Ehrler Leads Walmart FLW Tour Walmart Open on Beaver Lake
Category: press release
May 16th, 2009 by OutdoorsFIRST
Modified May 16th, 2009 at 12:00 AM
ROGERS, Ark. (May 15, 2009) – Team National Guard pro Brent Ehrler of Redlands, Calif., caught a five-bass limit weighing 13 pounds, 9 ounces Friday to capture the lead in the Walmart FLW Tour’s $1.1 million Walmart Open presented by Kellogg’s on Beaver Lake with a two-day catch of 10 bass weighing 24-6. He now holds a 1-pound, 2-ounce lead in the tournament featuring 155 pros and 155 co-anglers from across the United States, Mexico, Canada and Japan.
“I’m just junk fishing,” said Ehrler, who has won more than $1,126,000 in FLW Outdoors events. “I’m fishing shallow and running the bank and running new water. Today was kind of an interesting day.
“I didn’t really have much and just kind of chipped away and started getting on them a little more and they started biting and I started catching them more and more,” Ehrler added. “The problem is I’m catching small ones, so I may catch seven pounds tomorrow and I may not catch anything. Or I could catch 12 or 13 pounds again.”
Ehrler said he was fishing slowly by flipping as well as throwing a shaky-head rig. He said the fish came from both open water as well as heavy cover, where he has to use heavier baits and equipment.
“I actually ran a lot of different water today and I pulled into a few areas today that I hadn’t been to before and caught a couple of keepers,” Ehrler said. “I’m just going to run that, and hopefully it will work.
“I was real nervous about the end of the year points, and I had caught 10 pounds by 12 o’clock and I was real happy because I knew that weight would stay up there, and the next thing I know I caught a 2 ½ (pound fish) and a 3 ½ (pound fish) and I thought, ‘Wow. I just made the cut.’ It’s going my way, for sure. Everything’s going right.”
Jason Christie of Park Hill, Okla., advanced to the final round of 10 pros in the No. 2 spot with a two-day total of nine bass weighing 23-4.
“It was really, really, really extremely difficult,” Christie said. “I only had four fish. I lost two in real thick stuff.”
Christie said he had one fish at 12:30 p.m., but said he had an area that had been producing for him later in the day. He went to that area and caught solid fish to land him in the top 10.
“What hurt me today was not being able to fish as late as I did yesterday,” Christie said. “I had to be in at 3 o’clock.”
Christie said he caught his fish flipping a black neon YUM soft-plastic tube on 25-pound Silver Thread line paired with a Falcon rod.
“That’s changing day-to-day, but today that was the deal,” Christie said. “Yesterday I caught 20 to 25 keepers. Yesterday you could just go down the bank and catch the fish in bushes that didn’t have any shade. Of course, yesterday it was overcast.
“What changed today was the high, bright sun,” Christie added. “The fish would not bite in that type of bush. You had to get back in the shade … the dark shade. That’s where I caught all of my fish.”
Christie said he has only two small areas that hold fish that he feels confident in and will look for new water to sustain him through the weekend.
Rounding out the top five pros who will continue competition Saturday and Sunday are Team Berkley pro Glenn Browne of Ocala, Fla. (10 bass, 23-3); Team Kellogg’s pro Clark Wendlandt of Leander, Texas (10 bass, 22-14); and Mark Rose of Marion, Ark. (10 bass, 22-11).
Also clearing the top-10 cut weight of 21 pounds, 4 ounces and adding to this already power-packed top-10 field are Team Chevy pro Jay Yelas of Corvallis, Ore.; Team BP pro Ray Scheide of Dover, Ark.; Rob Kilby of Hot Springs, Ark.; Keith Combs of Del Rio, Texas; and Team Pringles pro Gabe Bolivar of Ramona, Calif.
Wendlandt earned the day’s $1,000 Folgers Big Bass award in the Pro Division thanks to a 5-pound, 1-ounce bass.
Pros are competing for a top award of $200,000 this week plus valuable points in the hope of qualifying for $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., where they could win as much as $1 million – the sport’s biggest award.
Kevin Hawk of Ramona, Calif., leads the Co-angler Division with an opening-round total of 10 bass weighing 18 pounds, 6 ounces, followed by Moo Bae of West Friendship, Md., in second place with 10 bass weighing 17-8.
Hawk said he caught every fish Friday on a green pumpkin trick worm rigged on a 1/8-ounce shaky-head jig head. He threw the rig on a 7-foot medium-heavy action rod using 10-pound braid and an 8-pound-test fluorocarbon leader. He said the rig gave him the muscle he needed to get fish out of heavy cover.
“That’s the only bait I threw in practice, so I decided not to change anything and use that in the tournament, and so far it’s paid off for me,” Hawk said. “I’m excited to go out and go fishing again.”
Rounding out the top five co-anglers are Brent Bridgeman of Elkmont, Ala. (10 bass, 15-14); Shane Lehew of Charlotte, N.C. (10 bass, 15-12) and Zac Cassill of Fairfax, Iowa (nine bass, 15-11).
Also clearing the top-10 cut weight of 13 pounds, 6 ounces in the Co-angler Division are David Hudson of Jasper, Ala.; Todd Lee of Jasper, Ala.; T.R. Fuller of Auburn, Ala.; Eddie Laster of Morton, Miss.; and Dirk Davenport of Delaware, Ohio.
Earl Bennett of Mt. Vernon, Ill., earned $500 for the day’s Folgers Big Bass award in the Co-angler Division thanks to a 3-pound, 7-ounce bass he caught while fishing with Jason Reyes of Huffman, Texas.
Co-anglers are fishing for a top award of $40,000 this week.
Anglers will take off at 6:30 a.m. Saturday and Sunday from Prairie Creek Marina located at 1 Prairie Creek Marina Drive in Rogers. Saturday and Sunday’s weigh-ins will be held at the John Q. Hammons Center located at 3303 Pinnacle Hills Pkwy. in Rogers, beginning at 4 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 John Q. Hammons Center from noon to 4 p.m. each day. 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 Ranger boat courtesy of The Morning News during the final 4 p.m. weigh-in Sunday, May 17. 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.
The total purse for the Walmart Open event at Beaver Lake is more than $1.1 million, including $10,000 through 50th place in the Pro Division.
Coverage of the Beaver Lake tournament, hosted by the Rogers Convention & Visitors Bureau and the Bentonville 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 June 14 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.
The FLW Tour will award more than $8 million 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 Castrol, which will be held July 30-Aug. 2 on the Three Rivers in Pittsburgh, Pa. The prestigious championship and outdoor show hosted by Visit Pittsburgh 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.