Fluctuating water levels and water temperatures in the high 40s on the main lake have created very tough fishing conditions this week. The entire field only caught 14 limits Thursday, but a handful of pros have been able to catch double-digit weights each day. The tournaments top-10 is strong, consisting of some of the worlds top bass pros.
Kilbys weight, which leads second place by more than 7 pounds, was anchored by his day-one limit of 20 pounds, 2 ounces. I fished hard today, Kilby said, but I spent the day practicing and fishing new water. I caught a 5-pounder on my second or third cast then practiced the rest of the day.
Kilby has been throwing a jig and a jerkbait in stained water on Wheeler Lake.
Pro Tommy Biffle of Wagoner, Okla., sits in second place with a two-day total of nine bass weighing 24 pounds, 8 ounces. Biffle is spending most of his time in the upper end of Coffee Slough. He is catching fish around flooded cypress trees in very shallow water.
Tyson pro Jim Moynagh of Carver, Minn., caught at first-round total of nine bass weighing 24 pounds, 6 ounces. In practice, I decided to focus on small area of the lake, Moynagh said. And I found both deep and shallow spots where I could catch fish.
All of Moynaghs bass from Thursday were caught on a shallow point with a jig. He did note that he caught the largest smallmouths of his life in practice, which is impressive, considering Moynagh lives near the best smallmouth lakes in the country. Moynagh, however, stated that you cant count on those fish, referring to the finicky nature of smallmouth bass.
BFGoodrich Tires pro David Walker of Sevierville, Tenn., who just competed in the Bassmaster Classic, is in fourth place with a round-one total of nine bass weighing 23 pounds, 8 ounces.
I only had three hours to practice, Walker said. So I went to a spot I had caught fish on several years ago, and I caught four yesterday and five today. Im throwing a jig and crankbait.
Ozark Trail pro Andy Morgan of Dayton, Tenn., caught a first-round total of nine bass weighing 22 pounds, 14 ounces. At 2:45 p.m. Thursday, Morgan only had one keeper in the livewell, but he and his partner came across some schooling bass and caught 30 fish in the last hour. I caught three keepers in 17 minutes, and my co-angler caught two keepers during that time.
Kelloggs pro Dave Lefebre of Union City, Pa., weighed in a two-day total of 22 pounds, 5 ounces to finish the first round in sixth place. He was using a Stanley jig in water 22 feet deep or deeper on Pickwick Lake. Lefebre weighed in an impressive 6-pound, 15-ounce largemouth on day two.
Pro Dan Morehead of Paducah, Ky., is in seventh place with a round-one weight of 20 pounds, 13 ounces. Morehead is junk fishing with a Rat-L-Trap, jig and finesse worm around grass patches and is in the vicinity of pro Todd Auten of Lake Wylie, S.C., who is in eighth place with 20 pounds, 6 ounces.
Rounding out the top 10 pros is George Jeane Jr. of Evans, La., with 20 pounds, 1 ounce and Wet Ones pro Brennan Bosley of Benton, Ark., who is making his second consecutive top-10, with 19 pounds, 8 ounces.
Scott Dobson of Clarkston, Mich., caught a 7-pound, 7-ounce largemouth to win the Snickers Big Bass Award in the Pro Division and earn $750.
Bill Gift of Alix, Ark., leads the Co-angler Division with a round-one total of eight bass weighing 16 pounds, 3 ounces. Gift is throwing a Carolina rig with a small bait in 25 feet of water.
Rounding out the top five co-anglers are Stephen Smith of Glenwood, Ark. (five bass, 14 pounds, 12 ounces); Andy Montgomery of Blacksburg, S.C. (six bass, 14 pounds, 11 ounces); Judy Israel of Clewiston, Fla. (four bass, 13 pounds, 13 ounces); and Chad Parks of Memphis, Tenn. (seven bass, 11 pounds, 13 ounces).
Mark Phillips of Fayetteville, Ark., caught a 6-pounds, 11-ounce largemouth to win Co-angler Division Snickers Big Bass Award and $375. Mike Bell of Nampa, Idaho, almost won the award with a gorgeous 6-pound, 4-ounce smallmouth.
Anglers will take off at 7 each morning from McFarland Park. Friday and Saturdays weigh-ins will be held at the Wal-Mart store located at 3100 Hough Road in Florence beginning at 4 p.m.
The community is invited to attend the free Family Fun Zone Friday and Saturday outside the weigh-in tent in the Wal-Mart parking lot. The Family Fun Zone, which opens at 2 p.m. Friday and noon Saturday, features interactive displays, product samples and games for the entire family to enjoy. The full field competes in the two-day opening round for one of 10 slots in Fridays competition based on their two-day accumulated weight. Weights are cleared for day three, and co-angler competition concludes following Fridays weigh-in. The top 10 pros continue competition Saturday, with the winner determined by the heaviest accumulated weight from days three and four. In FLW Tour competition, pros and co-anglers are randomly paired each day, with pros supplying the boat, controlling boat movement and competing against other pros. Co-anglers fish from the back deck against other co-anglers. This is the most lucrative FLW Tour season to date with a $7.6 million purse, including four $900,000 events and two $1.25 million open events during the regular season. Each event leads up to the $1.5 million Wal-Mart FLW Tour Championship and Outdoor Show presented by Castrol, which will be held Aug. 2-5 on Logan Martin Lake in Birmingham, Ala. The prestigious championship hosted by Birmingham, Pell City and St. Clair County features 48 pros, 48 co-anglers and bass fishings largest guaranteed cash award a $500,000 first-place prize for the winning pro. Held in conjunction with the tournament is a world-class outdoor show featuring more than 140 exhibits. Coverage of the Pickwick Lake tournament will be broadcast to 78 million FSN (Fox Sports Net) subscribers in the United States on April 2 and April 9 as part of the FLW Outdoors television program. FLW Outdoors airs Sunday mornings at 11 Eastern time. FLW Outdoors is also broadcast internationally to more than 300 million households in such countries as Germany, China, South Africa, Australia, Malaysia, Russia, Hungary and the United Kingdom, making it the most widely distributed weekly outdoor-sports television show in the world. Additionally, FLW Outdoors is proud to provide tournament coverage to more than 800,000 servicemembers stationed around the world in 177 countries and aboard Navy ships through broadcasts on the American Forces Network. 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, Stratos Owners Tournament Trail, Wal-Mart FLW Walleye Tour, Wal-Mart FLW Walleye League, Wal-Mart FLW Kingfish Tour, Wal-Mart FLW Kingfish Series and Wal-Mart FLW Redfish Series. These circuits offer combined purses exceeding $36.9 million through 241 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 Americas 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 worlds leading supporter of tournament fishing. For more information about Wal-Mart, visit Wal-Mart.com.