PITTSBURGH – Greg Hackney of Gonzales, La., caught a five-bass limit weighing 11 pounds, 12 ounces Friday to capture the lead after weighing only 3 pounds, 1 ounce the first day of competition in the $2 million 2009 Forrest Wood Cup presented by BP and Castrol – the World Championship of Bass Fishing – with a two-day catch of eight bass weighing 14-13. He now holds a 5-ounce lead in the tournament featuring the best pros and co-anglers in the world. The Forrest Wood Cup is the richest bass fishing tournament in the world and features a $1 million first-place cash award.
“I started off this morning catching a lot of short (fish) and then once things got going right, I stopped catching shorts and started catching big fish,” said the Bassmaster Elite pro. “By the time I got my limit, I had only caught one more short.”
Hackney said he caught seven or eight keepers during the course of the day on three different baits. Hackney didn’t reveal the baits, but said he employed them all in his pattern. Hackney said he was fishing a pattern on the Allegheny River and not a particular spot.
“You never know with (the river),” Hackney said. “It changes every day. It’s getting higher and it rained a bunch today. And that’s going to have some effect on today and tomorrow.”
Hackney said the heavy rains Friday helped position his fish and was key to his success. Hackney said his sack included a 3-pounder and a 3 3/4-pounder among his five smallmouth.
Team Kellogg’s pro Dave Lefebre of Union City, Pa., advanced to the final round of 10 pros in the No. 2 spot with a two-day total of 10 bass weighing 14-8.
Thursday Lefebre said he targeted rocks that were holding fish in two spots that were 50 yards apart in one area. The spots required precise casts to provoke strikes. However, Lefebre didn’t return to the area on the second day of competition.
“I left them alone today,” Lefebre said. “I fished around it. I was within 20 feet of them and catching stragglers that were hanging around the edges.
“I haven’t switched baits at all,” Lefebre added. “Tomorrow and the next day there’s going to be a few more surprises for them, hopefully.”
Lefebre said he spent three 17-hour days of practice in the same pool and has more places saved to fish.
“It’s going to come down to one bite,” Lefebre said. “Not one bite each day, but one bite. It’s going to come down to one bite to win the tournament.”
Rounding out the top five pros who will continue competition Saturday and Sunday are Team Folgers pro Scott Suggs of Bryant, Ark. (eight bass, 14-0); Cody Meyer of Redding, Ca. (10 bass, 13-10); and David Curtis of Trinity, Texas (10 bass, 13-8).
Also clearing the top-10 cut weight of 11 pounds, 7 ounces and adding to this already power-packed top-10 field are Bryan Thrift of Shelby, N.C.; Team Chevy pro Larry Nixon of Bee Branch, Ark.; former Bassmaster Classic winner Michael Iaconelli of Runnemede, N.J.; Team BP pro David Walker of Sevierville, Tenn.; and Rusty Salewske of Alpine, Ca.
Lynn Baciuska Jr. of Afton, N.Y., leads the Co-angler Division with an opening-round total of six bass weighing 10 pounds, 6 ounces, followed by Tommie Goldston of Gardnerville, Nev., in second place with six bass weighing 8-10.
“We went east up the Allegheny about three locks and starting fishing about 9:30 and within the first five minutes I caught my first fish of the morning,” Baciuska said. “For the next hour, I caught one every five or 10 minutes. I ended up having a bit of slow time in the middle of the day and at the end of the day I caught a couple more for a total of seven keepers. The water clarity cleared up a lot and it really helped my bite.”
Baciuska said he targeted wood and rock in shallow water with soft plastics.
Rounding out the top five co-anglers are Ron Fabiszak of South Bend, Ind. (six bass, 8-4); Greg Schultz of Wayzata, Minn. (seven bass, 7-10) and Teddy Bradley of Mishawaka, Ind. (five bass, 7-2).
Also clearing the top-10 cut weight of 5 pounds, 10 ounces in the Co-angler Division are David Lauer of South Bend, Ind.; Kevin Hawk of Ramona, Ca.; Brad Roberts of Nancy, Ky.; Michi Oba of Tokyo, Japan; and Blaine Bucy of Wellsburg, W.V.
Co-anglers are fishing for a top award of $50,000 this week.
Anglers will take off at 7 a.m. Saturday and Sunday from Steelers Quay, North Shore Riverfront Park located at Art Rooney Drive across from the South Plaza of Heinz Field in Pittsburgh. 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 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.
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 Forrest Wood Cup, hosted by VisitPittsburgh and sponsored locally by Range Resources and Verizon Wireless, 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 Aug. 30 and 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, browse FLWOutdoors.com or call (270) 252-1000. For more information about FLW Fantasy Fishing and Player’s Advantage, visit FantasyFishing.com.