Wal-Mart FLW Series east vs. west battle Begins on Lake Amistad - Major League Fishing

Wal-Mart FLW Series east vs. west battle Begins on Lake Amistad

Winners will advance to $2 million Forrest Wood Cup for shot at $1 million bass-fishing title
February 7, 2008 • MLF • Archives

DEL RIO, Texas – Jimmy Reese of Witter Springs, Calif., the No. 15 seed from the National Guard Western Division, crushed his opponent, Tommy Biffle of Wagoner, Okla., the No. 16 seed from the BP Eastern Division, on opening day of the Wal-Mart FLW Series® East-West Fish-Off Thursday on Lake Amistad. Reese’s five-bass limit weighing 26 pounds, 12 ounces not only dwarfed Biffle’s catch of three bass weighing 5 pounds, 7 ounces, it also ranked as the heaviest catch in any bracket.

Reese caught his bass on a jig that he is fishing in 20 to 40 feet of water, but he almost started the day one crucial piece of equipment short.

“I forgot the net,” said Reese, who has 15 top-10 finishes with FLW Outdoors. “We were getting ready to leave the marina, and I started to panic because I forgot the net. My first thought was that we could make it without the net, but my co-angler ended up running to the truck to get it, and boy I am glad he did. We pulled up on my first area and put it to use in five minutes.

“I was on some really big fish,” Reese added. “I am very confident in what I am doing. My plan for tomorrow is to go hunting and find the big fish. It’s me against the fish. I’ve got to focus on nothing else. There are not too many guys here worried about just one guy.”

Despite his slow start, Biffle is definitely someone to be worried about. He is fresh off a third-place finish at the 2008 FLW Series opener on Lake Okeechobee, and he has earned more than half a million dollars in FLW Outdoors competition. He now has two-days left to overcome a 21-pound, 5-ounce deficit and advance to the $2 million Forrest Wood Cup presented by Castrol on Lake Murray in Columbia, S.C., for a shot at winning $1 million – the sport’s biggest award – Aug. 14-17.

Another much-anticipated match-up pits one of the sport’s all-time greats, No. 26 Eastern Division seed Larry Nixon of Bee Branch, Ark., against Western Division legend and No. 5 seed Mike Folkestad of Yorba Linda, Calif. Nixon holds a slim 4-ounce lead after day one with five bass weighing 15-5 to Folkestad’s five bass weighing 15-1.

“It’s hard to believe that the two oldest guys in the tournament are going against each other,” Nixon said. “We have known each other for a long time, and I think Mike’s a great guy. The wind played a big factor in the bite today. I had to run around and scramble to find fish. I am looking forward to tomorrow, and hopefully the wind will die down.”

Wal-Mart pro and No. 11 Eastern Division seed George Cochran of Hot Springs, Ark., won the Forrest Wood Cup in 2005, and he is hoping to eliminate No. 20 Western Division seed Brent Lyon of Reno, Nev., for another shot at the Cup. Lyon, however, also has his sites set on winning the sport’s biggest prize, and he took a huge step toward realizing his goal with five bass weighing 18-13 to Cochran’s four bass weighing 10-10.

Overall there were 287 bass weighing 899 pounds, 6 ounces caught by the 60 pros Thursday. The catch included 52 five-bass limits.

On the co-angler side, Frank Divis Sr. of Fayetteville, Ark., topped the field with a day-one catch of five-bass weighing 23 pounds, 1 ounce.

“I am very confident going into tomorrow,” said Divis, who has amassed more than $176,000 in career earnings as a co-angler with FLW Outdoors. “This is my type of fishing. I’m not surprised in the weight that I brought in today. Lake Amistad is a great fishery.”

Divis is dragging a green-pumpkin and red flake 1-ounce PJ’s finesse football-head to catch his bass.

“Finding depth is the key,” Divis said. “I am making long casts into at least 25 to 40 feet of water.”

Rounding out the top five co-anglers are Steve Lindner of Lakewood, Calif. (five bass, 21-8); Bob Bjorklund of Centennial, Colo. (five bass, 19-7); Justin Lucas of Folsom, Calif. (five bass, 17-13) and Richard Taylor of Shingle Springs, Calif. (five bass, 16-2).

Overall there were 248 bass weighing 603 pounds, 14 ounces caught by the 60 co-anglers Thursday. The catch included 38 five-bass limits.

The winners of the head-to-head match-ups in the Pro Division will advance to the Forrest Wood Cup along with the top 30 co-anglers based on accumulated weight during the three-day Fish-Off. The pro with the heaviest overall weight will also earn $25,000, and the co-angler with the heaviest overall weight will earn $5,000.

Anglers will take off at 7 each morning from the East Diablo launch ramp at Lake Amistad Marina in Del Rio. Weigh-ins each day will be held at the marina beginning at 3 p.m. Takeoffs and weigh-ins are free and open to the public.

Coverage of the FLW Series Fish-Off 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 16. “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 a distribution agreement with Matchroom Sport, making it the most widely distributed fishing program in the world. The program airs Sunday mornings at 11 Eastern time in most markets. Check local listings for times in your area.

FLW Fantasy Fishing invites virtual anglers to compete

Tournament pros aren’t the only ones winning big this season. With the introduction of FLW Fantasy Fishing™, FLW Outdoors® offers anyone the opportunity to enter for their chance to land the catch of a lifetime with the opportunity to win $7.3 million in cash and prizes. Players can become a virtual pro angler by signing up for Player’s Advantage, providing them with exclusive insider information that could guide them to a $100,000 victory at every Wal-Mart FLW Tour® stop and the Forrest Wood Cup. Player’s Advantage will give them an edge over the competition and increase their shot for a $1 million cash grand prize that will be awarded to the FLW Fantasy Fishing cumulative points winner. Those who visit FantasyFishing.com today can sign up for Player’s Advantage and FLW Outdoors will include a $15 Wal-Mart gift card.

FLW Outdoors, named after Forrest L. Wood, the legendary founder of Ranger Boats, is the largest fishing tournament organization in the world. In 2008 alone the organization is offering more than 90,000 anglers the chance to win over $40 million through 230 tournaments in 10 circuits targeting bass, walleye, redfish, kingfish and striped bass. FLW Outdoors is also taking fishing mainstream with the largest cash awards in the history of fantasy sports, $7.3 million.

For more information about FLW Outdoors and its tournaments, visit FLWOutdoors.com or call (270) 252-1000. For more information about FLW Fantasy Fishing and Player’s Advantage, visit FantasyFishing.com.