Ultimate Bass

Walker Leads FLW on Table Rock

FLW OutdoorBRANSON, Mo. – BP pro David Walker of Sevierville, Tenn., crossed the stage Thursday with a five-bass limit weighing 26 pounds, 11…

FLW OutdoorBRANSON, Mo. (March 12, 2009) –BP pro David Walker of Sevierville, Tenn., crossed the stage Thursday with a five-bass limit weighing 26 pounds, 11 ounces to lead day one of the Walmart FLW Tour on Table Rock Lake. Walker now holds a 4-pound, 6-ounce in the tournament that features anglers from all across the country, Mexico, Canada and Japan.

“I feel really good about the fish I am on,” said Walker, who has 36 top-10 finishes in FLW Outdoors competition. “After finishing sixth at Lake Guntersville I feel really good about this week. I couldn’t wait to get up this morning and see how cold it was. I knew that I was going to catch them today. When you have that mind set, that you can catch them, it makes it a lot of fun.”

Walker’s first keeper of the day was 7-pounds, 7-ounces. “When I set the hook I thought it was a drum,” he said. “I didn’t know what it was but I knew for sure it wasn’t a bass. When it came up I couldn’t believe that it was a bass. I knew from that moment that I was either in the right spot or I was doing the right thing.

“I ended up staying around that area and catching some more fish. Most of the fish I caught today were 5-pounds or better. I couldn’t believe that the fish were biting like they did today because this wasn’t the case in practice.”

Walker said that he is fishing deeper than he normally would fish. He said that he hasn’t fished this lake in many years but he always thought if he could get here a little earlier in the year that he could do really well and with the cold weather today he knew it would be a good day of fishing.

“This lake is exactly set up like the lakes in Kentucky where I started fishing,” he said. “We are away from the shaky head events and I am trying to take advantage of that. This to me is the best FLW Tour schedule and I think this is my time to stand out and really do well. We are going to the right lakes at the right time for me and if I was ever going to catch any this would be the year. I am in my element.”

Rounding out the top five places are BP pro Shinichi Fukae of Mineola, Texas (five bass, 22-5); Christian Romans of Carrollton, Ky. (five bass, 21-4); Land O’ Lakes pro Aaron McManaway of Altamont, Ill. (five bass, 20-13); and Febreeze pro Michael Bennett of Lincoln, Calif. (five bass, 20-2).

Walker earned the day’s $750 Folgers Big Bass award in the Pro Division thanks to a 7-pound, 7-ounce bass.

Overall there were 630 bass weighing 1,894 pounds, 12 ounces caught by 152 pros Thursday. The catch included 94 five-bass limits.

Pros are competing for a top award of $125,000 this week plus valuable points in the hope of qualifying for $2 million Forrest Wood Cup presented by Castrol, which will be held July 30-Aug. 2 on the Three Rivers in Pittsburgh, Pa., where they could win as much as $1 million – the sport’s biggest award.

Zac Cassill of Fairfax, Iowa, leads the Co-angler Division with five bass weighing 17-6 followed by David Lauer of South Bend, Ind., in second place with five bass weighing 16-4.

“I have never been in this position before,” said Cassill, who is seeking revenge on Table Rock Lake after finishing 39th in the 2008 Stren Series Championship last November. “I started off the Stren Series Championship in 10th place and zeroed the second day so I didn’t have a chance at winning. I would love to stay on top this week and hopefully have a shot at winning this event.”

Today, Cassill caught two spotted bass and three largemouths on jerkbaits. He said the real key was the 10-pound Berkley fluorocarbon line he was using. ”I am doing something a little different and it really paid off today,” Cassill said.

Cassill took the early lead in the tournament while fishing with Brent Crow of Hartselle, Ala., who is currently in 95th place with five bass weighing 11-13.

Rounding out the top five co-anglers are PTSI co-angler Spencer Shuffield of Bismarck, Ark. (five bass, 16-0); BP co-angler Kevin Koone of Greenbrier, Ark. (five bass, 13-13) and James Watson of Waynesville, Mo. (five bass, 13-11).

Lauer earned the day’s $500 Folgers Big Bass award in the Co-angler Division thanks to a 7-pound, 6-ounce bass.

Overall there were 231 bass weighing 692 pounds, 8 ounces caught by 109 co-anglers Thursday. The catch included five five-bass limits.

Co-anglers are fishing for a top award of $25,000 this week.

Anglers will take off at 7 a.m. each day from Table Rock State Park Marina located at 380 State Park Marina Rd. in Branson. Friday’s weigh-ins will also be held at Table Rock State Park Marina beginning at 3 p.m. Saturday and Sunday’s weigh-ins will be held at the Branson Convention Center located at 200 W. Main St in Branson, beginning at 4 p.m.

Another event taking place in Branson is The Bass Federation National Championship presented by the National Guard, March 12-14, on Bull Shoals Lake where the best of the nation’s TBF club anglers will complete for berths into two of the sport’s most coveted events – the $2 million Forrest Wood Cup and the $1 million BFL All-American presented by Chevy.

K Dock Marina located at 295 Highway K Marina Drive in Kirbyville, Mo., will host takeoff Friday and Saturday at 7 a.m. Anglers will weigh in Friday at 4 p.m. at the Branson Convention Center. Saturday’s weigh-in will begin at 3 p.m.

In conjunction with the weigh-ins Saturday and Sunday, FLW Outdoors will host a free Family Fun Zone and outdoor show at the Branson Convention Center each day at noon. 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 courtesy of US 97 FM while supplies last. One lucky member of the audience will even win a new Ranger boat courtesy of the Springfield News-Leader that will be given away during the final 4 p.m. weigh-in Sunday, March 15. Admission is free, and you must be present to win.

On Saturday, March 14, musical group and local favorite DoGtag will perform between the TBF Championship weigh-in and the FLW Tour weigh-in at the Branson Convention Center. Legendary artist Moe Bandy will perform prior to the weigh-in on Sunday starting at approximately 3:15 p.m.

In a partnership with Goodwill, FLW Outdoors invites you to drop off your clean, gently-used clothing and household materials at the Branson Convention Center, March 14 and 15 starting at noon. In return, the first 500 to donate will receive a free BP die-cast boat, while supplies last. Donations will be sold at local Goodwill stores to help people with disabilities and other disadvantages receive job training and other important services.

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 tournament, hosted by the Branson/Lakes Area Convention & Visitors Bureau, will be broadcast 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 April 19 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.

The FLW Tour will award more than $8 million in cash to the world’s top bass anglers in 2009. Regular season competition includes three qualifiers and three opens. Each event takes anglers a step closer to the $2 million Forrest Wood Cup presented by BP and Castrol, which will be held July 30-Aug. 2 on the Three Rivers in Pittsburgh, Pa. The prestigious championship and outdoor show hosted by VisitPittsburgh will feature 77 pros, 77 co-anglers and bass fishing’s largest cash award – a potential $1 million first-place prize for the winning pro.

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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