“I had a really good day,” said Fritts, who has earned more then $845,000 in career earnings with FLW Outdoors. “I didn’t even go to my main spot today. There were some boats real close to it so I didn’t go and I think I can catch a bigger stringer from there.”
Fritts remained tight-lipped about the exact technique that he used to catch his quality Clarks Hill bass but did say that he managed to only fish three out of his 12 key spots. In the three spots he fished today he had zero pressure.
“I thought that 13 pounds a day would win coming into this tournament and to get 23 makes me think that other anglers can get the weight too,” Fritts added. “I feel pretty confident in catching 15 pounds each day.”
Fritts is known as the crankbait king and as for throwing crankbaits today all he would say is that he did at some point pick up his crankbait rod. “Well, I always throw a crankbait but I’m not saying for sure,” he added.
Greg Hackney of Gonzales, La., trails Fritts in the No. 2 spot with five bass weighing 15-08.
Rounding out the top five pros are Dale Gibbs of Martinez, Ga. (five bass, 14-15); Casey Ashley of Donalds, S.C. (five bass, 13-15) and Nate Wellman of Jenison, Mich. (five bass, 13-14).
Chip Harrison of Bremen, Ind., earned the day’s $392 Snickers Big Bass award in the Pro Division thanks to a 7-pound, 5-ounce bass.
Overall there were 649 bass weighing 1,132 pounds, 10 ounces caught by 153 pros Wednesday. The catch included 100 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 anglers aren’t the only ones winning big this season. With the introduction of FLW Fantasy Fishing™, FLW Outdoors® offered 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 could become a virtual pro angler by signing up for Player’s Advantage, which provided them with exclusive insider information that could have guided them to a $100,000 victory at every Walmart FLW Tour® stop and the Forrest Wood Cup. Player’s Advantage gave them an edge over the competition and increased their shot for the $1 million cash grand prize awarded to the FLW Fantasy Fishing cumulative points winner. Visit FantasyFishing.com today to find out more information and to register for next season.
Matt Lowe of Walhalla, S.C., leads the Co-angler Division with five bass weighing 9-04 followed by Jacques Fleischmann of Shell Knob, Mo., in second place with five bass weighing 7-15.
Lowe caught his bass while fishing with pro Bill Lee of Killeen, Texas, who is currently in 144th place with two bass weighing 2-09.
Rounding out the top five co-anglers are Robert Rikard of Lexington, S.C. (five bass, 7-11); Kim Fischer of High Ridge, Mo. (five bass, 7-10) and Kenneth Hunnicutt of Jacksonville, Fla. (four bass, 7-10).
Michael McGhee of Fredericksburg, Va., earned $253 for the Snickers Big Bass award in the Co-angler Division thanks to a 4-pound, 8-ounce bass while fishing with pro Bill Tervin of Fort Smith, Ark.
Overall there were 325 bass weighing 458 pounds, 6 ounces caught by 133 co-anglers Wednesday. The catch included 17 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 8 each morning from Wildwood Park located at 6212 Holloway Rd. in Appling. Thursday and Friday’s weigh-in will be held at the marina beginning at 3 p.m. Saturday’s weigh-in will be held at the Walmart store located at 4471 Washington Rd. in Evans, Ga., 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 Walmart. Activities in the Family Fun Zone include the Land O’ Lakes trout pond, a Ranger boat simulator and assorted fishing-themed games. All activities are free and open to the public.
In FLW Series competition, pros and co-anglers are randomly paired each day, with pros supplying the boat, controlling boat movement and competing against other pros. Co-anglers fish from the back deck against other co-anglers. 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 Clarks Hill 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 Dec. 28. “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. FLW Outdoors also took 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.