The heavy rains that have fallen all week took a break Friday as anglers experienced mostly dry skies in the late morning and afternoon hours. However, shortly after weigh-in concluded Friday, tornado warnings were issued for areas just to the west of Red Wing. The Mississippi River system is high and muddy, and the semifinal-round weights proved the fishing was tough.
"I haven't changed anything all week," Feldermann said. "The big fish bit a little better today. All my keepers were largemouths, and I caught them in 2 feet of water in slack-water pockets. I threw a spinnerbait and buzzbait all day.
"I'd like to think my area can hold up tomorrow. There isn't anyone else fishing around me. But I'm only getting about one bite an hour, and it's usually a good fish." Rounding out the top five pros are Jeff Ritter of Prairie du Chien, Wis. (five bass, 12 pounds, 8 ounces); Aaron LaRocque of Wabasha (five bass, 12 pounds, 6 ounces); Bob Izumi of Milton, Ontario (five bass, 11 pounds, 12 ounces); and Kellogg's pro Dave Lefebre of Erie, Pa. (five bass, 10 pounds, 6 ounces).
Scott Cloutier of Rochester leads the Co-angler Division thanks to three bass weighing 7 pounds, 6 ounces. "I had a good pro today, Dave Lefebre, and that really helped," Cloutier said. "That guy is a machine.
"I caught my fish on green tubes and Senkos around shallow rocks with current. The water clarity is not too good - just a bit better than chocolate milk. So you had to put the bait right in front the fish to get them to hit it, and even then, the bite was light."
Rounding out the top five co-anglers are Dave Norton of Burlington, Wis. (three bass, 6 pounds, 5 ounces); Peter Cherkas of Des Moines, Iowa (two bass, 4 pounds, 8 ounces); Troy Sprague of Lincoln, Neb. (two bass, 4 pounds, 4 ounces); and Scot Keefe of Hinesburg, Vt. (two bass, 4 pounds, 4 ounces).
Anglers take off at 6 Saturday morning from Treasure Island Resort and Casino, located at 5734 Sturgeon Lake Road in Welch. Saturday's weigh-in will be held at the Wal-Mart store located at 295 Tyler Road S. in Red Wing beginning at 3:30 p.m. The community is encouraged to attend the takeoff and weigh-in.
The full field competed for two days to determine the top 20 pros and 20 co-anglers who advanced to Friday's semifinal round based on their two-day accumulated weight. Weights were cleared for the semifinal round, and anglers competed for one day to determine who advanced 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.
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 $3.88 million EverStart Series features four divisions - Eastern, Central, Northern and Western - with four regular-season events each. The season culminates with the $335,975 EverStart Series Championship presented by Energizer, which will be held Nov. 3-6 on Lake Cumberland near Somerset, Ky. The event 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.
The second Northern Division tournament will be held July 21-24 on the Detroit River near Trenton, Mich., followed by a stop on Lake Erin near Buffalo, N.Y., August 25-28. Regular-season competition concludes September 22-25 on Lake Champlain near Plattsburgh, N.Y.
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. For a complete list of FLW Outdoors sponsors and for more information about the premier products and services they offer, please visit FLWOutdoors.com.