CHARLES COUNTY, Md. – Jack Wade of Knoxville, Tenn., caught a five-bass limit weighing 16 pounds, 14 ounces Friday to capture the lead in the Wal-Mart FLW Tour’s $1 million event on the Potomac River with a two-day catch of 10 bass weighing 37-13. He now holds a 1-pound lead in the tournament featuring 200 pros and 200 co-anglers representing 37 states, Australia and Japan.
“I fished hard, and I fished an area that I didn’t fish yesterday,” said Wade, who has two top-10 finishes on the FLW Tour. “The way the tides affect the areas I’m in is really key, and I tried fishing the high tide on a grass bed and it didn’t work.”
Wade returned to a spot where he caught four fish that weighed nearly 17 pounds on the first day of competition, but the fish weren’t there Friday.
“I didn’t have a keeper at 10:30,” Wade said. “I was waiting out on the water for the tides to do something, and finally I went to a secondary area I had and caught a keeper. My fish today came out of areas that I didn’t even touch yesterday.”
Wade said he was flipping a 3/8-ounce jig around wood and soft plastic baits in grass. He also threw a frog in hopes of capitalizing on a topwater bite. However, his keeper fish fell to the jig.
Wade plans to play the tides again Saturday in a spot where he knows quality fish are holding, although he expects to catch a few 2-pounders in the area.
“You never know when that one 2-pounder is going to be the one to get you over that hump,” Wade said. “Who knows what’s going to happen tomorrow. I’m just going to go out and catch as many fish as I can.”
Fishing for Team Berkley, Bobby Lane of Lakeland, Fla., advanced to the final round of 10 pros in the No. 2 spot with a two-day total of 10 bass weighing 36-13.
Rounding out the top five pros who will continue competition Saturday and Sunday are Mark Davis of Mount Ida, Ark. (10 bass, 36-10); Sandy Melvin of Boca Grande, Fla. (10 bass, 35-5); and BP pro Ray Scheide of Russellville, Ark. (10 bass, 35-4).
Also clearing the top-10 cut weight of 33 pounds, 3 ounces and adding to this already power-packed top-10 field are Team Bounty pro Ken Wick of Star, Idaho; Jerry Williams of Conway, Ark.; Team Snickers pro Chris Baumgardner of Gastonia, N.C.; Team Castrol pro David Dudley of Lynchburg, Va.; and Team A&W pro Shad Schenk of Waynetown, Ind.
Baumgardner earned the day’s $750 Snickers Big Bass award in the Pro Division thanks to a 7-pound, 6-ounce bass. He also won an extra $1,000 for having the biggest bass of the tournament.
Overall there were 776 bass weighing 2,104 pounds caught by 188 pros Friday. The catch included 108 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.
Ken Murphy of Meridian, Miss., leads the Co-angler Division with an opening-round total of nine bass weighing 30 pounds, 2 ounces, followed by Moo Bae of West Friendship, Md., in second place with 10 bass weighing 28-0.
“I didn’t get as many keeper bites today,” said Murphy, who has amassed eight top-10 finishes in FLW Outdoors events. “I caught probably 10 or 12 short fish today. I just kept my head down and stuck to the presentation I have confidence in, and it worked out.”
Murphy’s confidence technique is fishing a Senko. While other anglers may be throwing the same bait during the tournament, Murphy said he’s chosen a different color and is weighting it differently than other anglers. Murphy also relied on a shaky-head finesse worm outside of grass edges. Murphy said the Senko and the shaky-head worm each produced two of his four keepers.
While Murphy is no stranger to top-10 finishes, he said he is thrilled to be leading the field going into the final day of competition and is looking forward to a shot at his first FLW Tour win.
“It would be awesome,” Murphy said. “That’s my ultimate goal right now. If I can get that behind me, it would surely be a milestone.”
Rounding out the top five co-anglers are James Dudley of Lynchburg, Va. (nine bass, 26-11); David Hudson of Jasper, Ala. (10 bass, 26-5) and Mark Levesque of Waterbury, Conn. (nine bass, 25-5).
Also clearing the top-10 cut weight of 24 pounds, 3 ounces in the Co-angler Division are Mark Myers of Cedar Falls, Iowa; Bob Blosser of Lodi, Wis.; Ken Kiersey of Owasso, Okla.; Kevin Koone of Greenbrier, Ark.; and Mark Spearly of Bellefonte, Penn.
Rob Genter of Tidioute, Penn., earned $500 for the day’s Snickers Big Bass award in the Co-angler Division thanks to a 5-pound, 12-ounce bass he caught while fishing with pro Tom Mann Jr. of Buford, Ga.
Overall there were 454 bass weighing 1,149 pounds, 13 ounces caught by 169 co-anglers Friday. The catch included 26 five-bass limits.
Co-anglers are fishing for a top award of $25,000 this week.
Anglers will take off at 6:30 a.m. Saturday and Sunday from Anacostia Park located at 1900 Anacostia Drive SE in Washington, D.C. Saturday and Sunday’s weigh-ins will be held at the DC Armory located at 2001 E. Capitol St. in Washington, D.C., next to RFK Stadium, beginning at 4 p.m. For convenience, visitors are encouraged to take Metro. For details on Metro service to the DC Armory, visit www.wmata.com.
Prior to the weigh-ins, FLW Outdoors will host a free Family Fun Zone and outdoor show at the DC Armory from noon 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. On Sunday, the first 300 children 14 and under visiting the Family Fun Zone will receive a free rod and reel combo. One lucky person attending the final weigh-in Sunday will even win a trip for two to the Forrest Wood Cup in Hot Springs, Ark., where they could ultimately win a $53,000 Ranger Z20 powered by Yamaha. The drawing for a free vacation getaway to Hot Springs will be held immediately following Sunday’s 4 p.m. weigh-in. Participants must be present to win.
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 tournament will be broadcast to 81 million FSN (Fox Sports Net) subscribers in the United States on July 29 and Aug. 5 as part of the “FLW Outdoors” television program. “FLW Outdoors” airs Sunday mornings at 11 Eastern time. “FLW Outdoors” is also broadcast internationally to 429 million households in such countries as Germany, China, South Africa, Australia, Malaysia, Russia, Hungary and the United Kingdom, making it the most widely distributed 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 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.