BETHEL ISLAND, Calif. – Pro Jimmy Reese of Witter Springs, Calif., caught a five-bass limit weighing 23 pounds, 2 ounces Friday to capture the lead in the $275,225 Stren Series Western Division tournament presented by Yamaha on the California Delta. With a three-day catch of 15 bass weighing 70-10, he holds a 1-pound, 3-ounce lead over his closest competitor heading into the final day of competition.
“The fishing was pretty good today. Hopefully I can do this again tomorrow,” said Reese, who has amassed more than $170,000 in career earnings with FLW Outdoors. “I have been very versatile this week. I have been fishing new water everyday. Each day has been very different. Some days the bite is better early with topwater baits and other days it doesn’t pick up until later in the day with drop-shots and reaction baits. Today, I made a long run and just went fishing. When I filled my limit pretty early this morning I knew some of the pressure was going to be off of me. I knew I had at least made the top-10 cut.
“I have been fishing seven or eight different areas each day. When I am going to these areas I also stop and check places in between kind of practicing for the next day and seeing what’s out there. My plan for tomorrow is to just swing for the fences. I have a lot of stiff competition behind me and I can’t let up at all.”
Reese said that he would be happy with a 20-pound sack tomorrow but he still may not win with that. He also said it might take another 25-pound limit to win this event.
Rounding out the top five pros are Rob Riehl of Tracy, Calif. (15 bass, 69-7); Neil Campbell of Fallbrook, Calif. (15 bass, 67-11); Zack Thompson of Orinda, Calif. (15 bass, 64-12); and Wayne Hinrichs of Novato, Calif. (15 bass, 63-3).
Also clearing the top 10 cut weight of 61 pounds, 7 ounces in the Pro Division are Justin Kerr of Simi Valley, Calif.; Robert Lee of Angels Camp, Calif.; Brett Davies of Davis, Calif.; Ken Mah of Elk Grove, Calif.; and Mike O’Shea of San Ramon, Calif.
Rodney Brinser of Brentwood, Calif., earned $268 for the Snickers Big Bass award in the Pro Division thanks to an impressive 10-pound, 14-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.
Mike Iloski of Escondido, 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 15 bass weighing 49-2.
“I caught some good fish today,” said Iloski, who is no stranger to the leader boards in the Stren Series Western Division. “I have had some great partners all week. They have kept me around fish and helped me stay in contention for the win. My partner and I went out looking for the big bite today and never found it. I still had my solid limit by noon though. Every other day I already had five in the boat by 9 a.m.
“I have caught so many fish so many different ways this week. I’ve caught them on reaction baits as well as finesse gear. Hopefully I can keep this up and catch them good again tomorrow.”
Rounding out the top five co-anglers are J.R. Wright of Truckee, Calif. (15 bass, 48-4); Curt Dowhower of Ripon, Calif. (14 bass, 47-4); Kyle Clement of Anderson, Calif. (15 bass, 45-4); and Gary Haraguchi of Brentwood, Calif. (15 bass, 43-15).
Also clearing the top 10 cut weight of 40 pounds, 12 ounces in the Co-angler Division are Michael Hong of San Francisco, Calif.; Paul Fontaine of Brentwood, Calif.; Young Yang of Los Angeles, Calif.; Adrian Pagan of Gilroy, Calif.; and Stewart Wong of Sacramento, Calif.
Kenneth Yamasaki of Discovery Bay, Calif., earned $138 for the Snickers Big Bass award in the Co-angler Division thanks to an 8-pound, 1-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 Russo’s Marina located at 3995 Willow Road in Bethel Island, Calif. Saturday’s final weigh-in will be held at the Wal-Mart store located at 4893 Lone Tree Way in Antioch, Calif., 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 241 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 Walmart.com.
For more information about FLW Outdoors and its tournaments, visit FLWOutdoors.com or call (270) 252-1000.