ONALASKA, Wis. – Pro Jim Johnson of La Crosse, Wis., caught 10 bass limit weighing 33 pounds, 2 ounces to lead day two of the Stren Series Midwest Division event on the Mississippi River near Onalaska, Wis.
Pros are competing for as much as $64,500 and valuable points that could qualify them for a trip to the $1 million Stren Series Championship for a shot at $140,000. 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.
“I caught my fish early in the morning,” said Johnson, who led yesterday with five bass weighing 18 pounds, 1 ounce. “Then I went looking for some new areas, just pre-fishing basically. I found one area that I plan to utilize tomorrow. It has a couple 4-pound smallmouths. So the smallmouths may come into play tomorrow.”
Johnson, who posted a sixth-place finish on the Mississippi River in 2005 during Stren Series competition, caught his limit both days by swimming a jig near eel grass in six feet of water.
“The fish are following schools of shad and locking up on current and cleaner water,” he said. “The cleaner water is the key.”
Rounding out the top five pros are Chris Cox of Belleville, Wis. (10 bass, 30 pounds, 7 ounces); Douglas Stanton of Winona, Minn. (10 bass, 30 pounds, 2 ounces); Dan Morehead of Paducah, Ky. (10 bass, 29 pounds, 15 ounces); and Rick Taylor of West Olive, Mich. (10 bass, 29 pounds, 14 ounces).
Jeff Naill of La Crosse Wis., earned $750 for the Snicker’s Big Bass award in the Pro Division thanks to a 4-pound, 14-ounce bass.
Mark Myers of Minneapolis, Minn., leads the Co-angler Division in the chase for a top award worth as much as $35,000, including a 519VX Ranger if contingency guidelines are met. He caught 10 bass weighing 25 pounds, 14 ounces while fishing with pro Robert Sherry of St. Charles, Ill who finished in 151st place.
“It wasn’t easy today,” he said. “It was really slow bite this morning. I had been catching them on a frog, but I couldn’t get them to come up after it. Then by mid-morning I finally got one to bite the frog.”
Myers, who is coming off an FLW Tour Victory on Lake Champlain, caught three of his keepers on a frog by fishing around grass, pads and algae-covered water ranging in depths from 1 to 3 feet.
“We were waiting to lock through to Pool 8 and I caught on off some wood on a jig,” he said, “I caught another keeper on a Power Slug. I’m just going to go with the flow tomorrow and hope for the best.”
Rounding out the top five co-anglers are Brady Farrell of Fort Atkinson, Wis. (10 bass, 25 pounds, 3 ounces); Bud Strader of Rockwood, Tenn. (10 bass, 24 pounds, 14 ounces); Bob Bott of Onalaska, Wis. (10 bass, 24 pounds, 7 ounces); and Michael Taylor of Muscatine, Iowa (10 bass, 23 pounds, 3 ounces).
Andy Bylander of Amery, Wis., earned $250 for the Snicker’s Big Bass award in the Co-angler Division thanks to a 4-pound, 10-ounce bass.
Anglers will take off at 6 each morning from Clinton Street Landing West located at the Clinton Street Bridge in La Crosse. Friday and Saturday’s weigh-ins will be held at the Wal-Mart store located at 3107 Marketplace in Onalaska 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 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.
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, 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.