BRANSON, Mo. – BP pro David Walker of Sevierville, Tenn., caught a five-bass limit weighing 13 pounds, 12 ounces Friday to retain the lead in the Walmart FLW Tour on Table Rock Lake with a two-day catch of 10 bass weighing 40-7. He now holds a 1-pound, 5-ounce lead in the tournament featuring more than 150 pros and 150 co-anglers from across the United States, Mexico, Canada and Japan.
“I think that I have as good of chance that I ever had to win this tournament,” said Walker, who finished sixth at the season-opener of the FLW Tour on Lake Guntersville. “If the fish just aren’t as big as they were the last two days, I can’t change that. I plan on catching as many as I can and sticking with what I have been doing the past two days.”
Walker said that nothing really changed from yesterday to today other than the size of fish. “I am still catching them two different ways with two different baits,” he said. “I know where the fish are and if they aren’t biting one I throw the other.”
He explained that the fish he is catching are prespawn. There are spawning areas near by and what he is looking for in an area is a transition where they were in the winter to where they will be going in the next few weeks.
“I am catching as many as I can. I am not saving fish,” he said. “I really feel like I have enough fish in my key area. There are still areas that I fished in practice that I haven’t been back to yet. I am waiting for the right situation. I could have fished those areas yesterday but the spot I was on was working so good I didn’t want to leave.
“Today, I fished a little more conservative. I knew where I could catch fish and get a lot of bites. Maybe they weren’t as big but they were bites and that’s what I wanted.”
Walker has seen other pros that are in the top-10 around his area so he thinks that he is doing the right thing. “Now, the problem is I have to beat someone who is actually doing the right thing and doing it well,” he said.
Febreeze pro Michael Bennett of Lincoln, Calif., advanced to the final round of 10 pros in the No. 2 spot with a two-day total of 10 bass weighing 39-2.
Rounding out the top five pros who will continue competition Saturday and Sunday are Folgers pro Scott Suggs of Bryant, Ark. (10 bass, 35-6); Chad Morgenthaler of Coulterville, Ill. (10 bass, 34-10); and BP pro Shinichi Fukae of Mineola, Texas (10 bass, 34-4).
Also clearing the top-10 cut weight of 32 pounds, 14 ounces and adding to this already power-packed top-10 field are National Guard pro Brent Ehrler of Redlands, Calif.; Dan Morehead of Paducah, Ky.; Chevy pro Anthony Gagliardi of Prosperity, S.C.; Pop Tarts pro Greg Bohannan of Rogers, Ark.; and Scott Canterbury of Springville, Ala.
Pete Gluszek of Mt. Laurel, N.J., earned the day’s $750 Folgers Big Bass award in the Pro Division thanks to a 7-pound, 14-ounce bass.
Overall there were 478 bass weighing 1,323 pounds, 11 ounces caught by 141 pros Friday. The catch included 53 five-bass limits.
Pros are competing for a top award of $125,000 this week plus valuable points in the hope of qualifying for $2 million Forrest Wood Cup presented by Castrol and BP, which will be held July 30-Aug. 2 on the Three Rivers in Pittsburgh, Pa., where they could win as much as $1 million – the sport’s biggest award.
James Watson of Waynesville, Mo., leads the Co-angler Division with an opening-round total of nine bass weighing 23 pounds, 3 ounces, followed by Alex Posey of Roswell, Ga., in second place with eight bass weighing 23-1.
“Table Rock Lake is my home lake,” said Watson, who finished sixth in the 2008 Stren Series Championship on Table Rock Lake. “I would love to win in front of all my buddies. I don’t care about the money I just want to do well tomorrow.”
Watson’s key baits this week have been a Wiggle Wart, Lucky Strike Twin Tail Grabber and a jerkbait.
“Knowing the water helps a lot,” he said. “In the last two days there wasn’t one stretch of water that I hadn’t fished before. I had an idea of how to fish all of the areas that my pros took me too.”
Rounding out the top five co-anglers are Zac Cassill of Fairfax, Iowa (six bass, 20-9); Teddy Bradley of Mishawaka, Ind. (seven bass, 19-7) and Dearal Rodgers of Camden, S.C. (six bass, 18-13).
Also clearing the top-10 cut weight of 16 pounds, 4 ounces in the Co-angler Division are Frank Divis Sr. of Fayetteville, Ark.; Patrick Majors of Rogers, Ark.; Brandon Hunter of Benton, Ky.; Fred Martin of North Little Rock, Ark.; and David Lauer of South Bend, Ind.
Majors earned $500 for the day’s Folgers Big Bass award in the Co-angler Division thanks to a 5-pound, 4-ounce bass.
Overall there were 135 bass weighing 356 pounds, 1 ounce caught by 79 co-anglers Friday. The catch included two five-bass limits.
Co-anglers are fishing for a top award of $25,000 this week.
Anglers will take off at 7 a.m. each day from Table Rock State Park Marina located at 380 State Park Marina Rd. in Branson. Saturday and Sunday’s weigh-ins will be held at the Branson Convention Center located at 200 W. Main St in Branson, beginning at 4 p.m.
Another event taking place in Branson is The Bass Federation National Championship presented by the National Guard, March 12-14, on Bull Shoals Lake where the best of the nation’s TBF club anglers will complete for berths into two of the sport’s most coveted events – the $2 million Forrest Wood Cup and the $1 million BFL All-American presented by Chevy.
K Dock Marina located at 295 Highway K Marina Drive in Kirbyville, Mo., will host takeoff Saturday at 7 a.m. and Saturday’s weigh-in will begin at 3 p.m. at the Branson Convention Center.
In conjunction with the weigh-ins Saturday and Sunday, FLW Outdoors will host a free Family Fun Zone and outdoor show at the Branson Convention Center each day at noon. The Family Fun Zone offers fans a chance to meet their Fantasy Fishing team anglers face-to-face and review the latest products from Berkley, Lowrance, Ranger, Evinrude, Yamaha and other sponsors while children are treated to giveaways, fishing themed games and rides like the Ranger Boat simulator. Children 14 and under visiting the Family Fun Zone on Sunday will receive a free rod and reel combo courtesy of US 97 FM while supplies last. One lucky member of the audience will even win a new Ranger boat courtesy of the Springfield News-Leader that will be given away during the final 4 p.m. weigh-in Sunday, March 15. Admission is free, and you must be present to win.
On Saturday, March 14, musical group and local favorite DoGtag will perform between the TBF Championship weigh-in and the FLW Tour weigh-in at the Branson Convention Center. Legendary artist Moe Bandy will perform prior to the weigh-in on Sunday starting at approximately 3:15 p.m.
In a partnership with Goodwill, FLW Outdoors invites you to drop off your clean, gently-used clothing and household materials at the Branson Convention Center, March 14 and 15 starting at noon. In return, the first 500 to donate will receive a free BP die-cast boat, while supplies last. Donations will be sold at local Goodwill stores to help people with disabilities and other disadvantages receive job training and other important services.
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 in the two-day opening round for one of 10 slots in Saturday’s competition based on their two-day accumulated weight. Weights are cleared for day three, and co-angler competition concludes following Saturday’s weigh-in. The top 10 pros continue competition Sunday, with the winner determined by the heaviest accumulated weight from days three and four.
Coverage of the tournament, hosted by the Branson/Lakes Area Convention & Visitors Bureau, will be broadcast on VERSUS, the network which brings anglers the best fishing programming on television featuring the most-trusted authorities on the water. The Emmy-nominated “FLW Outdoors,” will air April 19 from 12:30 to 1:30 ET. “FLW Outdoors,” hosted by Jason Harper, is broadcast to approximately 500 million households worldwide, including internationally through agreements with WFN (World Fishing Network) and Matchroom Sport to such countries as Canada, 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.
The FLW Tour will award more than $8 million in cash to the world’s top bass anglers in 2009. Regular season competition includes three qualifiers and three opens. Each event takes anglers a step closer to the $2 million Forrest Wood Cup presented by BP and Castrol, which will be held July 30-Aug. 2 on the Three Rivers in Pittsburgh, Pa. The prestigious championship and outdoor show hosted by VisitPittsburgh will feature 77 pros, 77 co-anglers and bass fishing’s largest cash award – a potential $1 million first-place prize for the winning pro.
FLW Outdoors, named after Forrest L. Wood, the legendary founder of Ranger Boats, is the largest fishing tournament organization in the world. FLW Outdoors also is taking fishing mainstream with FLW Fantasy Fishing, offering the largest awards possible in the history of fantasy sports, $10 million in cash and prizes. Sign up for Player’s Advantage for only $10 to get your edge and win.
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.