PITTSBURGH – Seventy-seven of the world’s top pros have qualified for FLW Outdoors’ $2 million Forrest Wood Cup and are set to converge on the Three Rivers in Pittsburgh, Pa., July 30-Aug. 2 for their shot at the $1 million cash prize. The Forrest Wood Cup, presented by BP and Castrol, is the richest bass-fishing tournament in the world, and Team Kellogg’s pro Dave Lefebre of Union City, Pa., is counting down the days until he can start competition on what he calls his home water.
“I was in a lot of tournaments there when I was growing up,” said Lefebre, who has won more than $1 million in FLW Outdoors events. “I like the tougher tournaments – the ones where it’s not always a slam-fest. I like the fisheries where it’s harder to get a limit.
“There are a lot of obscure things I like to fish,” Lefebre added. “I’m just excited to go look at the old holes and feel out what’s going on … just having an understanding of how those fish work is what excites me.”
Lefebre said the quality of fishing on the Three Rivers fluctuates, but he expects the overall catch to be better than the 2005 Bassmaster Classic in Pittsburgh.
“It’s definitely going to be better than that,” Lefebre said. “It’s up and down from one year to the next. It depends on the flooding and the snow and that stuff. That was just an off year. It will definitely be leaps and bounds better than what we saw there.
“I think it will take 8 1/2 to 10 pounds total for two days just to make the top-10 cut, and 14 to 15 pounds total over the last two days to win,” Lefebre added.
Lefebre said all three Pittsburgh-area rivers – the Allegheny, Monongahela and Ohio – all contain quality fish and that winning fish could come from any of the three rivers. Lefebre also said that anglers will rely on a variety of baits to catch their limits.
“Ninety percent of the fish weighed in will be smallmouth, maybe nine percent will be spotted bass and the rest will be largemouth,” Lefebre said. “That being said, topwater, crankbaits, spinnerbaits and a real small shaky-head worm will be productive.”
The Forrest Wood Cup presented by BP and Castrol includes 154 pro and co-anglers who have qualified – the top 40 pros and co-anglers from the Walmart FLW Tour, the top 30 pros and co-anglers from the 2008 Walmart FLW Series BP Eastern and National Guard Western Divisions, the top five pros and co-anglers from the 2008 Stren Series divisions (Central, Northeast, Southeast, Texas and Western), the 2009 BFL All-American champion, who competes with more than 34,000 anglers to win their spot, and the 2009 The Bass Federation National Championship presented by the National Guard champion, who competes with more than 20,000 anglers to win their spot.
“The Forrest Wood Cup is the most important event, most competitive event and most difficult-to-qualify-for event in our sport,” said FLW Outdoors President and CEO Charlie Evans. “Forrest Wood Cup competitors are world-class athletes with skills that are second to none. These are the best men and women in the sport, and the best of the best will win as much as $1 million in Pittsburgh on Aug. 2.”
Some of the anglers qualified for the Forrest Wood Cup presented by BP and Castrol are the 2008 Champion and $1 million winner Team Febreeze pro Michael Bennett of Lincoln, Calif., Pringles Rookie of the Year and Team Berkley pro Stetson Blaylock of Benton, Ark., 1997 Bassmaster Classic and 2000 Forrest Wood Cup winner and Team Chevy pro Dion Hibdon of Stover, Mo., 2003 Bassmaster Classic winner Michael Iaconelli of Runnemede, N.J., legendary Team Chevy pro Larry “The General” Nixon of Bee Branch, Ark., 2004 Bassmaster Classic winner Takahiro Omori of Emory, Texas, 2007 Forrest Wood Cup winner, bass fishing’s first instant millionaire and Team Folgers pro Scott Suggs of Bryant, Ark., and 2009 Land O’Lakes Angler of the Year and Team Kellogg’s pro Clark Wendlandt of Leander, Texas. To view the full field of 2009 Forrest Wood Cup competitors, visit www.forrestwoodcup.com
Anglers will take off at 7 a.m. each day from Steelers Quay, North Shore Riverfront Park located at Art Rooney Drive across from the South Plaza of Heinz Field in Pittsburgh. Daily weigh-ins will be held at Mellon Arena at 66 Mario Lemieux Pl. in Pittsburgh beginning at 5 p.m.
In conjunction with the weigh-ins, FLW Outdoors will host a free Family Fun Zone and outdoor show at the David L. Lawrence Convention Center located at 1000 Ft. Duquesne Blvd. in Pittsburgh. The Family Fun Zone will be open from 2 to 7 p.m. Thursday and Friday, 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. on Saturday and 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Sunday. 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 while supplies last. One lucky member of the audience will even win a new special edition Three Rivers Ranger Z20boat powered by Evinrude during the final 5 p.m. weigh-in Sunday, Aug. 2, courtesy of Froggy Radio. Admission is free, and you must be present to win.
The total purse for the Pittsburgh Forrest Wood Cup presented by BP and Castrol is $2 million, including $10,000 through 40th place in the Pro Division.
Coverage of the Forrest Wood Cup presented by BP and Castrol, hosted by VisitPittsburgh, will be broadcast in high-definition (HD) 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 Nov. 8 from 12:30 p.m. to 1:30 p.m. 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.
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 to get your edge and win.
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.