Divis wins co-angler title, $25,000
AUSTIN, Texas (Feb. 17, 2007) – Aaron Hastings of Middletown, Md., caught a five-bass limit weighing 9 pounds, 15 ounces Saturday to take the lead after squeaking into the final round of the $1 million Wal-Mart FLW Tour event presented by Kellogg’s on Lake Travis. Hastings, who qualified as the ninth of 10 final-round competitors, now holds a 2-pound, 3-ounce lead over pretournament favorite Clark Wendlandt of Leander, Texas, heading into the final day of competition for a top award of $125,000.
“It feels good to be leading, but I’ll feel a whole lot better after tomorrow,” said Hastings, who is making his first top 10 appearance since joining the FLW Tour in 2006. “I didn’t know anything about the lake when I got here, but I did my homework. The whole key is to fish slowly. I think I managed my fish well this week, and I hope it pays off.”
Hastings has been fishing a drop-shot rig in 18 to 25 feet of water around contour breaks under floating docks.
Fishing for Team Kellogg’s, Wendlandt caught a five-bass limit weighing 7 pounds, 12 ounces skipping finesse jigs around boat docks to advance to the final round as the No. 2 seed.
“It feels great to be in second place, but I would rather be leading,” said Wendlandt, a two-time Land O’Lakes Angler of the Year award winner. “I still feel like I have a great chance to win this. I don’t have just one spot to key on, I have the whole lake. I just fish where it feels right.”
Rounding out the top 10 pros are Bryan Thrift of Shelby, N.C. (five bass, 7-6); Kellogg’s pro Dave Lefebre of Union City, Pa. (five bass, 6-8); Craig Dowling of Madison, Ala. (four bass, 5-8); PTSI pro Ron Shuffield of Bismarck, Ark. (two bass, 5-5); Ott Defoe (four bass, 4-12); BFGoodrich Tires pro Jerry Green of Del Rio, Texas (two bass, 3-8); Castrol pro Darrel Robertson of Jay, Okla. (one bass, 1-7) and BP pro Tracy Adams of Wilkesboro, N.C. (one bass, 1-6).
Overall there were 34 bass weighing 53 pounds, 7 ounces caught in the Pro Division Saturday. The catch included four five-bass limits.
Frank Divis Sr. of Fayetteville, Ark., won the Co-angler Division and $25,000 Saturday with five bass weighing 8 pounds, 11 ounces followed by Doug Caldwell of Kane, Pa., in second place with five bass weighing 6-14 worth $10,000.
Divis opened the tournament in 37th place Thursday with four bass weighing 5-8 while fishing with pro Fred Cantaoi of Lakeport, Calif. On Friday he jumped to ninth place on the strength of a five-bass catch weighing 6-9 while fishing with National Guard pro Jonathon Newton of Rogersville, Ala. He wrapped up his win while fishing with Aaron Hastings.
“It feels awesome,” said Divis, who is no stranger to the weigh-in stage after winning a Stren Series Championship in 1999 as well as another tour victory in 2001. “I had an overwhelming feeling coming into this event that I would win, but I barley made it into the top 10, and I was worried. I know what all these guys are capable of, and I knew that I could not afford to make too many mistakes.
“This is going to help me buy my daughter a new car, pay some bills and keep fishing. I have already qualified for the Forrest Wood Cup, so now I’m just here fishing for fun,” he said.
Divis won the tournament using a drop-shot rigged Bassmedics finesse worm in watermelon candy color. He qualified for the final round, however, using a PJ’s Finesse Baits 3/4-ounce football head jig – the same bait that has earned him more than $130,000 in his career. Divis fished the jig with a Net Bait Paca chunk trailer.
Rounding out the top 10 co-anglers are Gain angler Jess Caraballo of Danbury, Conn. (three bass, 3-7, $9,000); Timothy Sisk of Cherryville, N.C. (two bass, 3-3, $8,000); Ken Murphy of Meridian, Miss. (two bass, 2-6, $7,000); Castrol angler Mark Phillips of Fayetteville, Ark. (two bass, 2 pounds, $6,000); Joan Arnal of Barcelona, Spain (one bass, 1-1, $5,000); Adam Lock of Metropolis, Ill. (one bass, 14 ounces, $4,000); Shawn Stewart of Pflugerville, Texas (no bass, $3,000) and Clint Bridges of Round Rock, Texas (no bass, $2,000).
Overall there were 21 bass weighing 28 pounds, 8 ounces caught in the Co-angler Division Saturday. The catch included two five-bass limits.
Anglers will take off at 7 Sunday morning from Mansfield Dam Park. Sunday’s weigh-in will be held at the Austin Convention Center located at 500 Cesar Chavez Street in Austin beginning at 4 p.m.
Prior to the final weigh-in Sunday, 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. 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 Sunday will receive a free rod and reel combo from 98.1 KVET FM.
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.
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.