TRENTON, Mich. – Pro Dick Shaffer of Rockford, Ohio, caught a five-bass limit weighing 25 pounds to lead day one of the Stren Series Midwest Division event on the Detroit River presented by Evinrude.
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.
“It was a great day,” said Shaffer. “We had about 2-foot waves all day, and that was excellent because you could still move around and try several different spots. If the weather stays like this, I will probably run 60 to 100 miles trying all my different spots. Coming back in today, I had some problems with my lower unit and the support trailer staff did an excellent job and got me going again, it sure pays to run a sponsor’s product.”
Shaffer was drop-shotting gobies around offshore structure in 16 to 25 feet of water in Lake Erie about 60 miles from the launch site.
Rounding out the top five pros are Kevin Snider of Elizabethtown, Ky. (five bass, 24 pounds, 13 ounces); Chad Morgenthaler of Coulterville, Ill. (five bass, 23 pounds, 4 ounces); and John Devries of Fishers, Ind., tied for fifth with Gain Pro Vic Vatalaro of Kent, Ohio (five bass, 21 pounds, 14 ounces).
Robert Sherry of Saint Charles, Ill., and Chuck Willis of Dayton, Ohio, tied for the Snickers Big Bass award in the Pro Division thanks to a 5-pound, 11-ounce bass earning them each $212.50.
Charles Hasty of Toledo, Ohio, 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 five bass weighing 24 pounds, 7 ounces while fishing with pro Kevin Snider who is currently in 2nd place.
“Today was excellent,” said Hasty. “I caught some good fish and had an excellent partner. He was on some fish and knew what he was doing. I got another good draw tomorrow and I’m looking forward to getting back out there.”
Hasty was throwing a combination of drop-shot gobies and tubes around humps and other offshore structure in 18 to 20 feet of water on Lake Erie.
Rounding out the top five co-anglers are James Richardson Sr. of Harrison, Ohio (five bass, 22 pounds, 14 ounces); Eric Ling of Pittsboro, Ind. (five bass, 21 pounds, 14 ounces); Ron Fabiszak of South Bend, Ind. (five bass, 20 pounds, 13 ounces); and Dick Parker of Amherst, Ohio (five bass, 20 pounds, 8 ounces).
Dave Knutstrom of Stronghurst, Ill., earned $185 for the Snickers Big Bass award in the Co-angler Division thanks to a 5-pound, 15-ounce bass.
Anglers will take off at 7 Thursday and Friday from Elizabeth Park located at 200 Grosse Isle Parkway in Trenton, Mich. Saturday’s takeoff will commence at 6:45 a.m. from Lake Erie Metropark. Thursday’s weigh-in will be held at the marina beginning at 3 p.m. Friday and Saturday’s weigh-ins will be held at the Wal-Mart store located at 23800 Allen Road in Woodhaven, Mich. beginning at 4 p.m. Takeoffs and weigh-ins are free and open to the public.
The event is hosted by the Elizabeth Park and Wayne County Parks. For more information, visit their Web site at www.waynecountyparks.org.
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, Wal-Mart FLW Walleye Tour, Wal-Mart FLW Walleye League, Wal-Mart FLW Kingfish Tour, Wal-Mart FLW Kingfish Series and Wal-Mart FLW Redfish Series. These circuits offer combined purses exceeding $36.5 million through 235 events in 2006.