FLORENCE, Ala. (Nov. 2, 2005) - The quest for the final EverStart Series Championship title began Wednesday on Pickwick Lake with 200 pros and 200 co-anglers from 38 states vying for top awards of $140,000 and $75,000, respectively. After an hour-long fog delay, the field set out from McFarland Park at 8 a.m. in search of a winning pattern. When opening-day festivities winded to a close, Pedigree pro Steve Kennedy of Auburn, Ala., held the lead with four bass weighing 16 pounds, 7 ounces followed by Kellogg's pro Dave Lefebre of Union City, Pa., in second with four bass weighing 15 pounds, 6 ounces. Both men fished Pickwick Lake, catching a mix of both largemouth and smallmouth bass. "I like my chances (at winning), but I may not get a bite tomorrow," said Kennedy, who has earned 23 top-10s in FLW Outdoors competition since 1995. "I figured this pattern out six or seven years ago while preparing for a BFL regional, but I've never fished it in a tournament before."

Kennedy started his day on Wilson Lake before returning to Pickwick Lake at 11:30 a.m. after unsuccessfully targeting deepwater bass. After returning to Pickwick, he immediately caught fish, but he would not elaborate on his pattern other than to say he was fishing extremely shallow.

On the opposite end of the spectrum sits Lefebre, who is catching bass in deep water on a 3/4-ounce Stanley Jig tied to 8-pound test Gamma fluorocarbon line. "I lost a 6-pound smallmouth right at the boat," said Lefebre, who has earned 20 top-10s in FLW Outdoors competition since 2001.

Jerry Green of Justiceburg, Texas (four bass, 12 pounds, 2 ounces), Jonathan Newton of Rogersville, Ala. (five bass, 12 pounds, 1 ounce) and Mike Webber of Holly, Mich. (five bass, 12 pounds) rounded out the top five pros.

Matt Herren of Trussville, Ala., earned the day's Snickers Big Bass award of $750 in the Pro Division with a 6-pound, 1-ounce largemouth.

In the Co-angler Division, Mark Guin of Crossett, Ark., leads the field with three bass weighing 7 pounds, 13 ounces. He fished with Webber on opening day and is paired with Gregg Seal of Eldred, Pa., for day two.

Rick Turner of Tyler, Texas, (two bass, 7 pounds, 11 ounces), George Miller of Springfield, Pa., (three bass, 6 pounds, 11 ounces), Gene Purdy of Bentonville, Ark., (two bass, 6 pounds, 11 ounces) and Arch Cornett of Huntsville, Ala. (five bass, 6 pounds, 8 ounces) rounded out the top five co-anglers.

Turner earned the day's Snickers Big Bass award of $750 in the Co-angler Division with a 4-pound, 15-ounce largemouth that he caught while fishing with pro Lloyd Pickett Jr. of Bartlett, Tenn., who is currently sixth with four bass weighing 10 pounds, 14 ounces.

Overall, 418 bass weighing 911 pounds, 8 ounces were caught by 141 pros and 77 co-anglers. There were 10 five-bass limits caught on opening day. More than 99 percent of the bass were released alive.

In a showing of western fishing prowess, California has the largest contingent of anglers fishing the EverStart Series Championship with 53 followed by Alabama and Michigan with 24 anglers and North Carolina with 23.

Anglers take off from McFarland Park at 7 each morning. Thursday's weigh-in will also be held at McFarland Park, which is located on James M. Spain Drive in Florence, beginning at 3 p.m. Friday's weigh-in will be held at the Wal-Mart store located at 3100 Hough Road in Florence beginning at 5 p.m. Saturday's weigh-in will also be held at Wal-Mart beginning at 3 p.m.

The community is invited to join all the tournament festivities in the Family Fun Zone Friday and Saturday outside the weigh-in tent in the Wal-Mart parking lot. The Family Fun Zone, which opens at 3 p.m. Friday and 11 a.m. Saturday, features interactive displays, product samples and games for the entire family to enjoy. Everything in the Fun Zone is absolutely free.

The top 40 pros and top 40 co-anglers from each of the EverStart Series' five divisions qualified for the championship. Following Friday's weigh-in the field will be cut to the top 10 pros and top 10 co-anglers who will advance to the final round based on their two-day accumulated weight. Weights are cleared for the final round and co-angler competition concludes on day three with the winner determined by the day's heaviest catch. Pro competition concludes on day four, with the winner being determined by the heaviest accumulated weight from days three and four.

Complete coverage of the EverStart Series Championship will be broadcast to more than 80 million FSN subscribers as part of the "FLW Outdoors" television program Dec. 4. "FLW Outdoors" airs Sundays at 11 a.m. Eastern time. Additionally, "FLW Outdoors" is broadcast by the American Forces Network to 800,000 service men and women stationed around the world in 177 countries and aboard naval ships.

Beginning in 2006, the popular EverStart Series will be renamed the Stren Series and EverStart Batteries will remain a core sponsor.

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, 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, Ranger owners' tournaments and Stratos owners' tournaments. These circuits offer combined purses exceeding $35 million through 244 events in 2006.

For more information on Wal-Mart, visit For more information on FLW Outdoors and its tournament programs, visit or call (270) 252-1000.