Fukae leads FLW Series

Fukae leads FLW Series on Lake Dardanelle

RUSSELLVILLE, Ark. (May 10, 2007) – Team BP pro Shinichi Fukae of Mineola, Texas, caught a five-bass limit weighing 16 pounds, 3 ounces Thursday to capture the lead in the $1 million Wal-Mart FLW Series BP Eastern Division tournament on Lake Dardanelle with a two-day catch of 10 bass weighing 35-2.


“I’m not very confident right now,” said Fukae, who said he caught only 14 keepers in four days of practice. “I am happy, though. I thought I would have zero pounds after the first day.”


Fukae said he started the day finesse fishing, but changed tactics and searched for more productive grassy areas to catch his limit.


Fukae now holds a 1-pound, 6-ounce lead over second place pro Al Fisher of Hackett, Ark., who managed to haul in a total of 10 bass weighing 33-12 during the first two days of competition.


Fisher stayed with the pattern he used on the first day of competition, where he finished in second place.


“I threw the Norman Lures crankbait on offshore structure again,” Fisher said. “I’m hoping tomorrow will be sunny so I can catch them again.”


Rounding out the top five pros are Team Chevy pro Larry Nixon of Bee Branch, Ark. (10 bass, 33-3); Team BP pro David Walker of Sevierville, Tenn. (10 bass, 31-14) and David Lawson of Richmond, Ky. (10 bass, 31-12).


Team Pepcid pro Jason Knapp of Uniontown, Penn., earned the day’s $488 Snickers Big Bass award in the Pro Division thanks to a 6-pound, 6-ounce bass he caught.


Team National Guard pro Scott Martin of Clewiston, Fla., the leader after the first day of competition, fell to 71st place with 21 pounds, 1 ounce after he failed to weigh a fish on the second day.


Overall there were 671 bass weighing 1,702 pounds, 13 ounces caught by pros Thursday. The catch included 78 five-bass limits.


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Pros are competing this week for a top award of $125,000 plus valuable points in the hope of qualifying for the BP East-National Guard West Fishoff and a shot at advancing to the $2 million, 2008 Forrest Wood Cup, where the winning pro will earn as much as $1 million ” the sport’s biggest award. The top 30 pros from both FLW Series divisions after four qualifying events are complete will advance to the East-West Fishoff, which will be held Jan. 17-19, 2008. The location for the fishoff has not yet been announced. Thirty winners from the fishoff will advance to the 2008 Forrest Wood Cup.


Bob Bjorklund of Centennial, Colo., leads the Co-angler Division with a two-day total of 10 bass weighing 26-15 followed by Terry Chapman of Stanley, N.C., in second place with 10 bass weighing 26-12.


“The day started out very slow for me,” Chapman said. “I’ve been fishing a jig the whole time, but the jig bite wasn’t happening. So I changed to a large shaky-head worm and ended up culling a couple of fish.”


Rounding out the top five co-anglers are Spencer Shuffield of Bismarck, Ark. (10 bass, 25-15); Bud Strader of Rockwood, Tenn. (nine bass, 24-8) and Mike Jones of Lebanon, Mo. (nine bass, 24-2).


Jess Carabello of Danbury, Conn., and Les Miller of Morrilton, Ark., each earned $147.50 for the Snickers Big Bass award in the Co-angler Division thanks to a pair of 4-pound, 14-ounce bass they caught.


Overall there were 364 bass weighing 856 pounds, 1 ounce caught by co-anglers Thursday. The catch included 12 five-bass limits.


Co-anglers are competing this week for a top award of $25,000. Like the pros, the top 30 co-anglers from both FLW Series divisions after four qualifying events are complete will advance to the East-West Fishoff for a shot at the $2 million, 2008 Forrest Wood Cup.


Anglers will take off at 6:30 each morning from Lake Dardanelle State Park located at 100 State Park Dr. in Russellville. Friday’s weigh-in will be held at Lake Dardanelle State Park beginning at 3 p.m. Saturday’s weigh-in will be held at the Wal-Mart store located at 2409 E. Main St. in Russellville, 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 Wal-Mart. Activities in the Family Fun Zone include the Fujifilm trout pond, a Ranger boat simulator and assorted fishing-themed games. All activities are free and open to the public.


In FLW Series competition, the entire field competes for the first three days, and co-angler competition concludes on day three with the winner determined by the heaviest accumulated three-day weight. The top 10 professionals continue competition on day four, and the winner is 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.


Coverage of the Lake Dardanelle FLW Series tournament will be broadcast to 81 million FSN (Fox Sports Net) subscribers in the United States as part of the “FLW Outdoors” television program airing July 15. “FLW Outdoors” airs Sunday mornings at 11 Eastern time. “FLW Outdoors” is also broadcast internationally to approximately 350 million households in Europe, Africa and Asia, making it the most widely distributed weekly fishing program in the world. Additionally, FLW Outdoors is proud to provide tournament coverage to more than 800,000 servicemembers stationed around the world in 177 countries and aboard Navy ships through broadcasts on the American Forces Network.


Named after the legendary founder of Ranger Boats, Forrest L. Wood, FLW Outdoors administers the Wal-Mart FLW Tour, Wal-Mart FLW Series, Stren Series, Wal-Mart Bass Fishing League, Wal-Mart Texas Tournament Trail presented by Abu Garcia, Ranger Owners Tournament Championship Series, Wal-Mart FLW Walleye Tour, Wal-Mart FLW Walleye League, Wal-Mart FLW Kingfish Tour, Wal-Mart FLW Kingfish Series, Wal-Mart FLW Redfish Series and Wal-Mart FLW Striper Series. These circuits offer combined purses of nearly $43 million through 241 events in 2007.


Wal-Mart and many of America’s largest and most-respected companies support FLW Outdoors and its tournament trails. Wal-Mart signed on as an FLW Outdoors sponsor in 1997 and today is the world’s leading supporter of tournament fishing. For more information about Wal-Mart, visit Walmart.com.


For more information about FLW Outdoors and its tournaments, visit FLWOutdoors.com or call (270) 252-1000.

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