World’s Best Anglers Set to Converge on Beaver Lake for 2009 Walmart Open
Category: press release
May 5th, 2009 by OutdoorsFIRST
Modified May 5th, 2009 at 12:00 AM
ROGERS, Ark. (May 5, 2009) – The Walmart FLW Tour will stop in Rogers, Ark., May 14-17 when the Walmart Open visits Beaver Lake and features anglers from across the United States, Mexico, Canada and Japan fishing for top awards of $200,000 cash in the Pro Division and $40,000 cash in the Co-angler Division.
“This event should feature a lot of bed fishing,” said Team Berkley pro Stetson Blaylock of Benton, Ark., who claimed the 2008 Walmart Open co-angler championship title. “There should be fish that have already spawned hanging around buck brush and there will be fish getting ready to spawn. All of the long, shallow points should have fish ready to spawn on them.”
The 21-year-old angler spent five years as a co-angler before moving to the front of the boat as a pro for the 2009 season. His first Tour win as a pro came in just three tries. Last month at Lake Norman in Charlotte, N.C., Blaylock became the youngest angler to win a FLW Tour event. With that victory still fresh on his mind, Blaylock said he’s optimistic about his chances at Beaver Lake.
“It should be interesting, because they’ve been getting hammered by rain,” Blaylock said. “It’s possible it could be back up nasty and muddy again. I definitely feel like I would have a chance to win two in a row if it was like that again.
“I mean, you fish what you’ve got, but I would rather it be dirty,” Blaylock added.
Blaylock’s young pro career has started with a bang. He currently stands fifth in points in the Land O’Lakes Angler of the Year race and is blowing away the competition in the Rookie of the Year race. Blaylock won more than $159,000 in FLW Outdoors events in the first five years of his career, and has won more than $223,500 in the first three events of 2009. At that pace, Blaylock easily could become the youngest angler to reach the $1 million mark in winnings.
Beaver Lake in northwest Arkansas is half a day’s drive from Blaylock’s central Arkansas residence, so he doesn’t call Beaver Lake home. In fact, he said he’s fished Beaver only four or five times. The young angler, who prefers shallow power fishing techniques, thinks that any shad imitation baits will be productive, as well as a Carolina rig and a soft-plastic creature bait flipped in bushes.
“Twelve pounds a day will make the cut, and it will take probably somewhere near that the last two days of the tournament to win,” Blaylock said.
Anglers will take off at 6:30 a.m. each day from Prairie Creek Marina located at 1 Prairie Creek Marina Drive in Rogers. Thursday and Friday’s weigh-ins will also be held at Prairie Creek Marina beginning at 3 p.m. 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 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.
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.