GALLATIN, Tenn. – Pro Sam Lashlee of Camden, Tenn., caught a three-day total of 13 bass weighing 43 pounds to lead day three of the Wal-Mart FLW Series event on Old Hickory Lake near Gallatin, Tenn. Lashlee, along with nine other pros making the top-10 cut, will advance to competition on day four, where the winner will take home a $100,000 first-place check.
Despite not practicing prior to the event, Lashlee has been able to establish a dominating lead. On Friday, he caught the heaviest limit of the event – a strong five-bass catch weighing 17 pounds, 10 ounces.
“On the first day, I was fishing creek-channel drops and I hammered ’em,” Lashlee said. “I made the mistake of going back to that area on day two, but I tried some new areas today and caught them again.”
Lashlee moved away from the creeks and began targeting bass on main-river drops, catching them on a shad-colored Strike King Series 5 crankbait as well as a 1/2-ounce jig. “I had seven keepers today, and I caught them throughout the day. I’ve got several areas that I want to try tomorrow where I caught a few today. Now that I know there’s fish there, I should be able to hit them again tomorrow.”
Rounding out the top five pros are Michael Brown of Rocky Face, Ga. (15 bass, 38 pounds, 8 ounces); Clark Wendlandt of Leander, Texas (15 bass, 36 pounds, 8 ounces); Woo Daves of Spring Grove, Va. (13 bass, 35 pounds, 4 ounces); and Luke Clausen of Spokane, Wash. (15 bass, 35 pounds, 2 ounces).
Pro Chris Baumgardner of Gastonia, N.C., caught the heaviest bass of the tournament. The big bass earned Baumgardner the Snicker’s Big Bass Award in the Pro Division and a check for $1,500.
Randy Duncan of Killen, Ala., caught a three-day total of 13 bass weighing 26 pounds, 1 ounce to win the Co-angler Division competition on day three. Duncan earned a check for $20,000 for his win.
“I fished with Tom Carpenter on the first day, and we caught lots of fish,” Duncan said. “But we had trouble catching the keepers. I measured nine bass to get three in my livewell.
“On the second day, I fished with Ramie Colson. It went well. I had my limit by 9 a.m. and just put my rod down to help Ramie catch his limit. He’s a really nice guy and we had a great time. I caught nine keepers on day two.
“Today, I fished with Ron Shuffield, who is one of my fishing heroes,” Duncan said. “I caught six keepers today to round out my catch.”
Duncan has been throwing soft plastics all week to catch his bass. Most of his bites have been on a green-pumpkin finesse worm dipped in JJ’s Magic dye, although his two largest bass of the week fell to a Carolina-rigged Zoom Brush Hog, also in green pumpkin. On the final day, while fishing with Shuffield,
Duncan said targeting grass beds in the 6-foot range was the key to getting bitten.
Rounding out the top five co-anglers are Ben Broughton of Day, Fla. (12 bass, 25 pounds, 1 ounce, $10,000); Stetson Blaylock of Benton, Ark. (12 bass, 24 pounds, 3 ounces, $9,000); Pat Hatcliff of Murfreesboro, Tenn. (11 bass, 23 pounds, 2 ounces, $8,000) and Matt Arey of Shelby, N.C. (12 bass, 22 pounds, 14 ounces, $7,000).
James Key of Troy, Ala., tied with Jerry Reagan of Byrdstown, Tenn., for the Snicker’s Big Bass Award in the Co-angler Division. Both anglers caught big largemouths weighing 5 pounds, 10 ounces to win $250.
The new $6.5 million FLW Series features five $900,000 qualifying tournaments, each with a top award of $100,000, that advance anglers to the $2 million, 2007 Forrest Wood Cup in Hot Springs, Ark., where the winning pro will earn as much as $1 million cash.
Anglers fishing the FLW Series tournament on Old Hickory Lake have launched each morning at 6 from Bull Creek Marina in Gallatin. Saturday’s weigh-in will be held at the Wal-Mart store located at 1112 Nashville Pike in Gallatin beginning at 4 p.m. Children will be treated to the Fujifilm trout pond and rides in the Kellogg’s Ranger boat simulator beginning at noon Saturday prior to the final weigh-in at Wal-Mart. All events are free and open to the public.
The entire field competes for the first three days of FLW Series events. Co-angler winners are determined on day three by the heaviest accumulated three-day weight. The top 10 professionals continue competition on day four, and the winner is determined by the heaviest accumulated weight from all four days.
In FLW Series competition, pros and co-anglers are randomly paired each day, with pros supplying the boat, controlling boat movement and competing against other pros. Co-anglers fish from the back deck against other co-anglers.
Coverage of the Old Hickory Lake FLW Series tournament will be broadcast to 80 million FSN (Fox Sports Net) subscribers in the United States as part of the “FLW Outdoors” television program airing July 16. “FLW Outdoors” airs Sunday mornings at 11 Eastern time. “FLW Outdoors” is also broadcast internationally to approximately 350 million households in such countries as Germany, China, South Africa, Australia, Malaysia, Russia, Hungary and the United Kingdom, making it the most widely viewed weekly outdoor-sports television show in the world. Additionally, FLW Outdoors is proud to provide tournament coverage to more than 800,000 servicemembers stationed around the world in 177 countries and aboard Navy ships through broadcasts on the American Forces Network.
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, Stratos Owners’ Tournament Trail, 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 $37.9 million through 249 events in 2006.
For more information about FLW Outdoors and its tournament programs, browse 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.