DENISON, Texas – The unlikely combination of an airline pilot and school superintendent won both the Pro- and Co-Angler Divisions of the Stren Series Texas Division tournament on Lake Texoma.
Pro Dave Parsons of Yantis, Texas, caught a five-bass limit weighing 14 pounds, 13 ounces Saturday to win the Stren with a four-day total of 20 bass weighing 60-10. For his victory, Parsons earned $25,000 cash.
“I’m going to have to get a shave and haircut before I go back to work,” said Parsons, who is a captain for Southwest Airlines out of Dallas. “It was kind of cool this morning, because right when we took off, there were about 50 birds sitting there on the bank eating shad, and I caught four keepers in 45 minutes, so the rest of the day I was able to fish really comfortably. I went to five different areas today, catching one or more in every spot, culling three times.”
Parsons caught his fish flipping a Sweet Beaver in the “muddiest, nastiest” water he could find, and caught some on a Terminator spinnerbait.
“Earlier this week, I caught all my fish in really shallow water-10 inches or less,” Parsons said. “They moved out as the week progressed, so I made the adjustment and stayed on them all week. My strategy was to do something different; I was catching better quality in muddier water.”
Parsons opened the tournament in 33rd place Wednesday with five bass weighing 11-08 that he caught flipping while fishing shallow water. On Thursday he added another five bass weighing 21-02 using a variety of baits to capture his lead. He then caught five bass weighing 13-03 Friday to make the crucial top-10 cut in first place.
Rounding out the top five pros are Robert Robinson of Mobile, Ala. (20 bass, 55-15, $7,238); Tim Harp of Pottsboro, Texas (20 bass, 52-09, $6,515 plus $5,000 Ranger bonus); Chris McCall of Jasper, Texas (20 bass, 52-01, $5,791); and Gene Robertson of Ardmore, Okla. (20 bass, 50-05, $5,067).
Parsons caught the biggest bass of the tournament in the Pro Division Thursday – a 7-pound, 11-ounce largemouth – that earned him the day’s Snickers Big Bass award of $218.
Overall there were 50 bass weighing 114 pounds, 13 ounces caught by 10 pros Saturday. The catch included 10 five-bass limits.
George Coffman of Marlow, Okla., won the Co-angler Division and $5,000, with a four-day total of 16 bass weighing 39-09.
“Besides getting married and the birth of my children, this is the most nervous I’ve ever been,” said Coffman, the Marlow County School superintendent who won the co-angler division of his first Stren Series tournament. “This is my first time fishing with FLW and my first win, so I’m going to be spoiled rotten; the chances were a million to one.”
Coffman caught a smallmouth on a brown jig and a black bass on a purple and white crankbait.
“I had great pros all week, and Dave did everything he possibly could have to make me successful today, as well as himself,” Coffman said. “I enjoyed every minute of it, and Wal-Mart and the whole FLW crew were great; I want to participate in some more tournaments, and eventually jump onto the other side as a pro and get after it one of these days.”
Coffman caught five bass weighing 12-01 Wednesday using jig and fluke while fishing with pro Richard Whomble of Lindale, Texas, to open the tournament in second place. He then caught four bass weighing 8-14 Thursday using a jig while fishing with pro Yarri Schreibvogel of Sam Rayburn, Texas, to maintain his lead. On Friday he added five more bass weighing 14-05 to make the top-10 cut in first place while using a jig with pro Dean Alexander of Florence, Texas. Finally, on Saturday, he sealed the win with a two-bass catch weighing 4-05 on a jig and purple and white Lucky Craft crankbait while fishing with pro Dave Parsons of Yantis, Texas.
Rounding out the top five co-anglers are Stephen Francis of Brookeland, Texas (17 bass, 36-03, $3,100); David Underwood of Waco, Texas (16 bass, 32-05, $2,519); Zac Cassill of Fairfax, Iowa (16 bass, 30-11, $1,938); and Terry Rose of Eastland, Texas (13 bass, 29-03, $1,550).
Jason Pittman of Ardmore, Okla., caught the biggest bass of the tournament in the Co-angler Division Thursday – a 6-pound, 6-ounce largemouth – that earned him the day’s Snickers Big Bass award of $116.
Overall there were 27 bass weighing 50 pounds, 11 ounces caught by 10 co-anglers Saturday. The catch included 2 five-bass limits.
The next Stren Series Texas Division event, hosted by the City of Natchitoches, will be held Sept. 24-27 on the Red River in Natchitoches, La. Boats will launch from Grand Encore Recreation Complex in Natchitoches and the final weigh-in will be held at the Wal-Mart located at 925 Keyser Ave. in Natchitoches.
After four qualifying events are complete in each of the Stren Series’ five divisions, the top 40 pros from each division will advance to the $1 million Stren Series Championship in Branson, Mo., Nov. 5-8 for a shot at $140,000. The highest-finishing pro from each division at the championship will also earn a spot in the $2 million 2009 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® and TBF (The Bass Federation) for bass fishing’s biggest prize – $1 million.
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.
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.
FLW Outdoors historically maintains a 98 percent live release rate in all of its bass tournaments.
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, call (270) 252-1000. For more information about FLW Fantasy Fishing and Player’s Advantage, visit FantasyFishing.com.