MINNEAPOLIS – Tune in Sunday, March 30, to “FLW Outdoors” on FSN for the season-opening Wal-Mart FLW Tour event on Lake Toho in Kissimmee, Fla. The $1 million tournament, which was hosted by the Central Florida Sports Commission and the Kissimmee – St. Cloud Convention and Visitors Bureau, awarded the winning bass pro a cash prize of $125,000.
The one-hour show is the first of a two-part series covering stop No. 1 on the $9.5 million FLW Tour season. The tournament featured 400 top bass anglers from 35 states, Mexico, Italy, Spain, Australia and Japan.
At the conclusion of the two-day opening round, Castrol pro Carl Svebek leads all competitors with a two-day total of 10 bass weighing 35 pounds, 2 ounces. On day one the Siloam Springs, Ark., native caught 17-10 and he followed up that performance with a remarkably consistent 17-8. Svebek, the man who invented the swacky rig, is fishing Lake Toho exclusively – just a couple of miles from the launch site – wacky rigging his namesake Gambler Sweebo worm around Kissimmee grass to catch approximately 15 keepers per day. This is Svebek’s first trip to the top 10 since 2005 and he’s certainly planning to make the most of his opportunity.
Also in the top 10 is PTSI pro Ron Shuffield. Although Shuffield lives in Bismarck, Ark., he has a track record for catching big bass in the Sunshine State. At the 2006 Bassmasters Classic on Toho, Shuffield took third place with a three-day total weight of 47 pounds, 14 ounces. Now on the FLW Tour, Shuffield is second with an opening-round total of 31 pounds, 8 ounces. To catch his fish, the veteran pro is alternating between spots in Lake Cypress and Lake Kissimmee, but his quality bass are coming from Cypress and are falling victim to a rattling lipless crankbait. He’s also using a 10-inch Berkley Power worm tied to 15-pound Trilene fluorocarbon around outside grass clumps. This tournament is special for Shuffield and not just because he’s the top 10. His son Spencer, who was severely injured in a hunting accident in the winter, is also in the top 10 in the Co-angler Division.
The most surprising name in the top 10 is FLW Tour rookie Randy Hadden. The Jacksonville, Fla., native is no stranger to competing at the highest level. After playing collegiate baseball at the University of South Carolina, Hadden was taken in the 14th round (434th overall) of the 1999 draft by the Los Angeles Dodgers. Before suffering a torn rotator cuff in 2004, Hadden was a right-handed starting pitcher who threw a devastating two-seam fastball that would routinely clock out at 92-94 mph. In his first tour-level bass tournament, he’s also proving that he’s got a knack for catching giant fish. On day one, Hadden caught an 11-pound, 9-ounce behemoth which was the Snickers Big Bass. On day two, he again caught the Snickers Big Bass – this time weighing 8 pounds, 8 ounces. That’s 20 pounds of bass in just two fish, accounting for nearly two-thirds of his 30-pound, 5-ounce total weight.
FSN also flashes back to August 2007 at the $2 million Forrest Wood Cup on Lake Ouachita in Hot Springs, Ark. In this feature, Folgers pro Scott Suggs shares his excitement as he looks back at his $1 million victory – the largest first-place payday in the history of professional bass fishing.
In addition, Castrol pro Mike Surman of Boca Raton, Fla., participates in this edition of Fishing 101. Surman, who has won over $370,000 in his FLW Outdoors career, demonstrates techniques for triggering a reaction bite.
FSN is the industry leader in providing the most up-to-date technology in TV production. FSN puts viewers in the boats with the pros, shadowing them from sunrise until the final weigh-in using innovative camera work that gives fishing fans the most intimate viewing experience available.
FSN broadcasts “FLW Outdoors” Sunday mornings. Check local listings for show times and channels in your area. FLWOutdoors.com also provides an online guide listing upcoming episodes on “FLW Outdoors.”
FSN is broadcast to more than 81 million homes through its network of 20 regional sports channels. Established in 1996, FSN is the only cable network that supplies national, regional and local sports programming. FSN serves as the cable TV home to 62 of the 82 MLB, NHL and NBA teams based in the United States, and produces more than 4,500 live events each year. FSN has an extensive catalog of original national programs, including “Best Damn Sports Show Period” and “Beyond the Glory” documentary series, along with national packages of collegiate sports. Based in Los Angeles, FSN is part of the vast FOX Sports television family. For the latest up-to-the-minute sports news and opinions, visit the FOX Sports/FSN website at www.FoxSports.com.
“FLW Outdoors” is also broadcast internationally to more than 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 weekly outdoor-sports television show in the world.
Tournament anglers 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, browse FLWOutdoors.com or call (270) 252-1000. For more information about FLW Fantasy Fishing and Player’s Advantage, visit FantasyFishing.com.