Many pros have already scouted the lake, and they expect to see a lot of quality fish cross the weigh-in stage come tournament time.
"There will be a lot of people using Senkos and spinnerbaits," said Team Gain pro Koby Kreiger of Okeechobee, Fla., who has three Stren Series wins under his belt. "The lake level is down now, and it will mainly be a shallow-water bite around the Kissimmee grass.
"It's been hard to pattern the fish lately. We have had a different weather front pull through the area every couple of days, and that's got the fish all messed up."
Anglers will take off from C. Scott Driver Marina located at 10100 W Highway 78 in Okeechobee at 7:30 each morning. Wednesday and Thursday's weigh-ins will also 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 2101 South Parrott Avenue in Okeechobee beginning at 4 p.m. Takeoffs and weigh-ins are free and open to the public.
The Lake Okeechobee Stren Series tournament is hosted by Okeechobee County Tourism Development Council.
Pros will fish for a guaranteed top pro award of $25,000 plus a $40,000 519VX Ranger powered by an Evinrude or Yamaha outboard and equipped with a Minn Kota trolling motor, Lowrance electronics and EverStart batteries if contingency guidelines are met. Ranger will award another $3,000 to the winner if he or she is a participant in the Ranger Cup program. If the winner is not a Ranger Cup participant, Ranger will award $1,500 to the highest-finishing participant in the contingency program. Yamaha will match 50 percent of Ranger Cup earnings if "Powered by Yamaha" guidelines are met.
Co-anglers will cast for a guaranteed top award of $5,000 plus a $30,000 Ranger boat and trailer if contingency guidelines are met.
Competitors will also be vying for valuable points that could earn them a trip to the $1 million Stren Series Championship on the Mobile Delta in Mobile, Ala., Nov. 8-11, for a shot at $140,000 in the Pro Division and $70,000 in the Co-angler Division. After four qualifying events are complete in each Stren Series division - Central, Northern, Southeast, Texas and Western - the top 40 pros and 40 co-anglers based on Angler of the Year points standings from each division will advance to the championship. The top 10 pros and 10 co-anglers from each division will also qualify for the 2008 Wal-Mart FLW Tour and Wal-Mart FLW Series, bass fishing's top professional circuits, where they can compete for a share of $17.5 million. The highest-finishing pro and co-angler from each division at the Stren Series Championship will also qualify for the $2 million 2008 Forrest Wood Cup, where pros will fish for as much as $1 million - the most lucrative award in bass fishing.
In Stren Series competition, pros supply the boats, fish from the front deck against other pros and control boat movement. Co-anglers fish from the back deck and compete against other co-anglers. Every angler who receives weight credit in a tournament earns points that determine angler standings. Two hundred points are awarded to the winner, 199 points for second, 198 points for third, and so on. The full field competes on days one, two and three, with the top 10 pros and 10 co-anglers advancing to day four based on their three-day accumulated weight. Winners are determined by the heaviest accumulated weight from all four days.
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 exceeding $43 million through 238 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.