DEL RIO, Texas (March 22, 2007) – Pro Dan Schoonveld of Mansura, La., caught a five-bass limit weighing 21 pounds, 9 ounces Thursday to retain the lead in the $275,225 Stren Series Texas Division tournament presented by Yamaha on Lake Amistad. With a two-day catch of 10 bass weighing 56-5, he now holds a 3-pound, 12-ounce lead over second place pro Bob Coleman of Washington, Mo., who managed to haul in a total of 10 bass weighing 52-11 during the first two days of competition. “Evidently I’m doing something right,” said Schoonveld, who now holds the record for heaviest two-day catch of all time in Stren Series competition. He also holds the number two spot in the FLW Outdoors record books for the heaviest one-day catch for yesterday’s stringer of 34-12. “Breaking these records is impressive. It is amazing that I was able to do that.” “Today started off pretty good. I caught a good fish on my second cast. After that it went downhill considerably. I spent more time today fighting with the wind than I did fighting fish. The wind increased and the bite decreased. I feel pretty comfortable about where I am sitting. But all it takes is one little trip of a step and I’m out of this thing. I just have to stay focused and hope the lord will bless me again tomorrow.”
Rounding out the top five pros are Ronnie Eschete of Thibodaux, La. (10 bass, 52-8); Tim Reneau of Seguin, Texas (10 bass, 47-14); and Robert Robinson of Mobile, Ala. (10 bass, 45-7).
Stephen Johnston of Hemphill, Texas, earned $295 for the Snickers Big Bass award in the Pro Division thanks to a 10-pound, 6-ounce beauty-of-a-bass.
Overall there were 865 bass weighing 2,526 pounds, 15 ounces caught by 197 pros Thursday. The catch included 142 five-bass limits.
Pros are competing for as much as $65,000, including a 519VX Ranger powered by Evinrude or Yamaha if contingency guidelines are met, and valuable points toward qualifying for the $1 million Stren Series Championship in Mobile, Ala., Nov. 8-11 for a shot at $140,000. After four qualifying events are complete in each of the circuit’s five divisions, the top 40 pros from each division will advance to the championship. The highest-finishing pro from each division at the championship will also earn a spot in the $2 million 2008 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, Ranger Owners Tournament Championship Series and TBF (The Bass Federation) for bass fishing’s biggest prize – $1 million.
Jimmy Ballard of Powderly, Texas, leads the Co-angler Division in the chase for a top award of $35,000, including a 519VX Ranger if contingency guidelines are met. He caught five bass weighing 26-1 while fishing with pro Charles Simmons of Waco, Texas, Wednesday and five bass weighing 15-9 while fishing with pro J.B. Young of Deer Park, Texas, Thursday for a total of 10 bass weighing 41-10.
“Things went well today,” said Ballard, who is only in his sophomore season with FLW Outdoors. “The wind hurt us today. The fish were still biting but it was hard for us to feel the bottom and the bites.”
“This is the biggest thing to happen so far in my career and I am tickled to death. I’m going to go back out there tomorrow and just give it my all and see what happens.”
Ballard was fan-casting a Senko around submerged brush trying to target bedding bass.
Rounding out the top five co-anglers are Michael Herron of Paris, Texas (10 bass, 41-2); John Vogt II of Boerne, Texas (10 bass, 40-9); Jacques Fleischmann of Valencia, Calif. (10 bass, 36-13); and Wayne Johnston of Port Arthur, Texas (nine bass, 36-6).
K.D. Moore of Euless, Texas, earned $148 for the Snickers Big Bass award in the Co-angler Division thanks to a 9-pound, 3-ounce bass.
Overall there were 707 bass weighing 1,859 pounds, 10 ounces caught by 195 co-anglers Thursday. The catch included 96 five-bass limits.
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.
Anglers will take off at 6:30 each morning from Lake Amistad Marina, East Diablo Launch Ramp, located at Hwy. 90 W. HCR 3 in Del Rio, Texas. Friday’s weigh-in will be held at the marina beginning at 3 p.m. Saturday’s weigh-in will be held at the Wal-Mart store located at 2410 Dodson Street in Del Rio, Texas, beginning at 4 p.m. Takeoffs and weigh-ins are free and open to the public.
Stren Series tournaments are four-day events consisting of two rounds. The entire field competes Wednesday, Thursday and Friday. At the conclusion of Friday’s weigh-in, the field is cut to the top 10 pros and co-anglers based on the heaviest three-day accumulated weights. These anglers continue competition Saturday, with the winners determined by the heaviest accumulated weight from all four days.
FLW Outdoors historically maintains a 98 percent live release rate in all of its bass tournaments.
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, Ranger Owners Tournament Championship Series, 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 of nearly $43 million through 241 events in 2007.
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.
For more information about FLW Outdoors and its tournaments, visit FLWOutdoors.com or call (270) 252-1000.