March 13, 2014
LUFKIN, Texas - The third event in the 19th season of the major leagues of professional bass-fishing, the Walmart FLW Tour, kicks off March 27-30 with the Walmart FLW Tour on Sam Rayburn Reservoir presented by Chevy. Hosted by the Lufkin Convention and Visitors Bureau, the tournament will feature 177 of the world's best bass-fishing pros and 177 co-anglers casting for top awards of up to $125,000 cash in the pro division and up to $25,000 cash in the co-angler division.
"I love that part of the country," said Rayovac pro Jacob Wheeler, who finished in third place when the FLW Tour last visited Rayburn in 2012. "The hospitality down in Texas is amazing. They have a great bass-fishing community. And, you can catch giant bass there. There are only a few tournaments each year where we have the opportunity to catch the giant 10-, 12-, even 14-pounders. Rayburn is one of them.
"The cool thing about going there this time of year is we're going to see fish in all three stages," Wheeler said. "There will be fish out deep, staging for the spawn. There are going to be fish on the beds, doing their thing. And there are going to be fish shallow, recuperating after the spawn.
"The lake has quite a bit of grass this year, so that means the shallow-water fishing should be a lot better," Wheeler continued. "One thing about Rayburn is that there are a lot of shallow flats. Slight contours and depth changes are going to be the key. It's going to be crucial to find the little sweet spots."
Wheeler said that he expects the shallow water anglers to do well, and said tournament anglers would catch fish throwing almost any shallow-water bait. He expects moving baits such as Rat-L-Traps, ChatterBaits, swimjigs, crankbaits and spinnerbaits will all play a role.
"Somebody is probably going to catch a giant 25- or 30-pound limit, but sustaining that for four days in a row is just not going to happen," Wheeler went on to say. "I think that 17 pounds a day will get you through the cut and fishing the weekend. I think the winner is going to be right around the 80-pound mark for a four-day total."
In FLW Tour competition, anglers are also vying for valuable points in hopes of qualifying for the 2014 Forrest Wood Cup, the world championship of bass fishing. The 2014 Forrest Wood Cup will be in Columbia, S.C., Aug. 14-17 on Lake Murray and is hosted by Capital City Lake Murray Country. Anglers could win as much as $500,000 - professional bass-fishing's richest prize.
Anglers will take off from Cassels-Boykin County Park located at FM Road 3123 (off State Highway 147) in Zavalla, Texas, at 7 a.m. each day of competition. Thursday and Friday's weigh-ins will be held at Cassels-Boykin County Park beginning at 3 p.m. Saturday and Sunday's final weigh-ins will be held at the Walmart located at 2500 Daniel McCall Drive in Lufkin beginning at 4 p.m.
Fans will also be treated to the FLW Expo at Walmart on Saturday and Sunday from noon to 4 p.m. prior to the final weigh-ins. The Expo includes Ranger boat simulators, the opportunity to interact with professional anglers, enjoy interactive games, activities and giveaways provided by sponsors, and fans can learn more about the sport of fishing and other outdoor activities. All activities are free and open to the public. Also on Sunday, country music star Michael Ray will perform a free live concert on the Walmart weigh-in stage at 3 p.m.
Coverage of the Sam Rayburn Reservoir tournament will be broadcast in high-definition (HD) on NBC Sports Network when "FLW" airs June 7 from 11 a.m.-12 p.m. ET. The Emmy-nominated "FLW" television show is hosted by Jason Harper and is broadcast to more than 564 million households worldwide, making it the most widely distributed weekly outdoors-sports television show in the world.
For complete details and updated information visit FLWOutdoors.com. For regular updates, photos, tournament news and more, follow us on Facebook at Facebook.com/FLWFishing and on Twitter at Twitter.com/FLWFishing.
FLW is the industry's premier tournament-fishing organization, providing anglers of all skill levels the opportunity to compete for millions in prize money nationwide in 2014 over the course of 229 tournaments across five tournament circuits, four of which provide an avenue to the sport's richest payday and most coveted championship trophy - the Forrest Wood Cup. FLW tournament fishing can be seen on the Emmy-nominated "FLW" television show and is broadcast to more than 564 million households worldwide, making it the most widely distributed weekly outdoors-sports television show in the world. FLW is committed to providing a lifestyle experience that is the "Best in Fishing, On and Off the Water." For more information about FLW visit FLWOutdoors.com and look for FLW on Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, Instagram and YouTube.