CLAYTON, N.Y. (Aug. 20, 2008) – Pro Hugh Worth III of Erie, Pa., caught a five-bass limit weighing 21 pounds, 4 ounces Wednesday to lead opening day of the Stren Series BP Eastern Division tournament on 1000 Islands.

“Fishing in these tournaments has always been a dream of mine,” Worth said. “I remember as a young kid watching Forrest Wood win a tournament up here on 1000 Islands, and it’s just an unbelievable experience to be here fishing on a Ranger boat and remembering that as a kid. It’s just kind of like a dream come true.”

Worth caught his bass targeting weeds in 3- to 6-feet of water, using a ¾-ounce jig in black with a little chartreuse in it. He said the color mimics the minnows he discovered prefishing that almost “glow in the water.”

“We caught a bunch of 4-pounders in practice in about eight different areas just pitching it into the thick mats,” Worth said. “The fish are taking it and running, and I’m setting the hook as hard as I can—putting all 245 pounds behind it. It’s amazing how powerful these fish are.”

Rounding out the top five pros are Trevor Jancasz of White Pigeon, Mich. (five bass, 20-10); Jason Root of Fostoria, Ohio (five bass, 19-09); Thomas Stange Jr. of Middlefield, Conn. (five bass, 19-08); and Kurt Dove of Fairfax, Va. (five bass, 19-07).

Charlie Hartley of Grove City, Ohio, earned $211 for the Snickers Big Bass award in the Pro Division thanks to a 5-pound, 9-ounce bass.

Overall there were 602 bass weighing 1,682 pounds, 1 ounce caught by 126 pros Wednesday. The catch included 112 five-bass limits.

Pros are competing for as much as $65,000, including a 198VX Ranger powered by Evinrude or Yamaha if contingency guidelines are met, and valuable points toward qualifying for the $1 million Stren Series Championship in Branson, Mo., Nov. 5-8 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 2009 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 TBF (The Bass Federation) for bass fishing’s biggest prize – $1 million.

Tournament anglers aren’t the only ones winning big this season. With the introduction of FLW Fantasy Fishing™, FLW Outdoors® offered anyone the opportunity to enter for their chance to land the catch of a lifetime with the opportunity to win $7.3 million in cash and prizes. Players could become a virtual pro angler by signing up for Player’s Advantage, which provided them with exclusive insider information that could have guided them to a $100,000 victory at every Wal-Mart FLW Tour® stop and the Forrest Wood Cup. Player’s Advantage gave them an edge over the competition and increased their shot for the $1 million cash grand prize awarded to the FLW Fantasy Fishing cumulative points winner. Visit FantasyFishing.com today to find out more information and to register for next season.

Zackery Seal of Eldred, Pa., leads the Co-angler Division in the chase for a top award of $35,000, including a 198VX Ranger if contingency guidelines are met. He caught five bass weighing 19-13 while fishing with pro Howard Hammonds of Portersville, Pa., who is currently in 22nd place.

“This was the perfect day; it couldn’t have gone any better,” Seal said. “It’s been a while since I’ve had a day like that. We went to 15 or 20 spots and caught the right sized bites throughout the day.”

Seal expects to catch largemouth Thursday morning, then move on to smallmouth later in the day. “I caught smallies today, but I can’t expect that kind of weight again tomorrow--if I can get 10 to 12 pounds, I’ll be happy.”

“Tube jigs were the ticket today; we just bounced those off the rocks. We went to a lot of little rock piles—humps, stuff like that,” Seal added.

Rounding out the top five co-anglers are Henry Stone of Massena, N.Y. (five bass, 19-09); James Richardson Sr. of Harrison, Ohio (five bass, 19-05); Tim Elliot of Kenbridge, Va. (five bass, 18-09); and Mark Keniston of Camden, N.Y. (five bass, 17-09).

Edward Knight of Magnolia, Del., earned $113 for the Snickers Big Bass award in the Co-angler Division thanks to a 5-pound, 12-ounce bass.

Overall there were 463 bass weighing 1,092 pounds, 6 ounces caught by 126 co-anglers Wednesday. The catch included 67 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 2009 Forrest Wood Cup.

Anglers will take off at 6:30 each morning from French Creek Marina located at 250 Wahl. St. in Clayton, N.Y.

Thursday and 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 20823 NY State Route in Watertown, N.Y., 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.

FLW Outdoors, named after Forrest L. Wood, the legendary founder of Ranger Boats, is the largest fishing tournament organization in the world. In 2008 alone the organization is offering more than 90,000 anglers the chance to win over $40 million through 230 tournaments in 10 circuits targeting bass, walleye, redfish, kingfish and striped bass. FLW Outdoors is also taking fishing mainstream with the largest cash awards in the history of fantasy sports, $7.3 million.

For more information about FLW Outdoors and its tournaments, visit FLWOutdoors.com or call (270) 252-1000. For more information about FLW Fantasy Fishing and Player’s Advantage, visit FantasyFishing.com.