CLEWISTON, Fla. (Jan. 21, 2005) – Pedigree pro Steve Kennedy of Auburn, Ala., caught a five-bass limit weighing 17 pounds, 4 ounces Friday to retain his lead in the $900,000 Wal-Mart FLW Tour stop on Lake Okeechobee. The event, which is presented by EverStart Batteries, featured 200 pros in the hunt for a top award of $100,000 cash. Only 10 anglers remain, however, as the tournament draws to a close Saturday.

“I’m flipping a Gambler crawdad, but these clear skies are killing me,” said Kennedy, a former FLW Tour champion who finished fourth in the EverStart Series event on Lake Okeechobee just two weeks ago. “Yesterday when the clouds rolled in, the fish really turned on. During the EverStart, on the day I caught 27 pounds, I caught everything when a patch of clouds came over. There are guys around me and the fish are in there, so it will be interesting.”

Kennedy is using a 1 3/4-ounce weight and braided line with his bait.

Rounding out the top-five professionals are Skeeter pro Dean Rojas of Grand Saline, Texas (five bass, 16 pounds, 13 ounces); Yamaha pro Terry Bolton of Paducah, Ky. (five bass, 14 pounds, 10 ounces); Pedigree pro Greg Pugh of Cullman, Ala. (five bass, 10 pounds, 13 ounces); and Ranger pro Bobby Lane of Lakeland, Fla. (five bass, 9 pounds, 10 ounces).

Dwight Ameling of Sebring, Fla., handily won the Co-angler Division title and $20,000 by an astounding 11-pound, 9-ounce margin Friday thanks to a 7-pounder that boosted his five-bass catch to 14 pounds, 3 ounces.

“I threw about 30 feet of the bank and that big one hit,” said Ameling, who was fishing with Lane and whose primary pattern was flipping a Texas-rigged watermelon colored crawdad pegged with a 1-ounce weight. “That $20,000 will keep me fishing a lot of years.”

Rounding out the top-five co-anglers are Jason Knapp of Uniontown, Pa. (two bass, 3 pounds, 4 ounces); Dino Caporuscio of Coto De Caza, Calif. (two bass, 3 pounds, 2 ounces); Bill Rogers of Jasper, Texas (three bass, 2 pounds, 15 ounces); and William Bridges of Tallapoosa, Ga. (one bass, 1 pound, 8 ounces).

Anglers will take off Saturday morning at 7 from Roland and Mary Ann Martin’s Marina in Clewiston. Saturday’s final weigh-in will be held at the Wal-Mart store located at 1005 W. Sugarland Highway in Clewiston beginning at 3 p.m.

The community is invited to attend the free Family Fun Zone Saturday outside the weigh-in tent in the Wal-Mart parking lot. The Family Fun Zone, which opens at 11 a.m., features interactive displays, product samples and games for the entire family to enjoy.

Following the two-day opening round, the field was narrowed from 200 competitors per division to 10, and weights were cleared for Friday’s competition. Pros continue competition Saturday with the winner determined by the heaviest two-day weight.

Anglers are also competing this week for valuable points that determine Land O’ Lakes Angler of the Year standings and the field for the 2005 Forrest L. Wood Championship, set for July 13-16 in Hot Springs, Ark., on Lake Hamilton. The $1.5 million championship presented by Castrol awards the winning pro $500,000 cash, the sport’s largest award, and features a world-class outdoor show with more than 140 booths and displays for everything from crankbaits to bass boats.

Complete coverage of the FLW Tour is broadcast to 82 million Fox Sports Net (FSN) subscribers as part of the “FLW Outdoors” television program. “FLW Outdoors” airs Sunday mornings at 11 a.m. Eastern time.

Named after the legendary founder of Ranger Boats, Forrest L. Wood, FLW Outdoors administers the Wal-Mart FLW Tour and seven other national tournament circuits offering a combined $30 million in awards through 214 events in 2005. The 27-year-old organization is the purveyor of America’s largest and most prestigious fishing tournaments, including the Wal-Mart FLW Tour, EverStart 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 and Wal-Mart FLW Redfish Series.

For more information on FLW Outdoors and its tournament programs, visit 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 title sponsor of the FLW Tour in 1997 and today is the title sponsor of all FLW Outdoors events. For more information on Wal-Mart, visit