The tournament - the first of four Western Division events - includes a full field of 200 boats, which is the largest professional bass-fishing event ever held in the West. Wednesday's weather conditions were typical for the Lake Havasu area in February - sunny skies with temperatures in the low to mid-70s. Fishing conditions were also typical for the lake - relatively tough. Only nine limits were caught on day one.
"I was able to scratch out seven keepers today," said Lee, whose career includes numerous wins in pro events, "but it was not easy. It's a tough tournament. I tried catching largemouths in practice and couldn't do it. My limit today was all smallmouths.
"These fish are not real deep. They are in about 17 feet of water and suspended about 4 feet off the bottom, which makes it tough. The fish want to start moving up. The lake is a little low right now, and the tules are only in about a foot of water. But when the water comes up, the fish will go straight for the tules. So I was looking for large spawning bays with tules in the back, and the fish were staging outside the shallow water."
Rounding out the top five pros are Matt Newman of Agoura Hills, Calif. (five bass, 13 pounds, 8 ounces); Jimmy Walker of Alpine, Calif. (five bass, 13 pounds, 6 ounces); Brian Trusso of Covina, Calif. (three bass, 11 pounds, 1 ounce); and Aaron Coleman of Oakland, Calif. (five bass, 11 pounds).
Gary Key of Phoenix, Ariz., and Trusso each caught a 4-pound, 4-ounce bass to earn $375 for the Snicker's Big Bass award in the Pro Division.
Mike Iloski of Escondido, Calif., leads the Co-angler Division in the chase for a top award worth as much as $35,000, including a 519VX Ranger if contingency guidelines are met. He caught four bass weighing 8 pounds, 9 ounces.
Rounding out the top five co-anglers are Randy Bruno of Huntington Beach, Calif. (three bass, 8 pounds, 7 ounces); John Rickicke of Phoenix, Ariz. (four bass, 7 pounds, 10 ounces); Travis Jarvis of Caldwell, Idaho (three bass, 7 pounds, 4 ounces); and Bill Tyger of Buckeye, Ariz. (three bass, 7 pounds, 2 ounces).
John Madden of Brentwood, Calif., earned $250 for the Snicker's Big Bass award in the Co-angler Division thanks to a 5-pound, 12-ounce bass.
Anglers caught a total of 392 bass Wednesday weighing 863 pounds.
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, 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 Stratos Owners Tournament Trail. These circuits offer combined purses exceeding $36.7 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 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.