With a major cold front moving through, anglers found bass that were tight-lipped all week even tougher to hook on the final day.
Tucker led the event for the final two days, but at the end of day three, he was worried about the bass moving out of his primary area on day four due to diminishing sunshine as a result of the impending cold front. However, he found that wasn't the case. As a matter of fact, the water temperature was a degree warmer in his area on the last day than on day three.
"There's a clay bottom in some of the creek bends I've been fishing that I think may be a little warmer," Tucker said. "Bass have been pulling up and sitting over that. I had eight bites today and was able to catch six fish total."
Tucker revealed the makes of his winning lures on the final day. He was throwing a shallow-running perch-colored Davis crankbait, as well as flipping a homemade jig with a Prowler Pro Chunk trailer. Though he has been weighing all largemouth bass through most of the week, two small spotted bass rounded out his limit on the last day.
Rounding out the top five pros are Ott Defoe of Dandridge, Tenn. (nine bass, 15 pounds, 1 ounces, $10,000); Patrick Hailstones of Cincinnati, Ohio (eight bass, 14 pounds, 10 ounces, $9,000); Kevin Stowers of Gainesville, Ga. (five bass, 12 pounds, 12 ounces, $8,000); and Artie Phillips of Monroe, N.C. (five bass, 12 pounds, 12 ounces, $7,500).
Nathan Fuller of Hillsboro, Ga., won the Co-angler Division thanks to a final-round total of two bass weighing 9 pounds, 6 ounces. Fuller earned a 519VX Ranger plus $5,000 cash for a total award of $35,000.
Fuller fished with Tucker on the final day. "His area was just a big, shallow flat that was a foot or 2 deep," Fuller said. "The water temperature was anywhere from 48 to 50 degrees. The air was actually warmer this morning, but it starting raining at about 11 this morning and it's been getting colder all day. This has been the toughest day so far."
Fuller's single keeper bass on day two fell to a Luhr Jensen Speed Trap crankbait.
Rounding out the top five co-anglers are Thomas Shafer of Pine City, N.Y. (three bass, 7 pounds, 14 ounces, $4,000); Rodger Ray of Social Circle, Ga. (five bass, 7 pounds, 3 ounces, $3,500) Clinton McClure of Gosport, Ind. (one bass, 6 pounds, 14 ounces, $2,500); and Richard Mitchell of Appling, Ga. (three bass, 5 pounds, 15 ounces, $2,000).
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.
The next Stren Series Southeast Division event will be held March 15-18 on Lake Eufaula in Eufaula, Ala. Boats will launch from Lakepoint State Park in Eufaula. Eufaula/Barbour County Chamber of Commerce and the Alabama Department of Conservation & Natural Resources will be hosting the event. Friday and Saturday's weigh-ins will be held at the Wal-Mart located at 1218 South Eufaula Ave. in Eufaula.
The top 40 pros and top 40 co-anglers from each of the Stren Series' five divisions - Central, Midwest, Northeast, Southeast and Western - following four tournaments in each division will advance to the $1 million Stren Series Championship on Wheeler Lake in Decatur, Ala., Nov. 1-4 where they will fish for top awards of $140,000 and $70,000, respectively. 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.
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 and Wal-Mart FLW Redfish Series. These circuits offer combined purses exceeding $36.9 million through 241 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.