REDDING, Calif. (Jan. 10, 2007) – Pro Gene Gray of Atascadero, Calif., caught a five-bass limit weighing 13 pounds, 11 ounces Wednesday to lead opening day of the $275,225 Stren Series Western Division tournament on Lake Shasta.

“I love it here at Lake Shasta,” said pro Gene Gray, who is only in his second season with FLW Outdoors and already achieved one top-10 finish. “This is probably my second favorite lake behind Clear Lake. Fishing was good today and I think if the weather front moves through like they are saying, we should see some better fish being weighed in. I was culling almost all day. Nothing was really bigger than my other fish; they were just a few ounces heavier. The fish just slowly kept improving.”

Gray is keeping his productive pattern under wraps for now but he said that he is targeting deep, offshore rock piles throwing an array of soft-plastics.

Rounding out the top five pros are Jim Davis of San Jose, Calif. (five bass, 13-1); Michael Tuck of Antelope, Calif. (five bass, 12-9); Marvin Dixon of Willits, Calif. (five bass, 12-4); and Alex Dombrowski of Duvall, Wash. (five bass, 11-11). Gray earned $250 for the Snickers Big Bass award in the Pro Division on day one thanks to a 5-pound, 15-ounce bass. Overall in the pro division Wednesday, there were 761 fish caught weighing 1,340 pounds and 6 ounces containing 149 quality limits of bass.

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.

Charles Keller of Redding, Calif., leads the Co-angler Division in the chase for a top award of $35,000, including a 519VX Ranger if contingency guidelines are met. He caught five bass weighing 13-2 while fishing with pro Matt Newman of Agoura Hills, Calif., who is currently in 44th place.

Rounding out the top five co-anglers are Willie Cummings of Tucson, Ariz. (five bass, 11-9); Gary Haraguchi of Brentwood, Calif. (five bass, 10-13); Roy Desmangles Jr. of Lincoln, Calif. (five bass, 10-11); and Jason Milligan of Anderson, Calif. (five bass, 10-4).

Cummings earned $131 for the Snickers Big Bass award in the Co-angler Division thanks to a 4-pound, 4-ounce bass. 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. vAnglers will take off at 7:30 each morning from Bridge Bay Resort located at 10300 Bridge Bay Road in Redding, Calif. 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 Wal-Mart store located at 1515 Dana Drive in Redding, Calif., beginning at 4 p.m. Takeoffs and weigh-ins 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.

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 on 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

For more information about FLW Outdoors and its tournaments, visit or call (270) 252-1000.