HENDERSON, Nev. – Pro Jeff Michels of Lakehead, Calif., caught a five-bass limit weighing 10 pounds Friday to widen his lead in the $275,225 Stren Series Western Division tournament presented by Evinrude on Lake Mead. With a three-day catch of 14 bass weighing 31-11, he holds an impressive 7-pound, 15-ounce lead over his closest competitor heading into the final day of competition.
“This has been a tough event,” said Michels, who has won $10,000 since 2006, fishing in only three FLW Outdoors events. “These guys out here are some of the best anglers in the West and even with a 7 pound lead, I can still be caught. The lead does makes me feel a little better but I’m just going to take it as it comes.”
“With the field being cut to the top-10, it should take a lot of pressure of my fish and help the bite some. I’m just going to go fishing and God willing, I will get the key bites and maybe win this.”
Michels is throwing a drop-shot rig around contour breaks and breaklines covering very little water. He is fishing extremely slow and sticking to the areas that he has confidence in.
Rounding out the top five pros are Tim Klinger of Boulder City, Nev. (eight bass, 23-14); John Mikkelsen of Temecula, Calif. (10 bass, 23-12); Jimmy Reese of Witter Springs, Calif. (12 bass, 22-6); and Dennis Kolender of Henderson, Nev. (11 bass, 20-13).
Also clearing the top 10 cut weight of 18 pounds, 10 ounces in the Pro Division are Tom Phillips of Corona, Calif.; Sean Stafford of Fairfield, Calif.; Tom Matsunaga of Gardena, Calif.; Charley Almassey of Oakley, Calif.; and Fred Ward of Phoenix, Ariz..
Paul Addi of Las Vegas, Nev., earned $211 for the Snickers Big Bass award in the Pro Division thanks to a 6-pound, 1-ounce bass.
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.
Scott Christenson of Hollister, Calif., 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 five bass weighing 13-7.
Rounding out the top five co-anglers are Gayle Janes of Bermuda Dunes, Calif. (six bass, 11-12); Stacy Gee of Sacramento, Calif. (eight bass, 11-11); Ron Frye of Dixon, Calif. (five bass, 11-4); and Ronald Schneider of Sandy, Ore (six bass, 11-2).
Also clearing the top 10 cut weight of 9 pounds, 11 ounces in the Co-angler Division are Russell Schmidt of Martinez, Calif.; Young Yang of Los Angeles, Calif.; Justin Lucas of Folsom, Calif.; Tom Pryor of Kingman, Ariz.; and Richard Garlock of Alexandria Bay, N.Y.
Aaron Reitz of Soda Springs, Calif., earned $113 for the Snickers Big Bass award in the Co-angler Division thanks to a 3-pound, 15-ounce bass.
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 6:30 Saturday morning from Callville Bay – Forever Resorts located at HCR-30 in Las Vegas, Nev. Saturday’s final weigh-in will be held at the Wal-Mart store located at 300 East Lake Mead Drive in Henderson, Nev., 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.