Ultimate Bass

Defoe Leads on Lake Eufaula

FLW OutdoorsEUFAULA, Ala. (April 1, 2009) – When the sun came out from behind clouds Wednesday afternoon, anglers fishing the Walmart FLW Series

FLW OutdoorsEUFAULA, Ala. (April 1, 2009) – When the sun came out from behind clouds Wednesday afternoon, anglers fishing the Walmart FLW Series® BP Eastern Division tournament on Lake Eufaula in Eufaula, Ala., thought it must have been an April Fools’ Day prank. However, the rains that had been hitting the area for days did let up during the afternoon hours, and the 300 anglers fishing the tournament managed to cross a dry weigh-in stage.

At the end of the day, Team Land O’Lakes pro Ott Defoe of Knoxville, Tenn., weighed in five bass weighing 22 pounds, 2 ounces to lead Day 1. He now holds a 1-pound, 3-ounce lead in the tournament featuring 150 pros and 150 co-anglers representing 25 states and Japan.

“The fish I caught are spawning, or will be spawning, whatever the case may be,” said Defoe, who has earned more than $266,000 in FLW Outdoors competition. “You’re liable to get bit on one section today, one section tomorrow and that section over there the next day. It’s just whichever fish are feeding whenever you’re in there.

“There are times during the day when a spawning fish is more active,” Defoe added. “For whatever reason, this fish over here will be mad at this point in time — maybe a bluegill has come in there and got it stirred up — and if you happen to get your bait in there at that point in time, that one is already agitated.”

While Defoe wouldn’t reveal specific spots or baits he fished, he said he boated eight or nine keepers during the course of the day and stayed in shallow water to catch his limit. Defoe said he had four different areas he fished Wednesday and boat traffic was not a problem.

“When I got bit in a good area, it would be three bites, but most areas I got bit would be two bites,” Defoe said. “Then you would go on to the next place and get two more bites.

“It’s really just spread-out stuff,” Defoe added. “It’s not pulling up and fishing a 10-foot section of bank and going. It’s fishing around the whole cove or creek or whatever.”

Scott Jenkins of Franklin, Ga., trails Defoe in the No. 2 spot with five bass weighing 20-15.

Rounding out the top five pros are Sean Hoernke of The Woodlands, Texas (five bass, 20-14); Team Iams pro Koby Kreiger of Okeechobee, Fla. (five bass, 19-9) and Team BP pro Guido Hibdon of Sunrise Beach, Mo. (five bass, 19-3).

Thanh Le of Lake Havasu City, Ariz., and Tommy Martin of Hemphill, Texas, split the day’s $500 Big Bass award in the Pro Division thanks to a pair of 7-pound, 5-ounce bass.

Overall there were 526 bass weighing 1,526 pounds, 14 ounces caught by 136 pros Wednesday. The catch included 68 five-bass limits.

Pros are competing this week for a top award of $125,000 plus valuable points in the hope of qualifying for a shot at the $2.5 million, 2010 Forrest Wood Cup, where the winning pro will earn as much as $1 million – the sport’s biggest award.

Derrick Snavely of Rogersville, Tenn., leads the Co-angler Division with five bass weighing 26-0 followed by Chuck Thurlow of Auburn, Ala., in second place with five bass weighing 22-3.

“I had five fish in the first hour and a half,” said Snavely, who is fishing in his second year of FLW Series competition. “We pulled up on a stretch and I caught three just bang-bang-bang, then Guido (Hibdon) caught one, then I caught my 9-pounder.

“It was really surreal,” Snavely added. “It’s the most weight I’ve ever had in a tournament. It was an awesome day. Guido’s great to fish with … I mean, he’s a legend. We connected out there.”

Snavely said he caught the majority of his bass “fishing slowly” while fishing with Hibdon.

Rounding out the top five co-anglers are Tim Peek of Sharpsburg, Ga. (five bass, 16-11); Rayfield Reeves of Tamarac, Fla. (four bass, 15-13) and Steve Harwood of Weaverville, N.C. (three bass, 15-9).

Snavely earned $333 for the Big Bass award in the Co-angler Division thanks to a 9-pound, 8-ounce bass he caught on a crankbait.

Overall there were 254 bass weighing 683 pounds, 11 ounces caught by 109 co-anglers Wednesday. The catch included 12 five-bass limits.

Co-anglers are competing this week for a top award of $25,000 as well as a shot at the 2010 Forrest Wood Cup.

Anglers will take off at 7 each morning from Lakepoint Resort State Park located at 104 Lakepoint Drive in Eufaula. Thursday and Friday’s weigh-in will be held at the marina beginning at 3 p.m. Saturday’s weigh-in will be held at the Walmart store located at 1252 S. Eufaula Ave. in Eufaula beginning at 4 p.m. Children will also be treated to a Family Fun Zone prior to Saturday’s weigh-in from noon to 4 p.m. at Walmart. All activities are free and open to the public.

In FLW Series 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 total purse for the Lake Eufaula tournament is nearly $900,000, including $10,000 through 50th place in the Pro Division.

Coverage of the Lake Eufaula tournament, hosted by the Eufaula Barbour County Chamber of Commerce, 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 May 10 from 11 a.m. to noon 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.

Total awards are based on a full field of 150 boats in every tournament.

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, visit FLWOutdoors.com or call (270) 252-1000. For more information about FLW Fantasy Fishing and Player’s Advantage, visit FantasyFishing.com.

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