“It started off a little slow this morning,” said fourth-place finisher, Ryan Worthington, who is making a 190 mile round trip boat ride each day and going through two locks to reach his fishing grounds. “With this run I have been making, it only leaves me with about three hours to fish. Yesterday, I had my limit in about an hour whereas today it took me all the way up until the time to leave to fill out my limit. I really had to work hard for them today.”
“I have been sight-fishing the last two days throwing a Texas-rigged softplastic to get them to bite. I am going to go back and do the same thing again tomorrow and see how it goes.”
Worthington has been fishing clearer water in three to five feet of water around lily pads to catch his bass. Rounding out the top five pros are Jesse Draime of Long Beach, Miss. (nine bass, 30-7); Ryan Worthington of Middleburg, Fla. (10 bass, 29-12); and Alex Ormand of Bessemer City, N.C. (10 bass, 29-5). Ormand also earned $295 for the Snickers Big Bass award in the Pro Division thanks to a 6-pound, 13-ounce bass. Overall there were 463 bass weighing 1,144 pounds, 13 ounces caught by 184 pros Thursday. The catch included 36 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.
Alan Hults of Gautier, Miss., 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 13-9 while fishing with pro Larry Jones of Acworth, Ga., Wednesday and five bass weighing 16-3 while fishing with pro Travis Adams of Danielsville, Ga., Thursday for a total of 10 bass weighing 29-12. With today’s weight, Hults hold an incredible 10-1 lead over the number two spot.
“This is great but even with this lead, I’m still not confident,” said Hults, who’s family is dominating the co-angler side. Alan’s brothers Chris is right behind him in second place. “Someone can easily go out tomorrow and bust a 20 pounds sack. My approach is to just stay versatile and fish hard. I’m going to catch all the fish I can. I have been close a few times and I don’t want this to slip away.”
Hults is throwing a combination of crankbaits and spinnerbaits in 10 feet of water or less around submerged grass beds.
Rounding out the top five co-anglers are Chris Hults of Van cleave, Miss. (nine bass, 19-13); Butch Zadlo of Boone, N.C. (six bass, 17-15); Ben Broughton of Day, Fla. (six bass, 17-15); and Donald Roberts of Riverside, Ala. (four bass, 17-4).
Roberts earned an additional $148 for the Snickers Big Bass award in the Co-angler Division thanks to a 8-pound, 9-ounce bass.
Overall there were 218 bass weighing 553 pounds, 5 ounces caught by 159 co-anglers Thursday. The catch included three 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 Lakepoint State Park located at 104 Lakepoint Drive in Eufaula, Ala. 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 1252 South Eufaula Ave. in Eufaula, Ala., 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 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.