Beller wins co-angler title, $5,000

REDDING, Calif. (June 12, 2008) – Pro Chris Laskowski of Anderson, Calif., caught a five-bass limit weighing 8 pounds, 2 ounces Saturday to win the Stren Series Western Division tournament presented by Evinrude on Lake Shasta with a four-day total of 20 bass weighing 46-12. For his victory, Laskowski earned $25,000 cash.

“I should’ve had a giant bag, but I missed four big ones,” Laskowski said. “I had five points I hit going back and forth all day. There wasn’t as much pressure going into today, my lead made it easier. I knew I had to come out and catch 8 pounds to win the tournament.”

Laskowski caught his bass on a green pumpkin Senko.

Laskowski opened the tournament in first place Wednesday with five bass weighing 18 pounds. On Thursday he added another five bass weighing 13 pounds to maintain his lead. He then caught five bass weighing 7-10 Friday to make the crucial top 10 cut in first place.

Rounding out the top five pros are Bret Gouvea of Redding, Calif. (20 bass, 41-14, $8,082 plus $5,000 Ranger bonus); Robert Lee of Angels Camp, Calif. (20 bass, 40-11, $7,274 plus $5,000 Ranger bonus); Jim Riley of Shasta Lake, Calif. (20 bass, 39-09, $6,466); and Bill Townsend of Redding, Calif., (20 bass, 38-12, $5,657).

Lee caught the biggest bass of the tournament in the Pro Division Thursday – a 5-pound, 10-ounce bass – that earned him the day’s Snickers Big Bass award of $243.

Overall there were 50 bass weighing 86 pounds, 9 ounces caught by 10 pros Saturday. The catch included 10 five-bass limits.

Matt Beller of Anderson, Calif., won the Co-angler Division and $5,000 cash, with a four-day total of 14 bass weighing 34-02.

Beller caught three bass weighing 4-10 Wednesday while fishing with pro Wayne Breazeale of Kelseyville, Calif., to open the tournament in 103rd place. He then caught five bass weighing 17-08 Thursday while fishing with pro Bill Bishop of Lakeside, Ariz., to capture the lead. On Friday he added one more bass weighing 1-08 to make the top 10 cut in third place while fishing with pro Steve Brusig of Rifle, Colo. Finally, on Saturday, he sealed the win with a five-bass catch weighing 10-08 while fishing with Townsend.

Rounding out the top five co-anglers are Craig Kraft of Cottonwood, Calif. (20 bass, 32-02, $3,391); Michael Wright of Grass Valley, Calif. (20 bass, 31-14, $2,756); Tony Zanotelli of Redding, Calif. (20 bass, 31-09, $2,120); and Joseph Obrien of Spanish Springs, Nev. (20 bass, 31-04, $1,696).

Beller caught the biggest bass of the tournament in the Co-angler Division Thursday – a 6-pound, 05-ounce bass – that earned him the day’s Snickers Big Bass award of $128.

Overall there were 49 bass weighing 73 pounds, 1 ounce caught by 10 co-anglers Saturday. The catch included nine five-bass limits.

The next Stren Series Western Division event, hosted by Lake Havasu City Convention & Visitors Bureau, will be held Feb. 20-23 on Lake Havasu in Lake Havasu, Ariz. Boats will launch from Lake Havasu State Park/Windsor Beach in Lake Havasu City and the final weigh-in will be held at the Wal-Mart located at 1795 Kiowa Blvd. in Lake Havasu. After four qualifying events are complete in each of the Stren Series’ five divisions, the top 40 pros from each division will advance to the $1 million Stren Series Championship in Branson, Mo., Nov. 5-8 for a shot at $140,000. The highest-finishing pro from each division at the championship will also earn a spot in the $2 million 2009 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 TBF (The Bass Federation) for bass fishing’s biggest prize – $1 million.

Tournament pros aren’t the only ones winning big this season. With the introduction of FLW Fantasy Fishing™, FLW Outdoors® will be awarding the largest fantasy sports payout in history. Players can become a virtual pro angler by signing up for Players Advantage, providing them with exclusive insider information that could guide them to a $100,000 victory at every Wal-Mart FLW Tour stop and the Forrest Wood Cup. Players Advantage will give them an edge over the competition and increase their shot for a $1 million cash grand prize that will be awarded to the FLW Fantasy Fishing cumulative points winner. Those who visit today can sign up for Players Advantage and FLW Outdoors will include a $15 Wal-Mart gift card.

The top 40 co-anglers from each Stren Series division will also advance to the championship, where they will fish for as much as $70,000. The highest-finishing co-angler from each division at the championship will then advance to the 2008 Forrest Wood Cup.

FLW Outdoors historically maintains a 98 percent live release rate in all of its bass tournaments.

FLW Outdoors, named after Forrest L. Wood, the legendary founder of Ranger Boats, is the largest fishing tournament organization in the world. In 2008 alone the organization is offering more than 90,000 anglers the chance to win over $40 million through 230 tournaments in 10 circuits targeting bass, walleye, redfish, kingfish and striped bass. FLW Outdoors is also taking fishing mainstream with the largest cash awards in the history of fantasy sports, $7.3 million.

For more information about FLW Outdoors and its tournaments, visit or call (270) 252-1000. For more information about FLW Fantasy Fishing and Players Advantage, visit