UPCOMING EVENT: ABU GARCIA COLLEGE FISHING - 2020 - Harris Chain of Lakes

Jones leads top 10 anglers in $550,000 Wal-Mart FLW Tour event

Governor Don Siegelman attending final weigh-in

FLORENCE, Ala. - Wal-Mart FLW Tour pro and Team Yamaha angler Alton Jones, Waco, Texas, continued his dominating performance Friday on Lake Wheeler to lead the top-10 pros into Saturday's final round with five bass weighing 12 pounds, 9 ounces. It was his third straight day atop the leaderboard.

If his streak continues in the $550,000 tournament presented by Pepsi and Frito-Lay, he'll leave town with a check for $110,000 and 200 points in the coveted Land O'Lakes Angler of the Year race where he currently is ranked 51st.

Jones, who returned to the Wal-Mart FLW Tour this season after a two-year absence, advanced to Friday's semifinal round in first place after a dominating 10-bass, 35-pound, 13-ounce performance in the two-day opening round. The top-20 pros and co-anglers started from zero Friday. The top-10 pros will start from zero again Saturday, fishing for the heaviest one-day, five-bass weight.

"I have no way of knowing what Saturday will bring, so I'm not going to worry about it," Jones said. "I'm just going to work my hardest no matter what the conditions and stick with what got me this far."

What got him this far? A Riverside jig that he is working around outside creek-channel bends with heavy wood in Decatur Flats is the secret to his success. Fishing the jig slowly, he says, is key to the pattern.

Rounding out the top-five pros advancing to the final round are two-time Land O'Lakes Angler of the Year and Team Kellogg's angler Clark Wendlandt, Cedar Park, Texas (five bass, 12 pounds, 7 ounces); Basil Bacon, Springfield, Mo. (five bass, 11 pounds, 7 ounces); Team Fujifilm angler Wesley Strader, Spring City, Tenn. (five bass, 9 pounds, 15 ounces); and Team Land O'Lakes angler Keith Williams, Conway, Ark., (five bass, 8 pounds, 3 ounces).

Pro Scott Martin, Clewiston, Fla., earned the Energizer Power to Keep Going and Going award Friday for advancing to the finals in seventh place after finishing 51st on opening day Wednesday. Jones landed the Shop-Vac High Performance award for the heaviest total catch during the first three days of competition with 15 bass weighing 45 pounds, 6 ounces.

Co-angler Doug Caldwell won $15,000 Friday plus a $1,000 Castrol bonus with three bass weighing 4 pounds, 12 ounces. He advanced to the final day of co-angler competition in second place with a two-day, opening-round total of nine bass weighing 13 pounds, 10 ounces. Caldwell, a four-time top-five finisher, is the mayor of Kane, Pa.

Larry Dix, Bellavista, Ark. (three bass, 3 pounds, 10 ounces, $6,000); Luke Smith, Eddyville, Ky. (two bass, 2 pounds, 14 ounces, $4,000); Katsutoshi Furusawa, Tokyo, Japan (2 bass, 2 pounds, 13 ounces, $3,000); and Jim Short, Ocean Pines, Md., (one bass, 2 pounds, 12 ounces, $2,500) rounded out the top-five co-anglers.

The original field of 350 anglers included 175 pros and 175 co-anglers representing 34 states and Japan.

Overall, 90 bass were caught Friday including six five-bass limits.

Saturday's final takeoff from Joe Wheeler State Park located at 4401 McLean Drive in Rogersville starts at 6:15 a.m. The final weigh-in, featuring a special guest appearance by Governor Don Siegelman, starts at 2 p.m. at the Florence Wal-Mart on Hough Road. A Family Fun Zone in the Wal-Mart parking lot will feature free children's games and product samples from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m.

Tags: press-release  2002-02-13-lake-wheeler 

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