Fritts wins Walmart FLW Series event on Clarks Hill Lake
Category: press release
Oct 25th, 2008 by OutdoorsFIRST
Modified Oct 25th, 2008 at 12:00 AM
APPLING, Ga. – Chevy pro David Fritts of Lexington, N.C., caught a five-bass limit weighing 6 pounds, 12 ounces Saturday to win $125,000 in the Walmart FLW Series® BP Eastern Division season finale on Clarks Hill Lake with a four-day catch of 20 bass weighing 59-10.
The catch gave him the win by a solid 11-pound, 4-ounce margin over Thanh Lee of Lake Havasu City, Ariz., who caught a total of 20 bass weighing 49-05 and earned $39,187.
Fritts now holds the record for the largest margin of victory in the FLW Series which was previously set by Mike Hawkes of Sabinal, Texas, on Lake Cumberland in 2006 with a 10-pound, 7-ounce lead over his closet competitor.
“This win feels really good,” said Fritts, who won his first FLW Series event. “I haven’t won an FLW tournament since 2001 and I was ready for this one.”
Fritts said that he made a decision this morning not to go to his big fish spots. He decided to stay close and catch a limit.
“I didn’t go to where the big fish live in the heavy timber because I didn’t know if I could get out,” Fritts said. “I just wanted to get back in after the weather yesterday.”
The key to his success this week was catching fish out of isolated trees. He also credits his win to the array of crankbaits he used to steal the grand prize of $125,000.
“I used a Rapala DT 10, DT 14, DT 16, DT 20 and a Rapala Clackin’ Rap,” Fritts said. “I threw the DT 20 today and caught a limit in 12 casts. These baits are unbelievable.”
He said that he used the Rapala Clackin’ Rap, as a drop-bait this week. Fritts added that this will allow you to get your biggest fish out of the structure you are fishing. He said he was fishing anywhere from 10 feet all the way down to 20 and that the boat would be positioned in the river channel with the isolated trees up on the flats.
Fritts opened the tournament in first place Wednesday with five bass weighing 23-09. On Thursday he added another five bass weighing 13-01 using a Rapala DT 14 to maintain his lead. He then caught five bass weighing 16-04 on Friday to make the crucial top 10 cut in first place. On Saturday he sealed his victory using a Rapala DT 20.
Rounding out the top five pros are National Guard angler Scott Martin of Clewiston, Fla. (19 bass, 43-08, $31,351); Greg Hackney of Gonzales, La. (19 bass, 42-01, $23,512) and Yamaha pro Terry Bolton of Jonesboro, Ark. (20 bass, 38-13, $15,674).
Chip Harrison of Bremen, Ind., caught the biggest bass of the tournament in the Pro Division Wednesday – a 7-pound, 5-ounce bass – that earned him the day’s Snickers Big Bass award of $500.
Overall there were 38 bass weighing 58 pounds, 9 ounces caught by 10 pros Saturday. The catch included four five-bass limits.
Robert Rikard of Lexington, S.C., won the Co-angler Division and $20,000 Friday with a three-day total of 14 bass weighing 26 pounds, 3 ounces followed by Ron Fabiszak of South Bend, Ind., in second place with 13 bass weighing 25-09 worth $8,403.
Rikard opened the tournament in third place Wednesday with five bass weighing 7-11 while fishing with pro Mark Shepard of Clewiston, Fla. On Thursday he jumped to first place on the strength of four bass weighing 10-06 while fishing with pro Tommy Biffle of Wagnor, Okla. He wrapped up the win Friday with a five-bass catch weighing 8-02 while fishing with Folgers pro Scott Suggs of Bryant, Ark.
“I had three great days and three great partners,” said Rikard, who now has his first FLW Series win under his belt. “I have always wanted to win one. It is just an awesome feeling.”
Rikard’s bait of choice this week was a black and silver Zoom Dead Ringer.
“This is only my second FLW Series tournament to fish,” he said. “I am trying to get started in tournament fishing and this is going to help.”
Rikard plans to spend his $20,000 payday customizing his new Ranger boat that he bought right before the Clarks Hill tournament.
Rounding out the top five co-anglers are Ben Kurth of West Saint Paul, Minn. (10 bass, 21-11, $7,562); Mike Helton of Jeffersonville, Ind. (10 bass, 21-01, $6,722) and Derrick Snavely of Rogersville, Tenn. (13 bass, 19-04, $5,881).
Kenneth Peterson of Ankeny, Iowa, caught the biggest bass of the tournament in the Co-angler Division Thursday – a 7-pound, 15-ounce bass – that earned him the day’s Snickers Big Bass award of $253.
Coverage of the Clarks Hill Lake 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 Dec. 28. “FLW Outdoors” is also broadcast in Canada on WFN (World Fishing Network) and to more than 429 million households in the United Kingdom, Europe, Russia, Australia, Africa, Asia, and the Middle East through a distribution agreement with Matchroom Sport, making it the most widely distributed fishing program in the world. The program airs Sunday mornings at 11 Eastern time in most markets. Check local listings for times in your area.
After four qualifying events are complete in the BP Eastern Division, the top 30 pros and 30 co-anglers will advance to the BP East-National Guard West Fish-Off Nov. 20-22 at a yet to be announced site. There they will face the top 30 pros and 30 co-anglers from the National Guard Western Division for a shot at advancing to the $2 million, 2009 Forrest Wood Cup. The winning pro at the Forrest Wood Cup will earn as much as $1 million – the sport’s biggest award.
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.