Ultimate Bass

Mann Jr. Leads FLW Series, Clarks Hill Lake

Walmart FLW SeriesPro Tom Mann, Jr. of Buford, Ga., caught a five-bass limit weighing 13 pounds, 3 ounces Friday, Sept. 18, to capture the lead in the Walmart FLW Series® BP Eastern Division tournament on Clarks Hill Lake. With a three-day catch of 15 bass weighing 36-9, he holds a 2-pound, 3-ounce lead over

Walmart FLW SeriesPro Tom Mann, Jr. of Buford, Ga., caught a five-bass limit weighing 13 pounds, 3 ounces Friday, Sept. 18, to capture the lead in the Walmart FLW Series® BP Eastern Division tournament on Clarks Hill Lake. With a three-day catch of 15 bass weighing 36-9, he holds a 2-pound, 3-ounce lead over his closest competitor, Chris Martinkovic of Liberty Township, Ohio, heading into the final day of competition.

“It’s the oddest fishing I have ever done,” said Mann, Jr. who took over first place in today’s standings. “I am just elated to be in the top 10 and fishing tomorrow.”

In a lake that has been described as having a tough bite with the fishing getting tougher every day, Mann has been able to identify somewhat of a pattern and plans to run the entire lake during the final day of competition. He has identified 15 – 20 spots where he feels the bite has a lot of potential and hopes to bag a couple tomorrow.

Martinkovic caught a three-day total of 15 bass weighing 34-06 throwing flukes to advance to the final round as the No. 2 seed.

In opposition to Mann, Jr.’s style, Martinkovic has not been running the lake and said that he fished the same spot all day long. He felt very lucky with the five keepers he bagged today.

“It’s tough out there,” said Martinkovic.

Rounding out the top five pros are Matthew Wilbanks of Gainesville, Ga. (15 bass, 32-9); Craig Johnson of Martinez, Ga. (15 bass, 31) and Keith Hutto of Evans, Ga. (15 bass, 30-9).

Also clearing the top 10 cut weight of 29 pounds, 5 ounces in the Pro Division are Team Iams pro Vic Vatalaro of Kent, Ohio; Keith Williamson of Lincolnton, Ga.; O T Fears, III of Sallisaw, Okla.; Chad Brauer of Osage Beach, Mo.; and Trad Whaley of Abbeville, S.C.

Keith Combs of Del Rio, Texas, earned the day’s $453 Flogers Big Bass award in the Pro Division thanks to a 4-pound, 7-ounce bass he caught.

Overall there were 443 bass weighing 679 pounds, 14 ounces caught by 137 pros Friday. The catch included 55 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 2010 Forrest Wood Cup.

Alan Hults of Gautier, Miss., won the Co-angler Division and $23,897 Friday with a three-day total of 15 bass weighing 24 pounds, 2 ounces followed by Jason Law of Brunswick, Ga., in second place with 13 bass weighing 21-3 worth $9,448.

Hults opened the tournament in eleventh place Wednesday with 5 bass weighing 6-3 while fishing with pro Brian Easler of Inman, S.C. On Thursday he jumped to second place on the strength of a 5-bass catch weighing 8-15 while fishing with pro Jonathan Newton of Rogersville, Ala. He wrapped up the win Friday with a 5-bass catch weighing 9 pounds while fishing with pro Dustin Wilks of Rocky Mount, N.C.

“I drew some great partners this tournament,” said Hults, who finishes at the top of the points board and will advance to the 2010 Forrest Wood Cup. “I am just so happy to have caught five fish each day of the tournament.”

Hults used an assortment of baits throughout the tournament but indicated that his best was a 1/8 ounce buzz bait.

Rounding out the top five co-anglers are Bob Blackerby of Chelsea, Ala. (10 bass, 20-14, $7,086); Bart Blackburn of North Augusta, S.C. (11 bass, 18-15, $4,724) and Larry Mullikin of Lauderhill, Fla. (9 bass, 18, $3,779).

Ray Pettit of Pacolet, S.C. earned $302 for the Folgers Big Bass award in the Co-angler Division thanks to a 4-pound, 14-ounce bass he caught while fishing with pro Jimmy Houston of Cookson, Okla.

Overall there were 237 bass weighing 332 pounds, 10 ounces caught by 137 co-anglers Friday. The catch included 10 five-bass limits.

The 10 remaining pros will take off at 7 Saturday morning from Wildwood Park located at 6212 Holloway Road in Appling, Ga. Saturday’s final weigh-in will be held at the Walmart store located at 4469 Washington Road in Evans, Ga., 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. Activities in the Family Fun Zone include a Ranger boat simulator and assorted fishing-themed games. All activities are free and open to the public.

Top point earners from the Walmart FLW Tour, Walmart FLW Series, Stren Series, Walmart BFL, and the National Guard FLW College Fishing National Champion will advance to the 2010 Forrest Wood Cup in Atlanta, Ga., which will be held at Lake Lanier.

Coverage of the Clarks Hill Lake tournament, hosted by the Columbia County Georgia Convention & Visitors Bureau, 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 Oct. 11 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

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.

FLWOutdoors.com



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