BAINBRIDGE, Ga. (Feb. 2, 2007) – Team Pedigree pro Greg Pugh of Cullman, Ala., caught a five-bass limit weighing 26 pounds, 10 ounces Friday to capture the lead in the $275,225 Stren Series Southeastern Division tournament on Lake Seminole. With a three-day catch of 12 bass weighing 41-15, he holds a 9-pound, 7-ounce lead over his closest competitor heading into the final day of competition.
“The fish actually bit the bait and held it better today,” said Pugh, whose Day 3 sack was 7 pounds, 3 ounces heavier than the next heaviest single-day weight of the tournament.
Pugh caught his fish flipping a Gambler Ugly Otter and Little Otter and a Paca Craw into hyacinth. Pugh said his fish came from 4 to 6 feet of water, prestaging and waiting to move shallow.
“This is the first time in a long time I’ve got to put a flipping stick in my hand and catch a few flipping,” Pugh said. “I’m not well known for catching fish flipping, but as I showed today, I can get out there and do it.”
Rounding out the top five pros are Tony Davis of Williston, Fla. (13 bass, 32-9); Greg Vinson of Wetumpka, Ala. (nine bass, 32-6); David Lowery of Milledgeville, Ga. (13 bass, 32-4); and Clark Smith, Jr. of Pell City, Ala. (10 bass, 32-3).
Also clearing the top 10 cut weight of 25 pounds, 12 ounces in the Pro Division are Lonnie Oneal of Valdosta, Ga.; Mike Cox of Huntsville, Ala.; Craig Dowling of Madison, Ala.; Ron Klys of Gainesville, Fla.; and Jerry Kelley of Wewahitchka, Fla.
Pugh earned $295 for the Snickers Big Bass award in the Pro Division thanks to a 7-pound, 9-ounce bass.
Overall there were 251 bass weighing 586 pounds, 14 ounces caught by pros Friday. The catch included 10 five-bass limits.
Pros are competing for as much as $65,000, including a 519VX Ranger powered by Evinrude or Yamaha if contingency guidelines are met, and valuable points toward qualifying for the $1 million Stren Series Championship in Mobile, Ala., Nov. 8-11 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 2008 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, Ranger Owners Tournament Championship Series and TBF (The Bass Federation) for bass fishing’s biggest prize – $1 million.
Brad Pegram of Henderson, N.C., leads the Co-angler Division in the chase for a top award of $35,000, including a 519VX Ranger if contingency guidelines are met, thanks to a three-day total of seven bass weighing 24-12.
“Having a big lead gives you a little pad and you go out in the morning and you don’t have to fish as hard,” said Pegram, who built the majority of his 7-pound, 6-ounce lead ripping a Rat-L-Trap over grass. “But any of these guys out here have the capability to catch you if you’re not careful.
“I’ve got a little bit of stress right now, but it’s a lot better having that lead than knowing you’ve got to go out and make up weight,” Pegram added. “Tomorrow we’re going to go out and just try to load the boat.”
Rounding out the top five co-anglers are Donald Roberts of Riverside, Ala. (10 bass, 17-7); Gene Crossway of Callahan, Fla. (seven bass, 17-4); Frank Mackin of Tarpon Springs, Fla. (eight bass, 14-15); and Jimmy Anderson of Davie, Fla. (five bass, 14-12).
Also clearing the top 10 cut weight of 13 pounds, 7 ounces in the Co-angler Division are Reginald Pickett of Greensboro, N.C.; Billy Roberson of Rincon, Ga.; Larry Breckenridge of Dothan, Ala.; Aaron Fahnestock of Enterprise, Ala.; and Jason Waddell of Louisville, Ala.
Pegram earned $148 for the Snickers Big Bass award in the Co-angler Division thanks to a 6-pound, 9-ounce bass.
Overall there were 141 bass weighing 300 pounds, 1 ounce caught by co-anglers Friday. The catch included one five-bass limit.
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 2008 Forrest Wood Cup.
Anglers will take off at 7:30 Saturday morning from Bainbridge Earl Mae Boat Basin located at 100 Basin Circle in Bainbridge, Ga. Saturday’s final weigh-in will be held at the Wal-Mart store located at 500 E. Alice St. in Bainbridge, Ga., beginning at 4 p.m. The takeoff and weigh-in 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.
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, Ranger Owners Tournament Championship Series, 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 of nearly $43 million through 238 events in 2007.
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.
For more information about FLW Outdoors and its tournaments, visit FLWOutdoors.com or call (270) 252-1000.