Outdoors is the world’s leading marketer of competitive fishing. FLW Outdoors-sanctioned tournament trails are the Wal-Mart FLW Tour, EverStart Series, Wal-Mart Bass Fishing League, Wal-Mart Texas Tournament Trail, Wal-Mart RCL Walleye Tour and Wal-Mart RCL Walleye League. EverStart Batteries, the best-selling batteries in the world, are marketed exclusively by Wal-Mart stores.

Wal-Mart and many of America’s most respected companies support FLW Outdoors and its six tournament trails. Wal-Mart has been the title sponsor of FLW Outdoors since 1997.