“I’m stirring up mud,” Lunsford said. “I’m in the right place, where I stayed all day, but I still have four spots I haven’t put a bait on yet.”
Lunsford caught his limit flipping shallow rocks with a ¾-ounce Omega black and blue jig, and was able to pull in 12 keepers, culling by 9:30 this morning. He found the faster fall of the ¾-ounce jig triggered more bites.
“Tomorrow, I’d like to see some clouds,” Lunsford said. “I’m going to go out and flip that jig and hope that I get the right bites.”
Colson caught a three-day total of 15 bass weighing 42-00 throwing a jig near rock in 4 to 8 feet of water in bays to advance to the final round as the No. 2 seed.
“I’m fishing slow, casting a War Eagle Heavy Finesse Jig that has a bigger, heavier hook in it,” said Colson, who has made the top-10 cut in 21 FLW Outdoors events. “I can’t wait to get back out there and get at it again.”
Rounding out the top five pros are Lonnie O’Neal of Valdosta, Ga. (15 bass, 41-03); Keith Combs of Del Rio, Texas (15 bass, 41-03) and Andy Morgan of Dayton, Tenn. (15 bass, 40-01).
Also clearing the top 10 cut weight of 39 pounds, 8 ounces in the Pro Division are Dan Morehead of Paducah, Ky.; Brad Hallman of Norman, Okla.; Greg Hackney of Gonzales, La.; Bob Izumi of Milton, Ont.; and Jake Deeds of El Dorado, Ark., who led the first two days of competition.
Kirk Crump of Lancaster, S.C., earned the day’s $452 Snickers Big Bass award in the Pro Division thanks to a 6-pound, 5-ounce bass.
Overall there were 880 bass weighing 1,708 pounds, 6 ounces caught by 182 pros Friday. The catch included 169 five-bass limits.
Pros are competing this week for a top award of $125,000 plus valuable points in the hope of qualifying for the BP East-National Guard West Fish-Off and a shot at advancing to the $2 million, 2009 Forrest Wood Cup, where the winning pro will earn as much as $1 million – the sport’s biggest award.
Tournament pros aren’t the only ones winning big this season. With the introduction of FLW Fantasy Fishing™, FLW Outdoors® offers anyone the opportunity to enter for their chance to land the catch of a lifetime with the opportunity to win $7.3 million in cash and prizes. Players can become a virtual pro angler by signing up for Player’s 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. Player’s 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 FantasyFishing.com today can sign up for Player’s Advantage and FLW Outdoors will include a $15 Wal-Mart gift card.
Derrick Snavely of Rogersville, Tenn., won the Co-angler Division and $25,000 Friday with a three-day total of 14 bass weighing 35 pounds, 1 ounce followed by Rodney Chmolack of Phenix City, Ala., in second place with 15 bass weighing 30-05 worth $9,314.
Snavely opened the tournament in third place Wednesday with five bass weighing 14-02 while fishing with pro Jason
Hampson of Cartersville, Ga. On Thursday he jumped to first place on the strength of a four-bass catch weighing 8-13 while fishing with pro Jim Dillard of West Monroe, La. He wrapped up the win Friday with a five-bass catch weighing 12-02 while fishing with pro Kenny Holloway of Eatonton, Ga.
“I had three great days, using different baits each day,” Snavely said. “I really just had to adjust to the way the pros fished. The Lord really blessed me. I had two in the boat at 10:30 this morning when I caught my biggest right on the bank off a big rock.”
Snavely caught his fish flipping a 3/8-ounce jig around docks Wednesday, and caught his biggest fish Thursday on a Buckeye Spot Remover/shaky head worm. His best fish today came on a Mimic crankbait.
“I’m just speechless,” Snavely said. “My pros were just awesome. Jim Dillard was like a vacuum cleaner going down the bank Thursday; he pulled me into two little pockets and actually sat there on the trolling motor, without casting, telling me where to throw it. I can’t thank him enough.”
Rounding out the top five co-anglers are Bill Niesciur of Glen Carbon, Ill. (15 bass, 30-02, $8,381); Kevin Koone of Greenbrier, Ark. (15 bass, 29-06, $6,985) and Teddy Bradley of Mishawaka, Ind. (15 bass, 29-06, $6,985).
Jacques Fleischmann of Shell Knob, Mo., earned $280 for the Snickers Big Bass award in the Co-angler Division thanks to a 6-pound, 8-ounce bass he caught while fishing with pro Lloyd T. Pickett Jr. of Bartlett, Tenn.
Overall there were 724 bass weighing 1,181 pounds, 6 ounces caught by 175 co-anglers Friday. The catch included 102 five-bass limits.
The 10 remaining pros will take off at 7 Saturday morning from Ingalls Harbor located at 802 Wilson St. NW in Decatur. Saturday’s final weigh-in will be held at the Wal-Mart store located at 2800 Spring Ave. SW in Decatur beginning at 4 p.m. Children will also be treated to a Family Fun Zone prior to Saturday’s weigh-in from noon to 4 p.m. at Wal-Mart. Activities in the Family Fun Zone include the Kellogg’s trout pond, a Ranger boat simulator and assorted fishing-themed games. All activities are free and open to the public.
Coverage of the Wheeler Lake FLW Series tournament will be broadcast to 81 million FSN (Fox Sports Net) subscribers in the United States as part of the “FLW Outdoors” television program airing May 4. “FLW Outdoors” is also broadcast in Canada on WFN (World Fishing Network) and to more than 429 million households in the United Kingdom, Europe, Russia, Australia, Africa, Asia, and the Middle East through a distribution agreement with Matchroom Sport, making it the most widely distributed fishing program in the world. The program airs Sunday mornings at 11 Eastern time in most markets. Check local listings for times in your area.
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 FLWOutdoors.com or call (270) 252-1000. For more information about FLW Fantasy Fishing and Player’s Advantage, visit FantasyFishing.com.
FLW Outdoors historically maintains a 98 percent live release rate in all of its bass tournaments.