World’s best bass anglers set for 2005 Forrest L. Wood Championship

HOT SPRINGS, Ark. - Anglers from 32 states, Japan, Australia, Mexico, Italy and Spain have fished the lucrative Wal-Mart FLW Tour all season for the right to compete in bass fishing's biggest event - the $1.5 million Forrest L. Wood Championship, presented by Castrol. Now the time has come for the top 48 pros in the world to square off in head-to-head competition July 13-16 on Lake Hamilton in Hot Springs for a shot at the sport's largest award - $500,000 cash. Anglers who qualified for the tour's 10th anniversary championship following the six qualifying events are seeded according to their Land O'Lakes Angler of the Year rankings and No. 1 will compete against No. 48, No. 2 against No. 47, No. 3 against No. 46, etc. This unique format is sure to produce some exciting matches. Championship contenders will take off from Fish Hatchery Ramp, located at 350 Fish Hatchery Road in Hot Springs at 7 a.m. each day, and daily weigh-ins will be held at 5 p.m. in Summit Arena adjacent to the Hot Springs Convention Center. The championship's boat and outdoor show featuring more than 140 exhibits; fishing seminars by Hank Parker, Jimmy Houston, Guido Hibdon, Forrest L. Wood and other bass-fishing legends; and free daily giveaways runs 2 to 8 p.m. July 13 and 14, noon to 9 p.m. July 15, and 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. July 16. One lucky fan attending the final weigh-in Saturday, July 16 will win a new Ranger Z20 Comanche bass boat powered by Yamaha courtesy of Allen Tillery Chevrolet. Two qualifiers will be drawn for the boat giveaway during each day's 5 p.m. weigh-in, with the final two qualifiers and the eventual winner drawn Saturday, July 16. You must be present to qualify and win. Admission is free, and entry forms will be available at the outdoor show. Thanks to growing sponsor support and incredible payouts that rival other professional sports like golf, tennis and NASCAR, competitive bass fishing is more popular than ever before. This popularity among the nation's 50 million fishing enthusiasts is expected to produce an economic impact approaching $50 million as thousands of fans, hundreds of sponsor representatives and support personnel, and hundreds of vendors visit the region for this one-of-a-kind event. The Forrest L. Wood Championship will also produce significant worldwide media coverage. Last year's championship in Birmingham, Ala., produced articles with a total circulation exceeding 45 million copies. In terms of advertising dollars, that kind of exposure would cost more than $1.4 million. Hot Springs can expect similar exposure, which will further elevate the region's reputation as a bass-fishing destination. The complete championship field and head-to-head pairings are posted at FLWOutdoors.com. Following the two-day opening round, 24 pros advance to the semifinal round based on their two-day accumulated weight. Head-to-head competition continues in the one-day semifinal round, after which 12 pros advance to the final round. The 12 finalists start from zero and compete for one day to determine the winner of the sport's top award - $500,000. Even the pro who finishes 48th earns $15,000 just for qualifying. Forty-eight co-anglers, who are paired with the pros and fish from the back deck, will compete for two days, after which the top 24 anglers based on accumulated weight advance to the third and final day of co-angler competition. Weights are cleared for the co-angler final round, and the winner takes home $25,000. Named after the legendary founder of Ranger Boats, Forrest L. Wood, FLW Outdoors administers the Wal-Mart FLW Tour and seven other national tournament circuits offering a combined $30 million in awards through 214 events in 2005. The 27-year-old organization is the purveyor of America's largest and most prestigious fishing tournaments, including the Wal-Mart FLW Tour, EverStart Series, Wal-Mart Bass Fishing League, Wal-Mart Texas Tournament Trail, Wal-Mart FLW Walleye Tour, Wal-Mart FLW Walleye League, Wal-Mart FLW Kingfish Tour and Wal-Mart FLW Redfish Series. Wal-Mart and many of America's most respected companies support FLW Outdoors and its eight tournament trails. Wal-Mart has been the FLW Tour's title sponsor since 1997. For more information on FLW Outdoors and its tournament circuits, visit FLWOutdoors.com. To plan your trip to Hot Springs for the $1.5 million Forrest L. Wood Championship and Outdoor Show July 13-16, visit Hotsprings.org. Related links: 2005 FLW Championship details 2005 FLW Championship pro field 2005 FLW Championship co-angler field

Tags: pre-tournament 

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MDJ, Fitzgerald Battle for AOY

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Practice with Clayton Batts

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Eufaula’s Offshore Bite Could be Hot

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AOY Showdown Looming in Texas

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Spawn Looming at Beaver Lake

As the pros who fish the Walmart FLW Tour begin practice on Beaver Lake, this jewel of northwestern Arkansas could be setting up for another spring spawn showdown. READ MORE »

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The Spawn is on at Grand Lake

When the Rayovac FLW Series Central Division competitors arrived in Grove, Okla., to start practice for the 2015 opener on Grand Lake this week, they didn’t have to look far to figure out the predominant pattern. READ MORE »

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College Championship Preview

Anthony Gagliardi won the Forrest Wood Cup on Lake Murray last August with a combination of patterns that included fishing soft-plastic jerkbaits and topwaters for schooling bass. A variation of that theme is likely to work this week when the 50 teams that qualified for the FLW College Fishing National Championship convene on Murray to contest the 2015 title. READ MORE »

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High-Water Rayburn

When the Rayovac FLW Series hits Sam Rayburn April 9-11 for the second stop of the Texas Division, the story won’t be solely based on the giants that the lake is known for – it will also be about the extremely high water level. For the first time in years, Rayburn is topping her banks in a big way. Currently, the lake is about 5 feet above full pool, which is even more remarkable when you consider that the lake has been well below full pool most of the last few years. READ MORE »

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5 Pros to Watch at Lewis Smith

The second stop of the Walmart FLW Tour season rolls to Lewis Smith Lake – or “Smith” as most refer to it – which is located in northern Alabama. It offers a stark contrast to the first event held on Toho, as the fishery is a clear, deep impoundment with little grass to speak of. Traditionally spotted bass have dominated this tournament due to their abundance and better average size. That will likely be the case again this week, however, largemouth may surprise some people since water temperatures are prime for them to swarm the bank. Smith Lake is often overshadowed by its neighboring lakes of Guntersville and Wheeler but has pumped out several world-class spotted bass over the years. In fact, back in the 1970s and 1980s several world record spots were produced in Smith, and the current 8-pound, 15-ounce Alabama state record was caught from here. READ MORE »

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Lewis Smith: 4 Factors to Consider

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Spotted Bass Reign Supreme at Smith

When the Walmart FLW Tour visited Alabama’s Lewis Smith Lake in March 2013, Brent Ehrler dominated wire-to-wire by amassing a hefty 60 pound, 9 ounces over four days and besting runner-up Jacob Powroznik by more than 7 pounds. Catching 60 pounds over four days is a pretty stout performance on most bodies of water, but the fact that Ehrler was targeting spotted bass more or less exclusively makes it truly special. In general, spotted bass are a whole lot of fun to catch, but usually don’t grow shoulders thick enough to produce tournament stringers that can rival their cousins, largemouth bass. READ MORE »

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Last Time at Lewis Smith

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Toho’s Mojo

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