HOT SPRINGS, Ark. – Jack Wade of Knoxville, Tenn., crossed the stage with a five-bass limit weighing 16 pounds, 14 ounces to capture the lead on day two of the $2 million Forrest Wood Cup presented by Castrol on Lake Ouachita. With a total opening-round catch of 10 bass weighing 28 pounds, 1 ounce, Wade now holds a 1-pound, 9-ounce lead in the tournament featuring 81 pros and 81 co-anglers from across the United States and Japan.
“It’s exciting,” said Wade, who has notched three top-10 finishes in five seasons on the FLW Tour. “I’m fishing slow and thorough. I lost a 2-pounder, and then I caught a 5-pounder 20 feet from where I caught an 18-pound striper yesterday.”
Wade remained tight-lipped about the techniques he used to catch his fish, and for good reason. Making the top-10 cut earned him the right to battle for a $1 million first-place cash prize. This winning check will be the largest in the history of professional bass fishing and will make one of the final 10 pros in the Forrest Wood Cup an instant millionaire.
“The way I’m fishing, I could catch nothing, or I could catch 20 pounds,” Wade said. “That’s all I’ll say. I’m fishing a big fish pattern.”
Wade said he’s targeting nine or 10 different spots that share similar characteristics.
“Tomorrow I’m going out and going to catch all I can,” Wade said.
Folgers pro Scott Suggs of Bryant, Ark., trails Wade in the No. 2 spot with 10 bass weighing 26-8.
“I started out strong,” said Suggs, who has earned more than $182,000 in FLW Outdoors events and has the hometown Hot Springs crowd behind him. “The second cast I made I caught a really good fish. Then I thought it started going downhill because the next cast I broke one off. You can’t do that on these fish I’m fishing for. It’s bad enough I pull them all to the boat and it screws the hole up. And then to break one off – you can’t do that.”
Suggs said he is targeting fish suspended in deep trees, but the fish kept moving from tree to tree, and he had to move around to stay on fish.
“It was 8:30 this morning and I had enough to make the cut,” Suggs said. “I backed off for a while but then got nervous later in the day.
“I feel pretty good about it right now, but tomorrow is a whole new ball game,” Suggs added. “This lake has humbled me many times.”
Rounding out the top 10 pros are Gain Rookie of the Year Bryan Thrift of Shelby, N.C. (eight bass, 25-12); Castrol pro Mike Surman of Boca Raton, Fla. (10 bass, 24-5); Kellogg’s pro Clark Wendlandt of Leander, Texas (10 bass, 24-4); Folgers pro Anthony Gagliardi of Prosperity, S.C. (10 bass, 24-4); Castrol pro Darrel Robertson of Jay, Okla. (nine bass, 22-10); Greg Pugh of Cullman, Ala. (10 bass, 21-14); Castrol pro David Dudley of Lynchburg, Va. (10 bass, 21-5) and John Devere of Berea, Ky. (10 bass, 21-3).
Overall there were 227 bass weighing 453 pounds, 7 ounces caught by 72 pros Thursday. The catch included 18 five-bass limits.
The field of 81 professional anglers consists of qualifiers from the 2007 Wal-Mart FLW Tour, the 2006 FLW Series, the 2007 Wal-Mart BFL All-American, 2007 TBF National Championship, 2007 Ranger Owners Championship Series and 2006 Stren Series Championship. Six of the final top 10 anglers qualified through the 2006 FLW Series and four qualified through the 2007 Wal-Mart FLW Tour.
David Hudson of Jasper, Ala., leads the Co-angler Division with nine bass weighing 18-7 followed by Kevin Koone of Greenbrier, Ark., in second place with eight bass weighing 14-13.
“I just wanted to catch a couple of fish,” said Hudson, who has recorded a record 14 FLW Tour top-10 finishes without a win. “I felt my best chance to catch a couple of keepers was on the drop shot.”
Hudson caught two fish Thursday on the drop-shot rig and then switched to a big worm to try to boat a large fish. The worm produced his other two keepers. Hudson said he caught a total of seven fish throughout the course of the day.
Rounding out the top 10 co-anglers are Kevin Koone of Greenbrier, Ark. (six bass, 14-13); Bret Bell of O’Fallon, Mo. (seven bass, 13-6); Karyn Sanchez of Midlothian, Texas (six bass, 12-10); Doug Caldwell of Kane, Pa. (six bass, 12-2); Matt Arey of Shelby, N.C. (seven bass, 12-1); Jason Hampson of Cartersville, Ga. (five bass, 11-9); Dino Caporuscio of Coto De Caza, Calif. (six bass, 11-7); Pete Bridges of Tallapoosa, Ga. (six bass, 10-4) and Ken Murphy from Meridian, Miss. (seven bass, 9-14).
Sanchez is the first woman in FLW Tour history to advance to the top 10 in the Forrest Wood Cup.
Overall there were 143 bass weighing 243 pounds, 10 ounces caught by 65 co-anglers Thursday. The catch included three five-bass limits.
Co-anglers are fishing for a top award of $50,000 this week.
The full field competes in the two-day opening round for 10 slots in Saturday’s competition based on their two-day accumulated weight. Weights are cleared for day three, and co-angler competition concludes following Saturday’s weigh-in. The top 10 pros continue competition Sunday, with the winner determined by the heaviest accumulated weight from days three and four.
In Forrest Wood Cup 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.
Forrest Wood Cup contenders will launch at 7 each morning from Brady Mountain Resort located at 4120 Brady Mountain Road in Royal, Ark., and daily weigh-ins will be held at Summit Arena located at 134 Convention Blvd. in Hot Springs each afternoon at 5. The Forrest Wood Cup Family Fun Zone and Outdoor Show – featuring more than 140 exhibits, fishing seminars by Forrest L. Wood and other bass-fishing legends, and free daily giveaways – will be open 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. Saturday and Sunday at the Hot Springs Convention Center.
The first 750 children 14 and under visiting the Family Fun Zone Saturday will receive free Solar Bat sunglasses. On Sunday, the first 1,500 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 $53,000 Ranger Z20 powered by Yamaha. Participants must be present to win.
John Salley, Charissa Thompson and Rob Dibble will join the world’s top professional bass anglers to tape FSN’s hit “Best Damn Sports Show Period” Saturday at 1 p.m. on the Chevy stage at the Hot Springs Convention Center.
Taping for the nationwide cable show, which airs weeknights at 10:30 p.m., will precede the tournament’s day-three weigh-in and crowning of the co-angler champion. Spectators could possibly make an appearance on the show as well, so you won’t want to miss this opportunity. Admission to the Forrest Wood Cup and “Best Damn Sports Show Period” taping is free.
Also, multi-platinum recording artist Tracy Byrd will perform a free concert, presented by US 97-FM, on the main stage at Summit Arena on Sunday at 4 p.m., just before the start of the final weigh-in.
Coverage of the Forrest Wood Cup will be broadcast to 81 million FSN (Fox Sports Net) subscribers in the United States Sept. 23 and Sept. 30 as part of the “FLW Outdoors” television program. “FLW Outdoors” airs Sunday mornings at 11 Eastern time. “FLW Outdoors” is also broadcast in Canada on WFN (World Fishing Network) and to more than 429 million households in the United Kingdom, Europe, Russia, Australia, Africa, Asia, and the Middle East through Matchroom Sport, 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 call (270) 252-1000.