AUSTIN, Texas. (Feb. 16, 2007) – Team Kellogg’s pro Dave Lefebre of Union City, Pa., caught a five-bass limit weighing 13 pounds, 13 ounces Friday to capture the lead in the $1 million Wal-Mart FLW Tour event presented by Kellogg’s on Lake Travis with a two-day catch of 10 bass weighing 26-10. He now holds a 1-pound, 1-ounce lead in the tournament featuring 200 pros and 200 co-anglers representing 37 states, Australia, Italy, Japan and Spain.
“This is great. I’m shocked at how my day went,” said Lefebre, who has 27 FLW Outdoors top-10s, including four wins, and $588,228 in career earnings since 2001. “In practice I had a lot of pressure on my main spots, but when competition started, I’ve had the whole place all to myself. My limit today happened real fast. I was practicing for the rest of the event by 8:30 this morning. I am catching them quick and leaving the area trying to save a few fish for the remainder of the tournament.”
Lefebre has been throwing small finesse jigs with ultra-light line in both deep and shallow water over the last two days to catch his quality-sized, tournament limits of bass.
“I’ve tried both shallow and deep over the last two days and they have both been productive. I have been finding what depth the fish are first thing in the mornings, and then I will run that pattern the rest of the day,” he said.
Also fishing for Team Kellogg’s, Clark Wendlandt of Leander, Texas, advanced to the final round of 10 pros in the No. 2 spot with a two-day total of 10 bass weighing 25-9. On opening day, he led the tournament with a huge 17 pound, 3 ounce limit.
“This is probably the biggest two-day stringer I have ever caught in a tournament on this lake,” said Wendlandt, who is a two-time Land O’Lakes Angler of the Year Award winner. “I kind of changed my approach up today. I tried something totally different than what I did yesterday. I have a few places in mind that I haven’t even been to yet for the rest of the week. I just hope they weren’t beat up to bad. I am just glad I made it this far and look forward to tomorrow.”
Wendlandt, who was fishing mainly jigs on day one, made a switch for Friday to throwing crankbaits around shallow rock piles.
Rounding out the top five pros who will continue competition Saturday and Sunday are Jerry Green of Del Rio, Texas (10 bass, 24-3); Craig Dowling of Madison, Ala. (10 bass, 22-12); and Ron Shuffield of Bismarck, Ark. (10 bass, 22-6).
Also clearing the top-10 cut weight of 21 pounds were pros Ott Defoe of Knoxville, Tenn.; Darrel Robertson of Jay, Okla.; Bryan Thrift of Shelby, N.C.; Aaron Hastings of Middletown, Md., and Tracy Adams of Wilkesboro, N.C.
National Guard pro Scott Martin of Clewiston, Fla., earned the day’s $750 Snickers Big Bass award in the Pro Division thanks to an 8-pound, 12-ounce bass. The fish also earned him the tournament’s overall big bass award of $1,000.
All told, there were 679 bass weighing 1,058 pounds, 7 ounces caught by 191 pros Friday. The catch included 77 five-bass limits.
Pros are competing for a top award of $125,000 this week plus valuable points in the hope of qualifying for the $2 million Forrest Wood Cup presented by Castrol in Hot Springs, Ark., Aug. 2-5, where the winning pro will earn as much as $1 million – the sport’s biggest award. The top 40 pros after three $1 million qualifiers and three $1.5 million opens will advance to the Forrest Wood Cup.
Mark Phillips of Fayetteville, Ark., leads the Co-angler Division with an opening-round total of nine bass weighing 15 pounds, 10 ounces, followed by Shawn Stewart of Pflugerville, Texas, in second place with 10 bass weighing 14-5.
“I struggled a little bit today,” said Phillips, who has three top-10s in FLW Outdoors competition since 2003. “I was fishing deep water yesterday and shallow water today. I just had to adjust to what was working. Overall, I’m fishing really well and happy to be out here doing this. It is a real thrill to compete at this level.”
Rounding out the top five co-anglers are Ken Murphy of Meridian, Miss. (10 bass, 14-3); Jess Caraballo of Danbury, Conn. (10 bass, 13-15) and Clint Bridges of Round Rock, Texas (five bass,13-11).
Also clearing the top-10 cut weight of 12 pounds in the Co-angler Division were Adam Lock of Metropolis, Ill.; Joan Arnal of Barcelona, Spain; Timothy Sisk of Cherryville, N.C.; Frank Divis Sr. of Fayetteville, Ark., and Doug Caldwell of Kane, Pa.
Chad Hicks of Rockville, Va., earned $500 for the day’s Snickers Big Bass award in the Co-angler Division thanks to a 7-pound, 11-ounce bass he caught while fishing with pro Matt Herren of Trussville, Ala.
Overall there were 369 bass weighing 529 pounds, 3 ounces caught by 159 co-anglers Friday. The catch included 16 five-bass limits.
Co-anglers are fishing for a top award of $25,000 this week.
Anglers will take off at 7 Saturday and Sunday morning from Mansfield Dam Park followed by 4 p.m. weigh-ins at the Austin Convention Center located at 500 E. Cesar Chavez Street in Austin.
Prior to the weigh-ins, FLW Outdoors will host a free Family Fun Zone and outdoor show at the Austin Convention Center from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. each day. The Family Fun Zone is a chance for fishing fans to meet their favorite anglers and review the latest products from Berkley, Lowrance, Ranger, Evinrude, Yamaha and other manufacturers while children are treated to fishing themed games and rides like the Ranger Boat simulator. The first 300 children 14 and under visiting the Family Fun Zone Saturday will also receive a free FLW Outdoors hat from KASE 101 FM. On Sunday, 98.1 KVET FM will give the first 300 children 14 and under visiting the Family Fun Zone a free rod and reel combo.
Sunday’s festivities will also include the CBS 42 Celebrity Challenge tournament featuring Austin area residents Linda Crelia, Weldon Klenke, Bonifacio Velasquez , Scott Morales and Ben Watkins fishing with FLW Tour pros and local celebrities, including CBS anchors Ron Oliveirs and Kim Miller, Texas Outdoor Zone host TJ Greaney and Spike from the Round Rock Express, to benefit Lake Travis conservation efforts. Crelia, Klenke, Velasquez, Morales and Watkins won a CBS 42 sweepstakes last week to participate in the event. The winner of the Celebrity Challenge will receive $500 and have $5,000 donated in his or her honor to the FishAmerica Foundation. Takeoff for the Celebrity Challenge is at 9 a.m. at Mansfield Dam Park with the weigh-in taking place at the Austin Convention Center at 3 p.m.
In FLW Tour 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. The full field competes Thursday and Friday for 10 slots in Saturday’s competition based on their two-day accumulated weight. Weights are cleared Saturday, and co-angler competition concludes following Saturday’s weigh-in with the winner determined by the day’s heaviest catch. The top 10 pros continue competition Sunday, with the winner determined by the heaviest accumulated weight from Saturday and Sunday.
Coverage of the Lake Travis tournament will be broadcast to 81 million FSN (Fox Sports Net) subscribers in the United States as part of the “FLW Outdoors” television program airing March 18 and 25. “FLW Outdoors” airs Sunday mornings at 11 Eastern time. “FLW Outdoors” is also broadcast internationally to more than 350 million households in the United Kingdom, Europe, Russia, Australia, Africa, Asia and the Middle East, making it the most widely distributed weekly fishing program 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, 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 exceeding $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.