HENDERSON, N.C. (Sept. 18, 2008) – Pro Michael Iaconelli of Runnemede, N.J., caught a five-bass limit weighing 14 pounds, 11 ounces Thursday to capture the lead in the Stren Series Northern Division tournament on Kerr Lake. With a two-day catch of 10 bass weighing 26-07, he now holds an 3-pound, 14-ounce lead over second place pro Dustin Wilks of Rocky Point N.C., who managed to haul in a total of nine bass weighing 22-09 during the first two days of competition.
“I only had one day of practice before the tournament,” said Iaconelli, who is currently the point’s leader in the Stren Series Northern Division. “What I am doing is building upon what I learned the day before. I am using the competition days almost as practice.”
Iaconelli said that the key to his success today was managing to cover a lot of water. He said that each day he is learning more and more about the patterns of the fish.
“It’s not a true fall pattern yet,” Iaconelli said. “With water temperatures reaching in the 80s the fish are still in a summer time pattern.
“I believe that 75 percent of the fish are 40 to 60 feet deep and that makes them hard to catch.”
Iaconelli had nine keeper bites yesterday and eight keeper bites today. “My bites are coming at an average of one keeper bite per hour. It `s mentally challenging because you never know when that bite is going to come,” Iaconelli said. “I need every minute I can get on the lake to catch my limit.”
Rounding out the top five pros are Matt Greenblatt of Palm Beach Gardens, Fla. (10 bass, 22-07); John Voyles of Petersburg, Ind. (10 bass, 22-07); and Kurt Dove of Fairfax, Va. (nine bass, 21-02).
Iaconelli added that going into the tournament he figured he would need 10 pounds a day to make the final day cut. His goal for tomorrow is another 14-pound bag to put a gap on his lead and hopefully have a shot to win.
Iaconelli earned $172 for the Snickers Big Bass award in the Pro Division thanks to a 4-pound, 7-ounce bass.
Overall there were 238 bass weighing 489 pounds, 13 ounces caught by 96 pros Thursday. The catch included 17 five-bass limits.
Pros are competing for as much as $65,000, including a 198VX Ranger powered by Evinrude or Yamaha if contingency guidelines are met, and valuable points toward qualifying for the $1 million Stren Series Championship in Branson, Mo., Nov. 5-8 for a shot at $140,000. After four qualifying events are complete in each of the circuit’s five divisions, the top 40 pros from each division will advance to the championship. 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.
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Moo Bae of West Friendship, Md., leads the Co-angler Division in the chase for a top award of $35,000, including a 198VX Ranger if contingency guidelines are met. He caught five bass weighing 9-15 while fishing with pro Trevor Knight of Magnolia, Del., Wednesday and two bass weighing 8-12 while fishing with pro Bill Duckardt of Pittsgrove, N.J., Thursday for a total of seven bass weighing 18-11.
“The fishing is tough this time of year,” said Bae, who has eight top-10 finishes in FLW Outdoors competition. “I only had two fish today and I am very thankful that one of them was 5-12.
“Tomorrow is another day and I hope that I can continue to catch a few quality fish.”
Rounding out the top five co-anglers are Adam Straub of Pittsburgh, Pa. (eight bass, 17-08); Jerry Hayden of Charlotte, N.C. (nine bass, 17-00); Billy Carroll of Fayetteville, N.C. (six bass, 16-03); and James Richardson Sr. of Harrison, Ohio (eight bass, 15-01).
Bae earned $101 for the Snickers Big Bass award in the Co-angler Division thanks to a 5-pound, 12-ounce bass
Overall there were 150 bass weighing 299 pounds, 10 ounces caught by 96 co-anglers Thursday. The catch included five five-bass limits.
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 2009 Forrest Wood Cup.
Anglers will take off at 7 each morning from Satterwhite Point Recreation Area located at 6470 Satterwhite Point Road in Henderson. Friday’s weigh-in will be held at the marina beginning at 3 p.m. Saturday’s weigh-in will be held at the Wal-Mart store located at 200 N. Cooper Road in Henderson, beginning at 4 p.m. Takeoffs and weigh-ins are free and open to the public.
Stren Series tournaments are four-day events consisting of two rounds. The entire field competes Wednesday, Thursday and Friday. At the conclusion of Friday’s weigh-in, the field is cut to the top 10 pros and co-anglers based on the heaviest three-day accumulated weights. These anglers continue competition Saturday, with the winners determined by the heaviest accumulated weight from all four days.
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. 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.