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 more today than I thought I would," said Reese, who already has two top-five finishes this year in Stren Series competition and is leading the Western Division points race. "The area I'm fishing has spawning fish as well as post-spawn fish."
Reese targeted post-spawn bass with a crawdad pattern lipless crankbait and drop-shotted a 6-inch Roboworm around tulles and weeds to catch the bedding fish. While his catch was tops today, he's not sure if it will hold tomorrow.
"Steve Sapp is right behind me, and he's a really good stick. Especially on the Delta," Reese said. "We'll have a lot of boat traffic out there tomorrow from the weekenders. It may mess up my fish, but probably not Sapp's."
Rounding out the top five pros are Sapp of Manteca, Calif. (five bass, 21 pounds, 1 ounce); Matt Lowery of El Cajon, Calif. (five bass, 19 pounds, 10 ounces); Jon Strelic of Alpine, Calif. (five bass, 19 pounds, 5 ounces) and Justin Kerr of Simi Valley, Calif. (five bass, 18 pounds, 8 ounces).
Hideki Maeda of Japan 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. Hideki brought in a five-bass limit weighing 16 pounds.
"I fished finesse-style all day," said Maeda, who is fishing in only his second FLW Outdoors event. "I was either sweeping or dragging all day."
Fishing with pro Donald Davis of Discovery Bay, Calif., Maeda opted for a different presentation than his Senko-fishing partner. He fished a Reaction Innovation's Sweet Beaver backwards. Instead of threading the hook at the top of the bait, he started at the tail, leaving the appendages to flail on each shake or pull of the rod.
"I just wanted to give them something different," Maeda said. "My pro was fishing a Senko and so are a lot of other people. I thought something different may work better."
Rounding out the top five co-anglers are John Madden of Brentwood, Calif. (five bass, 16 pounds); Roy Desmangles Jr. of Lincoln, Calif. (five bass, 14 pounds, 9 ounces); Jack Kemper of Benicia, Calif. (five bass, 13 pounds, 6 ounces) and Edwin Shaver of Lake Havasu City, Ariz. (five bass, 12 pounds, 13 ounces).
Anglers will take off from Russo's Marina in Bethel Island at 6 in the morning. Saturday's weigh-in will be held at the Wal-Mart store located at 4893 Lone Tree Way in Antioch, Calif., beginning at 4 p.m. The takeoff and weigh-in are free and open to the public.
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 on day three and compete for 10 day-four spots. 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, 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.