JASPER, Texas–Allen Head of Grove, Oklahoma, has collected $100,000 by taking first place in the second event of the 1998 Wal-Mart FLW Tour bass fishing series held on Jasper’s Sam Rayburn Reservoir. The tournament, which features the world’s top professional bass anglers competing for a share of a $400,000 purse, is the second stop of seven in the $3.65 million series, the most lucrative in fishing history.
Head survived two earlier rounds of competition and 149 other anglers enroute to the Wal-Mart FLW Tour victory. The professional angler landed 5 bass, weighing 23 pounds, 4 ounces, including a big bass weighing 8 pounds, 14 ounces, in the final round of competition to edge out the four other anglers competing in the final round of the professional division and clinch the title. “I was fishing with a new bait that a friend gave me. It was one of the brand new Wal-Mart FLW Tour crankbaits,” said Head.
Kevin Wirth of La Grange, Kentucky, took second place with a championship round catch of 5 bass weighing 21 pounds, 8 ounces, good for $40,000. Wirth used a Carolina rig in the Needmore point area to catch his fish. “It’s a matter of timing,” said Wirth, who was also the runner-up in the $1 million Forrest Wood Open where he won $100,000 during the 1997 tour.
Rounding out the top five in the Wal-Mart FLW Tour’s professional division were: (3) Mickey Bruce, Buford, GA, 15 pounds, 10 ounces — $20,000; (4) Mark Davis, Mount Ida, AR, 15 pounds, 8 ounces — $15,000; (5) Rickey Clunn, Glorieta, NM, 0 pounds — $10,000.
The win gives Head an automatic berth in the year-end Wal-Mart FLW Tour Championship, presented by CITGO, September 16-19, 1998, in Moline, Illinois, where the winner will receive $250,000, the largest first place cash prize in sport fishing history.
Kevin Wirth of La Grange, Kentucky, is leading in the Land O’Lakes angler-of-the-year points race after two tour events with 144 points. The winner of the angler-of-the-year competition will receive an Evinrude-powered Ranger bass boat and be featured on a special edition package of Wheaties, the first angler to appear on the cereal box in its 74-year history.
Leon Williams of Fairdale, Kentucky, won the amateur division competition which concluded Friday with a 5 bass catch totaling 9 pounds, 6 ounces. Williams collected $15,000for the win.
Ray Beck of Beaumont, Texas, has taken the lead in the Spiderwire amateur Angler-of-the-Year race by weighing in the heaviest one-day catch of the season. Beck weighed a five bass limit totaling 20 pounds, 6 ounces to lead in the race. The amateur angler-of-the-year on the Wal-Mart FLW Tour wins a fully-rigged Ranger bass boat, powered by an Evinrude Ficht outboard.
Beck also landed the Coca-Cola Big Bass award with a bass weighing 11 pounds. He received $1,000 from Coca-Cola. Coca-Cola will award $5,000 to the angler landing the biggest bass during the 1998 tour. The third year Wal-Mart FLW Tour is the most lucrative bass fishing series in the history of the sport.
Highlights of 1998 tour include: four $400,000 qualifying tournaments, each with a $100,000 first prize; the $600,000 Wal-Mart Open, April 1-4 featuring a $150,000 first place prize; and competitive angling’s richest tournament, the $1 million Forrest Wood Open, June 17-20, in Hartford, Connecticut.