DETROIT – David McCrone of Minnetonka, Minn., caught a five-bass limit weighing 20 pounds, 15 ounces Friday to capture the lead in the Wal-Mart FLW Tour’s $1.5 million Chevy Open on the Detroit River with a two-day catch of 10 bass weighing 42-05. He now holds a 1-pound, 2-ounce lead in the tournament featuring 200 pros and 200 co-anglers representing 35 states, Mexico, Australia and Japan.
McCrone said he repeated his Day 1 strategy and made a long run of about 60 miles to Lake Erie in search of a limit of huge smallies to secure his spot in the top 10.
“The water was quite rough today,” said McCrone, who is fishing in only his second FLW Tour event. “It was nothing like yesterday. I ran a total of about five hours.
“The spots where I ran to, well, there’s all kinds of big fish,” McCrone added. “But tomorrow’s going to be a problem if it’s rougher. I don’t know if I’ll be able to do it because it will leave me with a minimum amount of time to fish.”
McCrone admits he has put all his eggs in one basket – Lake Erie. McCrone said he has never fished Lake St. Clair, which many anglers are relying on for their big limits.
“I don’t have any closer spots I can go to,” McCrone said. “Nothing like (Lake Erie). Tomorrow might be tough.”
Team Kellogg’s pro Alvin Shaw of State Road, N.C., advanced to the final round of 10 pros in the No. 2 spot with a two-day total of 10 bass weighing 41-03. Shaw has relied on Lake St. Clair to carry him the first two days of competition.
“I spent all four days of practice there to ensure myself of an easy run to the Forrest Wood Cup,” Shaw said. “The more I practiced, the better it kept getting.”
Shaw targeted small isolated clumps of grass, rocks and sand in 12 to 16 feet of water he located on his electronics while the surface of the water was smooth.
“Everybody else was fishing and I was running from point to point just looking,” Shaw said. “When you have all of that wave action, you can’t tell what’s going on on your electronics.”
The majority of the field that crossed the stage Friday admitted their fish came on a Berkley Gulp! Goby or Leech fished on drop-shot rigs.
Rounding out the top five pros who will continue competition Saturday and Sunday are Team Chevy pro Kim Stricker of Howell, Mich. (10 bass, 40-02); David Reault of Livonia, Mich. (10 bass, 39-02); and Team Pringles pro Vic Vatalaro of Kent, Ohio (10 bass, 38-10).
Also clearing the top-10 cut weight of 37 pounds, 3 ounces and adding to this already power-packed top-10 field are Team Duracell pro Michael Bennett of Lincoln, Calif.; Team BP pro J.T. Kenney of Port Charlotte, Fla.; Keith Monson of Burgin, Ky.; Mark Modrak of China Township, Mich.; and Keith Combs of Del Rio, Texas.
Danny Pierce of Greenbrier, Ark., earned the day’s $1,000 Snickers Big Bass award in the Pro Division thanks to a 5-pound, 15-ounce bass. He also won an extra $1,000 for having the biggest bass of the tournament.
Overall there were 827 bass weighing 2,484 pounds, 7 ounces caught by 184 pros Friday. The catch included 138 five-bass limits.
Pros are competing for a top award of $200,000 this week plus valuable points in the hope of qualifying for the $2 million Forrest Wood Cup presented by Castrol in Columbia, S.C., Aug. 14-17, 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.
Tournament pros aren’t the only ones winning big this season. With the introduction of FLW Fantasy Fishing, which offers $7.3 million in cash and prizes, FLW Outdoors presents anyone with the opportunity to land the catch of a lifetime. Players in the lucrative new fantasy sports league can become virtual pros by signing up for Player’s Advantage, which provides 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 receive a complimentary $15 Wal-Mart gift card.
Jerry Weisinger of Wyandotte, Okla., leads the Co-angler Division with an opening-round total of 10 bass weighing 40 pounds, 12 ounces, followed by Mike Weidman of Burton, Mich., in second place with 10 bass weighing 35-3.
“We were fishing St. Clair, and every spot we went to I caught a pretty good one,” said Weisinger, who is fishing in his first season of FLW Tour competition. “I had most of what I weighed in today by 10:30.
“I’m just glad to get my shot at a top-10 finish,” Weisinger added. “Now, whatever’s going to happen is going to happen.”
Rounding out the top five co-anglers are Scott Gibson of Biloxi, Miss. (10 bass, 33-14); Team Wal-Mart co-angler Hector Delagarza of Garland, Texas (10 bass, 33-00) and Mark Frickman of Grand Ledge, Mich. (10 bass, 32-11).
Also clearing the top-10 cut weight of 32 pounds, 00 ounces in the Co-angler Division are Team National Guard co-angler Diane Delagarza of Garland, Texas; J.B. Young of Deer Park, Texas; Andrew Lemle of Perrysburg, Ohio; Ron Fabiszak of South Bend, Ind.; and Todd Robbins of Romulus, Mich.
Hector Delagarza earned $500 for the day’s Snickers Big Bass award in the Co-angler Division thanks to a 6-pound, 4-ounce bass he caught while fishing with pro Rick Marsh of High Point, N.C.
Overall there were 705 bass weighing 1,962 pounds, 1 ounce caught by 184 co-anglers Friday. The catch included 89 five-bass limits.
Co-anglers are fishing for a top award of $40,000 this week.
Anglers will take off at 6:30 a.m. Saturday and Sunday from Elizabeth Park Marina located at 202 Grosse Ile Parkway in Trenton, Mich. Saturday and Sunday’s weigh-ins will be held at the Cobo Center located atOne Washington Blvd. in Detroit, beginning at 4 p.m.
Prior to the weigh-ins, FLW Outdoors will host a free Family Fun Zone and outdoor show at the Cobo Center 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. Children 14 and under visiting the Family Fun Zone Sunday will also receive a free rod and reel combo while supplies last, and one lucky member of the audience will win a new Ranger boat during the final 4 p.m. weigh-in on Sunday. Admission is free and you 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 Chevy Open will be broadcast to 81 million FSN (Fox Sports Net) subscribers in the United States on Aug. 31 and Sept. 7 as part of the “FLW Outdoors” television program. “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 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.