Indiana Man Leads Race for $1 Million FLW Fantasy Fishing Prize

FLW Outdoors Press Release

Minneapolis (May 13, 2008) -- The race for FLW Fantasy Fishing's $1 million grand prize continues to heat up with just four more tournaments to go.

With the next tournament coming up on May 15, virtual anglers from around the world are rushing to enter their fantasy fishing teams in anticipation of winning $100,000, which will be awarded to the winner of the next FLW Fantasy Fishing tournament, and accumulating more points to win the game’s $1 million guaranteed grand prize, which will be awarded in mid-August, following the seventh and final tournament.

For those wondering exactly what fantasy fishing is, think fantasy football…but with fish – bass fishing, to be exact. Players select a team of 10 pro bass anglers before each Wal-Mart FLW Tour bass tournament. The virtual anglers earn points based on the real, on-the-water performance of 200 pros who fish the Wal-Mart FLW Tour, a seven-tournament series offering the richest payouts in pro fishing.

Leading the race for the $1 million grand prize as well as the right to claim the FLW Fantasy Fishing 2008 championship title is Rick Persyn, a resident of Spencerville, Ind., a small town located near Fort Wayne, Ind. To date, Persyn has accumulated 13,729 points, good for first place going into the fourth FLW Fantasy Fishing tournament.

Persyn knocked Indianapolis-area resident Todd Hollowell out of first place. Hollowell was leading the FLW Fantasy Fishing game after the completion of the second FLW Fantasy Fishing tournament, based on the FLW Tour’s second tournament at Lewis Smith Lake in Alabama. In fact, Hollowell dropped out of the top 10 altogether.

“I’m absolutely surprised that I’m leading,” said Persyn, who owns a window treatment business. “I’m not a big fisherman and I’ve played fantasy football a bit. I just saw this on the internet one day. I thought it was fun, it was free, and the prizes looked amazing. So I entered. If I can do it, anyone can play fantasy fishing.”

Going into the fourth FLW Fantasy Fishing tournament, the current leader board stands as follows:

1. Rick Persyn, Spencerville, Ind., 13,729 points
2. Gregg Pigg, Brookville, Ohio, 13,641 points
3. Eric Naig, Spirit Lake, Iowa, 13,618 points
4. Jason Berg, Minnetonka, Minn., 13,304 points
5. Donald Helsabeck, Winston-Salem, N.C., 13,158 points
6. Frank Savino, Hudson, Wis., 13,111 points
7. Peter Koenig, North Port, Fla., 13,002 points
8. Brent Seehusen, Clear Lake, Iowa, 12,758 points
9. Rachel Watson, Altha, Fla., 12,593 points
10. Rob Russow, Brookfield, Ill., 12,580 points

Like the third FLW Fantasy Fishing tournament, the fourth tournament is expected to offer lots of excitement, whether a player has entered all of the FLW Fantasy Fishing tournaments so far, as Persyn has, or will be entering their first tournament. Because the fourth tournament offers double bonus points, a player who has never entered or has not been as successful in accumulating as many points as other players, can suddenly rocket to the front of the pack.

That’s exactly what happened with the winner of FLW Fantasy Fishing’s last tournament. John Yandell, an 18-year-old high school senior attending De La Salle High School in the San Francisco Bay Area, entered FLW Fantasy Fishing ( for the first time only three weeks ago and won the Lake Norman fantasy bass fishing tournament, claiming the tournament’s $100,000 prize. More importantly, Yandell catapulted to 973rd place, which, at this stage of the game, clearly places him within striking distance for the $1 million grand prize and the 2008 FLW Fantasy Fishing championship.

To up his odds, Yandell and other players are turning to Player’s Advantage, a season-long subscription to an online tool that helps FLW Fantasy Fishing players obtain insight and information to give them an edge in picking their pro anglers. In fact, according to FLW Fantasy Fishing, Player’s Advantage subscribers are achieving a 50 percent higher success rate over non-members in winning one of 585 prizes offered for each of the seven FLW Fantasy Fishing tournaments.

“This is when it gets really exciting,” said Irwin Jacobs, chairman of FLW Outdoors® and creator of FLW Fantasy Fishing. “Statistically, with double- and triple-point tournaments still to come, anyone has a chance to win not only the $1 million grand prize, but to claim a tournament win, good for $100,000, or any of our other great prizes.”

“We’re starting to see some players accumulate some really big points,” Jacobs added, “and that has all the makings of a game that may go down to the wire. It’s just like pro bass fishing – you never known when the next cast could hook you the big one.”

How FLW Fantasy Fishing Works

FLW Fantasy Fishing is free to play and is open to adults, ages 18 and up, throughout the world, wherever it is legal to play. Participants log onto and register to enter the game. Players can sign up any time during the season, up until Aug. 13, 2008, the day before the Forrest Wood Cup championship tournament. Prior to each Wal-Mart FLW Tour tournament, FLW Fantasy Fishing participants select a fantasy team of 10 FLW pro bass anglers. Participants earn points for each tournament, based on the performance (placement in the designated tournament) of their fantasy team pro anglers.

Participants can win prizes for an individual tournament as well as accumulate points over seven designated tournaments to be eligible for a $1 million cash prize, which will be awarded to the participant with the highest overall points for the season. Seven $100,000 first-place prizes go to the participants who earn the most points for each tournament. A $5 million bonus will be paid to the first player to correctly rank the top seven finishers in a tournament. Participants can subscribe to Player's Advantage to get the edge when selecting their team by accessing expert advice, inside information and cutting-edge statistical tools.

The Wal-Mart FLW Tour consists of seven tournaments, including:

Lake Toho (Kissimmee, Fla.): Feb. 28 – March 2, 2008
Lewis Smith Lake (Jasper, Ala.): April 3 – 6, 2008
National Guard Open -- Lake Norman (Charlotte, N.C.): April 24 – 27, 2008
NEXT: Wal-Mart Open -- Beaver Lake (Rogers, Ark.): May 15 – 18, 2008
Fort Loudoun-Tellico Lakes (Knoxville, Tenn.): June 19 – 22, 2008
Detroit River (Detroit, Mich.): July 10 – 13, 2008
Forrest Wood Cup at Lake Murray (Columbia, S.C.): Aug. 14 – 17, 2008

About FLW Outdoors

FLW Outdoors® is named after the legendary founder of Ranger® Boats, Forrest L. Wood, and it conducts the following tournament circuits:

Wal-Mart™ FLW Tour®
Wal-Mart™ FLW® Series
Stren™ Series
Wal-Mart™ Bass Fishing League
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
Wal-Mart™ FLW® Striper Series

These circuits offer combined purses of more than $40 million through 230 events in 2008.

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, browse or call (270) 252-1000.