The catch gave him the win by a slim 1-pound, 7-ounce margin over Jason Hickey of Weiser, Idaho, who caught a total of 20 bass weighing 39-12 and earned $30,849.
“It’s an awesome feeling,” said Hawk, who nailed his first FLW Outdoors win this week on Lake Mead. “This moment will never be forgotten. It’s amazing to see all my friends and family come together to cheer me on. I am very proud to be a part of this organization.”
Hawk opened the tournament in second place Wednesday with five bass weighing 13-05. On Thursday he added another three bass weighing 6-05. He then caught five bass weighing 9-14 on Friday to make the crucial top 10 cut tied for second place.
“I targeted bigger fish this week and ended up sacrificing bites trying to get the big ones. I have done this for many years on Lake Mead,” Hawk said. “A lot of times it has come back to haunt me in other tournaments here but today I brought in five. I had confidence in this strategy because during the week I lost the big bites. The key was I lost the fish on the second day and that maintained my confidence in my spot. ”
Hawk caught the majority of his bass this week throwing a Lucky Craft Chartreuse Shad Crankbait and a Roboworm. He targeted areas with big rocks that produced shadows. He said he fished anywhere from 5 to 25 feet depending on the clarity of the water and wind.
“In windy and dark conditions I threw the crankbait. As the wind starting to calm and it was sunny I switched to the worm,” he added. “I would just back off and pitch to shadows and rock piles."
Rounding out the top five pros are Sean Minderman of Spokane, Wash. (20 bass, 38-08, $24,680); National Guard pro Brent Ehrler of Redlands, Calif. (20 bass, 37-00, $18,510) and Rusty Salewske of Alpine, Calif. (20 bass, 36-15, $12,338).
“I look forward to the many opportunities this win will open for me," Hawk said. "I am truly blessed.” Wade Headrick of Draper, Utah, caught the biggest bass of the tournament in the Pro Division Thursday – an 4-pound, 3-ounce bass – that earned him the day’s Snickers Big Bass award of $309.
Overall there were 43 bass weighing 72 pounds, 3 ounces caught by 10 pros Saturday. The catch included eight five-bass limits.
Christopher Ricci of Bend, Ore., won the Co-angler Division and $20,000 Friday with a three-day total of 14 bass weighing 22 pounds, 2 ounces followed by Boris Antolos of Torrance, Calif., in second place with 14 bass weighing 21-08 worth $6,315.
Ricci opened the tournament in 26th place Wednesday with five bass weighing 6-01 while fishing with pro Jim Davis of Plumas Lake, Calif. On Thursday he jumped to 11th place on the strength of a five-bass catch weighing 7-04 while fishing with pro Ken Wick of Star, Idaho. He wrapped up the win Friday with a four bass weighing 8-13 while fishing with pro Randy Potter of Camas, Wash.
“This was an awesome week,” Ricci said. “I owe this win to all the pros that I had. Today, Randy told me that we were fishing for me to win since he was out of the race. He gave me plenty of water to fish and allowed me to have the first cast. That’s the caliber of pros that FLW has. That’s why I am where I am today.”
Ricci caught his bass on two key baits this week a Berkley Power Hawg and a 3-inch Berkley Power Craw on Berkley Trilene 100% Fluorocarbon Line.
“In practice I was throwing the Power Craw and I was getting nearly 40 bites a day. So I felt good throwing it,” Ricci said. “I was very confident in my Berkley baits and I had a feeling I would win after I starting throwing them.
“I am so pumped about this win and I love fishing FLW Outdoors tournaments. It is a great organization and I am so happy to be apart of it.”
Rounding out the top five co-anglers are Justin Lucas of Folsom, Calif. (14 bass, 21-03, $5,682); Aaron Leon of Henderson, Nev. (12 bass, 20-04, $5,051) and Tucker Clarke of San Diego, Calif. (14 bass, 20-02, $4,419).
Michael Sisco of Henderson, Nev., caught the biggest bass of the tournament in the Co-angler Division Friday – an 4-pound, 7-ounce bass – that earned him the day’s Snickers Big Bass award of $191.
Coverage of the Lake Mead 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 July 6. “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.
The next FLW Series National Guard Western Division tournament, hosted by Tri-Cities Visitor & Convention Bureau, will be held Sept. 17-20 on the Columbia River in Richland, Wash. Boats will launch from Columbia Point Marina in Richland and the final weigh-in will be held at the Wal-Mart located at 2801 Duportail Street in Richland.
After four qualifying events are complete in the National Guard Western Division, the top 30 pros and 30 co-anglers will advance to the BP East-National Guard West Fish-Off Nov. 20-22 at a yet to be announced site. There they will face the top 30 pros and 30 co-anglers from the BP Eastern Division for a shot at advancing to the $2 million, 2009 Forrest Wood Cup. The winning pro at the Forrest Wood Cup will earn as much as $1 million – the sport’s biggest award.
Tournament pros aren’t the only ones winning big this season. With the introduction of FLW Fantasy Fishing™, FLW Outdoors® offers 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 can become a virtual pro angler by signing up for Player’s Advantage, providing them with exclusive insider information that could guide them to a $100,000 victory at every Wal-Mart FLW Tour® stop and the Forrest Wood Cup. Player’s Advantage will give them an edge over the competition and increase their shot for a $1 million cash grand prize that will be awarded to the FLW Fantasy Fishing cumulative points winner.
Those who visit FantasyFishing.com today can sign up for Player’s Advantage and FLW Outdoors will include a $15 Wal-Mart gift card.
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 targeting bass, walleye, redfish, kingfish and striped bass. FLW Outdoors is also taking 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.