Junk opened the tournament Wednesday with four bass weighing 9 pounds, 7 ounces. On Thursday he added five bass weighing 10 pounds, 11 ounces to his catch to make the top-20 cut in 17th place with a two-day total of nine bass weighing, 20 pounds, 2 ounces. He then caught five bass weighing 12 pounds, 1 ounces Friday to make the top-10 cut in 6th place. On Saturday he caught another five bass limit to secure his first ever Stren Series win.
The conditions today were ideal for fishing. Clear skies, warm temperatures and clam winds lead to an excellent final round with some extravagant catches on both the pro and co-angler side.
"It was awesome and I can't wait to do it again," said Junk. "I never thought I had it won. I set my goal for at least fifteen pounds everyday. I knew I had a strong enough pattern to hold fish through the entirety of the event but I just had to go fishing and catch them, that was my biggest worry."
Junk caught his fish by "junk" fishing, pun intended. "I figured that would be a fitting style of fishing since it is my last name and all," said Junk. He fished deep, shallow and everywhere in-between, throwing nearly everything in his tackle bag to catch his bass.
Rounding out the top five pros are Bill Walker of Mulkeytown, Ill. (10 bass, 25 pounds, 14 ounces); Mark Rose of Marion, Ark. (10 bass bass, 24 pounds, 12 ounces); Chad Morgenthaler of Coulterville, Ill. (nine bass, 23 pounds, 6 ounces); and William Davis of Russellville, Ala. (nine bass, 22 pounds, 14 ounces).
Kirk McKnight of Milan, Ill., won the Co-angler Division earning him his first Stren Series victory and $4,475 plus a fully rigged 519VX Ranger bass boat. Saturday, he caught four bass weighing 13 pounds, 3 ounces while fishing with pro Chad Morgenthaler of Coulterville, Ill., who finished in fourth place. McKnight's two-day total was seven bass weighing 20 pounds and 11 ounces.
"It was great, I get a new boat! I came into this event only looking for enough points to make it to the championship," said McKnight. "It was a lot of hard work and very nerve racking especially when I blanked on day two. I was pretty excited last night because I knew I had a good partner who was capable of putting us on some good fish. Wining this event was way more than what I was hoping for."
McKnight was throwing a topwater frog and Senkos over grass and pads to catch his solid bags bass each day of this event. McKnight topped the rest of the co-angler field by a whopping 4 pounds and 7 ounces.
Rounding out the top five co-anglers are Andy Bylander of Amery, Wis. (seven bass, 16 pounds, 4 ounces); Bud Strader of Rockwood, Tenn. (six bass, 14 pounds, 3 ounces); Marty Barski of Crystal Lake, Ill. (five bass, 13 pounds, 10 ounces); and Kevin Whitaker of West Chicago, Ill. (six bass, 12 pounds, 15 ounces).
The event was hosted by the Fort Madison Area Convention and Visitor's Bureau. For more information visit their Web site at www.visitfortmadison.com.
Pros were competing for as much as $64,500 and valuable points that could qualify them for a trip to the $1 million Stren Series Championship for a shot at $140,000. The highest-finishing pro from each division at the Stren Series Championship will also earn a spot in the new $2 million 2007 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 and Ranger owners' tournaments for bass fishing's first $1 million top award.
Stren Series tournaments are four-day events consisting of three rounds. The entire field competes Wednesday and Thursday, and the top 20 pros and co-anglers - based on two-day accumulated weights - advance to day three. Anglers start at zero Thursday and compete for 10 spots in each division in the final round. Winners are determined by the heaviest accumulated weight from days three and four.
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, Stratos Owners' Tournament Trail, 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 exceeding $37.9 million through 249 events in 2006.
For more information about FLW Outdoors and its tournament programs, visit FLWOutdoors.com or call (270) 252-1000.
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 Wal-Mart.com.