Ward Leads Stren Series Event On Kentucky and Barkley Lakes

Category: Tournament

 Jul 25th, 2008 by OutdoorsFIRST 

Modified Jul 25th, 2008 at 12:00 AM

HARDIN, Ky. (July 25, 2008) – Pro Mike Ward of Paris, Tenn., caught a five-bass limit weighing 19 pounds even Friday to widen his lead in the Stren Series Central Division tournament on Kentucky/Barkley Lakes. With a three-day catch of 15 bass weighing 61-10, he holds a 5-pound, 9-ounce lead over his closest competitor heading into the final day of competition.

"I'm surprised I'm leading another day," said Ward, who now has notched 13 top-10 finishes in FLW Outdoors competition. "I knew I'd catch some fish, but I didn't think they'd have any size to them.

"I caught a limit earlier than I had the past two mornings, which was a surprise," Ward added. "I had a limit by 9:30 a.m., and I hadn't even had a keeper by then the other days."

Ward said he made the run to Paris for the third day in a row and will do the same thing tomorrow.

"As far as catching a limit … I can do that," Ward said. "But I'm going to need a couple of good bites. I don't think I'll need 20 pounds tomorrow, but it sure wouldn't bother me if I had it."

Rounding out the top five pros are Michael Wooley of Collierville, Tenn. (15 bass, 56-01); Team Berkley pro George Jeane Jr. of Evans, La. (15 bass, 55-13); Terry Bolton of Jonesboro, Ark. (15 bass, 54-09); and Bobby McMullin of Pevely, Mo. (15 bass, 53-09).

Also clearing the top 10 cut weight of 49 pounds, 7 ounces in the Pro Division are Zack Bull of Lakeland, Tenn.; Sam Lashlee of Camden, Tenn.; Lloyd Pickett Jr. of Bartlett, Tenn.; National Guard pro Ramie Colson Jr. of Cadiz, Ky.; and Scott Brummett of Brentwood, Tenn.

Steve Stone of Paducah, Ky., earned $268 for the Snickers Big Bass award in the Pro Division thanks to a 5-pound, 13-ounce bass he caught.

Overall there were 483 bass weighing 1,275 pounds even caught by pros Friday. The catch included 53 five-bass limits.

Pros are competing for as much as $65,000, including a 198VX Ranger powered by Evinrude or Yamaha if contingency guidelines are met, and valuable points toward qualifying for the $1 million Stren Series Championship in Branson, Mo., Nov. 5-8 for a shot at $140,000. After four qualifying events are complete in each of the circuit's five divisions, the top 40 pros from each division will advance to the championship. The highest-finishing pro from each division at the championship will also earn a spot in the $2 million 2009 Forrest Wood Cup, where they will compete against top pros from the Wal-Mart FLW Tour®, Wal-Mart FLW Series®, Wal-Mart Bass Fishing League® and TBF (The Bass Federation) for bass fishing's biggest prize – $1 million.

Tournament pros aren't the only ones winning big this season. With the introduction of FLW Fantasy Fishing™, FLW Outdoors® offers anyone the opportunity to enter for their chance to land the catch of a lifetime with the opportunity to win $7.3 million in cash and prizes. Players can become a virtual pro angler by signing up for Player's Advantage, providing them with exclusive insider information that could guide them to a $100,000 victory at every Wal-Mart FLW Tour® stop and the Forrest Wood Cup. Player's Advantage will give them an edge over the competition and increase their shot for a $1 million cash grand prize that will be awarded to the FLW Fantasy Fishing cumulative points winner. Those who visit FantasyFishing.com today can sign up for Player's Advantage and FLW Outdoors will include a $15 Wal-Mart gift card.

Chris Darby of Mount Ida, Ark., leads the Co-angler Division in the chase for a top award of $35,000, including a 198VX Ranger if contingency guidelines are met, thanks to a three-day total of 15 bass weighing 44-05.

"I started out using my big redbug worm that I've been catching all of my fish on all week, but it didn't work out for me, so I switched over to a peanut butter and jelly-colored football-head jig that my boater gave to me, and I had my limit within an hour," said Darby, who now has nine top-10 finishes in FLW Outdoors events.

Darby said he fished Barkley Lake and the wind didn't bother him as much as it did some competitors Friday. At the end of the weigh-in, Darby held a 7-pound lead over the second-place competitor, Day 1 and 2 leader Ben Jackson of Paducah, Ky.

"I'm just going to go fish tomorrow," Darby said. "That lead kind of takes the pressure off. It beats trying to make up seven pounds."

Rounding out the top five co-anglers are Jackson (11 bass, 37-05); Justin Swast of Pevely, Mo. (13 bass, 34-15); Bobby Wade of Sedalia, Ky. (13 bass, 34-07); and Roger Walters of Madisonville, Ky. (12 bass, 34-04).

Also clearing the top 10 cut weight of 32 pounds, 3 ounces in the Co-angler Division are Shawn Murphy of Nicholasville, Ky.; Keith Whipple of Iuka, Miss.; Andrew Thiesse of Forest Park, Ill.; Chad Kerr of Burlington, Iowa; and Alan Johnson of Crestwood, Ky.

Thiesse earned $138 for the Snickers Big Bass award in the Co-angler Division thanks to a 6-pound even bass he caught.

Overall there were 309 bass weighing 783 pounds even caught by co-anglers Friday. The catch included 19 five-bass limits.

The top 40 co-anglers from each Stren Series division will also advance to the championship, where they will fish for as much as $70,000. The highest-finishing co-angler from each division at the championship will then advance to the 2009 Forrest Wood Cup.

Anglers will take off at 5:30 Saturday morning from Kenlake Marina located at 888 Kenlake Marina Lane in Hardin. Saturday's final weigh-in will be held at the Wal-Mart store located at 809 N. 12th St. in Murray, Ky., beginning at 3 p.m. The takeoff and weigh-in are free and open to the public.

Stren Series tournaments are four-day events consisting of two rounds. The entire field competes Wednesday, Thursday and Friday. At the conclusion of Friday's weigh-in, the field is cut to the top 10 pros and co-anglers based on the heaviest three-day accumulated weights. These anglers continue competition Saturday, with the winners 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.

FLW Outdoors, named after Forrest L. Wood, the legendary founder of Ranger Boats, is the largest fishing tournament organization in the world. In 2008 alone the organization is offering more than 90,000 anglers the chance to win over $40 million through 230 tournaments in 10 circuits targeting bass, walleye, redfish, kingfish and striped bass. FLW Outdoors is also taking fishing mainstream with the largest cash awards in the history of fantasy sports, $7.3 million.

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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