SMITH LEADS WAL-MART TEXAS TOURNAMENT TRAIL CHAMPIONSHIP ON LAKE CONROE

CONROE, Texas (Oct. 15, 2005) - Pro Barry Smith of Palo Pinto caught five bass weighing 18 pounds, 3 ounces to lead the Wal-Mart Texas Tournament Trail Championship presented by Lays on Lake Conroe Saturday. One hundred of Texas' finest pros and co-anglers are competing for a share of $195,000 in cash and prizes. The winning pro will earn as much as $70,000, including a fully-rigged Ranger 519 VX powered by a 200-horsepower Evinrude or Yamaha outboard, Minn Kota trolling motor, Garmin electronics and EverStart batteries, plus $15,000 cash. If the winner meets the Ranger Boats contingency guidelines, he will receive an additional $20,000.

Lake Conroe normally fishes much better this time of year. Hurricane Katrina, however, has altered the fishing on what's normally a dramatically improved fishery. The normally shallow lake has been drawn down 6 feet below normal to inspect damage to the dam caused by Hurricane Katrina, putting many of the popular docks high and dry. To make matters more difficult, a high-pressure system moved into the area, and conditions following that system were high blue bird skies and calm, slick water.

"This lake doesn't have many of the floating docks," Smith said. "These are pole and pedestal docks, and many of them are 6 feet over the water, making the fishing pretty tough."

Smith has been on the lake since last Saturday and found 10 key spots where he could catch the better quality bass in practice. "I'm just trying to hit my spots as many times in a day as I can," he said. "I had 17 bites, caught five keepers, lost one real good bass and boated about 4 other small bass. They're short striking it because of the high pressure and slick conditions. They had been a lot easier to catch this week before this high-pressure system moved in on us.."

Rounding out the top five pros are Russell Cecil of Willis (five bass, 17 pounds); Guy Adams of Corpus Christi (five bass, 14 pounds, 7 ounces); Reagan Henry of Voss (five bass, 14 pounds, 4 ounces); and Trey Morgan of Goldonna, La. (five bass, 13 pounds, 15 ounces).

Todd R. Lee of Grove, Okla., caught four bass weighing 10 pounds, 12 ounces to lead day one in the Co-angler Division.

"I fished with Sean Hoernke today," Lee said. "He's a class act and is around two groups of quality bass, but it's just real tough to catch them right now." Lee caught two keepers on a crankbait, one on a jig and his largest bass - a 3-pounder - on a topwater lure first thing Saturday morning.

The winning co-angler will earn up to $40,000 in cash and prizes consisting of a fully-rigged Ranger 519 VX powered by an Evinrude or Yamaha outboard, Minn Kota trolling motor, Garmin electronics and EverStart batteries, plus $5,000 cash.

Rounding out the top five co-anglers are Bill Rogers of Jasper (three bass, 7 pounds, 11 ounces); Danny Joiner of Irving (one bass, 6 pounds, 7 ounces); Casey Craig of Spring (two bass, 6 pounds, 5 ounces); and Frank Morales Sr. of Heath (one bass, 6 pounds, 3 ounces).

Joiner caught a 6-pound, 7-ounce largemouth to take big bass honors on day one.

Snickers will award $1,000 to the pro or co-angler who catches the heaviest bass during the TTT Championship. Castrol will award a $500 Wal-Mart gift card and $500 of Castrol products to the highest-finishing co-angler wearing a Castrol shirt Sunday. Anglers take off at 7 a.m. Sunday from the April Plaza Marina and Motel in Montgomery. Texas Marine and Ranger Boats will provide free food and demo rides in a selection of bass boats, fish and ski boats, and bay boats at April Plaza Marina from 9 a.m. until 1 p.m. Sunday's weigh-in will be held at the Wal-Mart store located at 18700 State Highway 105 West in Montgomery beginning at 4 p.m.

Named after the legendary founder of Ranger Boats, Forrest L. Wood, FLW Outdoors administers the Wal-Mart Texas Tournament Trail and nine other national tournament circuits offering a total purse in excess of $36.5 million through 235 events in 2006. The 27-year-old organization is the purveyor of America's largest and most prestigious fishing tournaments, including 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 and Wal-Mart FLW Redfish Series.

For more information on 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 title sponsor of the FLW Tour in 1997 and today is the title sponsor of all FLW Outdoors events. For more information on Wal-Mart, visit Wal-Mart.com.