Live now : TOYOTA SERIES 2020 Pickwick

Wal-Mart FLW Series sprouts

Wal-Mart FLW Series sprouts
FLW Outdoors' newest seed, the FLW Series, sprung up into the early spring air this morning on Lake Lanier.

GAINESVILLE, Ga. - Spring is in the air on Georgia's Lake Lanier. And along with the blooming pear and cherry trees, a new bass-fishing tournament trail has sprouted: the Wal-Mart FLW Series.

FLW Outdoors planted the FLW Series seed last fall due to the increased demand for professionally run, high-payout bass tournaments. Through the winter, the series took root. Invitations were extended to both Wal-Mart FLW Tour pros who wanted more events and BASS Tour pros who wanted to avoid the steep entry fees of the BASS Elite Series.

Wednesday morning the hybrid seed sprung from the ground as a full field of 200 pros and 200 co-anglers blasted off from Little Hall Park on Lake Lanier, and once again the tremendous growth of competitive fishing could easily be measured.

But this promising sapling is much different from the other fishing foliage in the FLW Outdoors orchard.

The FLW Series touts some significant rule changes, a different format and host of new names and faces.

At the urging of professional anglers across the country, FLW Outdoors has implemented an off-limits period and an official practice period for the new FLW Series.

Pro Art Berry of Hemet, Calif., and co-angler Bill Stewart of Moore, Okla., start the day near Little Hall Park.During the 12-day off limits period, anglers are not allowed on the tournament waters for any reason, nor can they solicit fishing information from any noncompetitors. During the official practice period of four days, anglers are still restricted from soliciting fishing information and are not allowed to practice with anyone except immediate family members or other anglers in the tournament.

Also the format is much different. Those who follow the FLW Tour are well aware of FLW Outdoors' signature cut format, where a full field of pros and co-anglers fish for two days. At the end of two days, only the top 10 pros and 10 co-anglers advance to day three, and their weights then start from zero. At the end of day three, a co-angler winner is crowned and the top 10 pros go on to fish the fourth and final day, carrying their day-three weights over into day four.

In the FLW Series, however, a full field of pros and co-anglers will fish three days instead of two. At the end of day three, the co-angler winner will be crowned and then a top-10 cut will be made on the pro side only. The top 10 pros will fish on the fourth and final day, and there is no zeroing of the weights at any time during the event. The co-angler winner is determined by three days of cumulative weight and the pro winner is determined by four days of cumulative weight.

The pro winner of an FLW Series tournament receives $100,000, and the co-angler winner receives $20,000.

Any pro finishing 50th place or better in the event is guaranteed at least $10,000.

BASS tournament legend Woo Daves of Spring Grove, Va., goes through boat check.New faces

Some of the notable new faces to FLW Outdoors in the FLW Series this week include the following: previous Bassmaster Classic winners Woo Daves of Spring Grove, Va., and Tommy Martin of Hemphill, Texas; seven-time BASS winner Ron Shuffield of Bismarck, Ark.; four-time BASS winner David Wharton of Sam Rayburn, Texas; and two-time BASS winner Stacey King of Reed Springs, Mo.

Logistics

If you want to check out the new FLW Series event on Lake Lanier for yourself, here are the particulars. Takeoffs will begin each day (Wednesday - Saturday) at 7 a.m. Eastern time at Little Hall Park located at 3501 Dawsonville Highway. The weigh-ins on Wednesday, Thursday and Friday will also be held at Little Hall Park beginning at 3 p.m. Saturday's final weigh-in will be held at the Gainesville Wal-Mart located a 400 Shallowford Road.

For those who cannot be at the weigh-ins in person, FLWOutdoors.com offers FLW Live, its cutting-edge Web application that brings viewers audio, video, results and more in real time.

Wednesday's conditions

Sunrise: 6:55 a.m.
Temperature at takeoff: 40 degrees
Expected high temperature: 65 degrees
Water temperature: 48-52 degrees
Forecasted winds: SSW at 10-15 mph
Day's outlook: sunny

Tags: rob-newell  morning-story  2006-03-08-lake-lanier 

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