Pros are competing for as much as $64,500 and valuable points that could qualify them for a trip to the $1 million Stren Series Championship for a shot at $140,000. The highest-finishing pro from each division at the Stren Series Championship will also earn a spot in the new $2 million 2007 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 Ranger owners' tournaments for bass fishing's first $1 million top award.
"I got off to a slow start," said Pickett, who had boat trouble Wednesday morning that didn't allow him to fish until nearly an hour after takeoff. "I fished out of a crippled boat today and it was really nerve racking. I did the best I could with what I had; in times like these you have to keep a positive attitude and just keep going."
Pickett caught his limit of bass today on a SPRO topwater frog early while it was still cloudy and overcast. As the day progressed and the cloud cover receded, Pickett picked up his flipping stick and started flipping a finesse tube in and around submerged structure in 3 to 4 feet of water.
Rounding out the top five pros are William Davis of Russellville, Ala. (five bass, 14 pounds, 1 ounces); Tad Ladd of Princeton, Ky. (five bass bass, 13 pounds, 11 ounces); Bill Walker of Mulkeytown, Ill. (five bass, 13 pounds, 10 ounces); and Mark Fisher of Glenview, Ill. (five bass, 13 pounds, 9 ounces).
Tim Pettit of Moline, Ill., earned $450 for the Snicker's Big Bass award in the Pro Division thanks to a 5-pound, 10-ounce bass.
Todd Kuipers of Lafayette, Ind., is tied with Kevin Whitaker of West Chicago, Ill., for the lead in 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. They each caught five bass weighing 12 pounds, 6 ounces.
Both co-anglers were throwing topwater lures early and switched to finesse gear as the day wore on.
Rounding out the top five co-anglers are Caleb Kuphall of Mukwonago, Wis. (five bass, 11 pounds, 5 ounces); Timothy Vieth of Marthasville, Mo. (four bass, 11 pounds, 5 ounces); David Taylor of Riverview, Mich. (five bass, 11 pounds).
Don Bakken of Sun Prairie, Wis., earned $190 for the Snicker's Big Bass award in the Co-angler Division thanks to a 5-pound bass.
Anglers will take off at 6 each morning from Captain Kirk's Marina located at 902 4th street in Fort Madison, Iowa. Thursday's weigh-in will be held at the marina beginning at 3 p.m. Friday and Saturday's weigh-ins will be held at the Wal-Mart store located at 324 West Agency Road in West Burlington, Iowa, beginning at 4 p.m. Takeoffs and weigh-ins are free and open to the public.
The event is hosted by the Fort Madison Area Convention and Visitor's Bureau. For more information visit their Web site at www.visitfortmadison.com.
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 presented by Abu Garcia, Stratos Owners' 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 Wal-Mart FLW Striper Series. These circuits offer combined purses exceeding $37.9 million through 249 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.