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Baksay takes lead in Wal-Mart FLW Series opener on Lake Lanier

GAINESVILLE, Ga. - Terry Baksay of Monroe, Conn., posted a solid five-bass limit weighing 15 pounds, 13 ounces Thursday to take the lead in the Wal-Mart FLW Series opener on Lake Lanier. Baksay's catch comes on the heels of an opening-day limit weighing 18-1 and puts his two-day total at 10 bass weighing 33-14. He now holds a 5-pound lead over A & W Root Beer pro JT Kenney of Daytona Beach, Fla., who jumped from 28th to second with five bass weighing 15-11 for a total of 10 bass weighing 28-14.

"I'm a little on the nervous side," said Baksay, who is competing in his first professional tournament since September 2005. "I know I can catch some fish, but there are a lot of variables in play. They didn't bite as well today, and I had to really pound them out. I'm still fishing the way I want to fish, but I had to force feed them a bit."

Baksay declined to disclose his exact technique with $100,000 on the line, but he did admit to getting a little help from a loon feeding in the area. "Every time the loon dived under the water, the baitfish came to the surface, and we caught a couple of bass," he said. "I've never seen anything like it before."

Baksay's first fish of the day was a 6-pound largemouth. He then rounded out his limit with spotted bass.

Local favorite and day-one leader Tim Farley of Lula, Ga., slipped to fourth place after catching an impressive limit weighing 19-9 on opening day. On Thursday, he struggled to catch five bass weighing just 8-13 for a total of 10 bass weighing 28-6. Meanwhile, Tim Peek of Sharpsburg, Ga., held on to his No. 3 position with five bass weighing 10-15 for a total of 10 bass weighing 28-13.

"I had the bites, I just couldn't hook them up," Farley said. "I lost five fish at my first hole then landed five keepers, and that was it."

Farley is throwing a 1/4-ounce Swarming Hornet Fishhead Spin rigged with a white Zoom Super Fluke Junior.

While many of the top anglers are fishing areas, Kenney believes he has nailed down a pattern. "I have something figured out," he said. "I know it's a pattern because I fished all new water today."

Rounding out the top five pros is Eagle Claw angler Chris Elliott of Beaufort, N.C., with 10 bass weighing 28-5.

Only the top 10 pros following Friday's competition will advance to Saturday's grand finale, where the winner will be determined by the heaviest accumulated weight from all four days. Currently 6 pounds, 9 ounces separate the top 10 pros.

Tim Shmigal of Akron, Ohio, retained his big-bass lead in the Pro Division with a 7-pound, 5-ounce largemouth that he caught on a suspending Lucky Craft Pointer under a dock in 30 feet of water Wednesday. The pro with the heaviest bass during the first three days of competition will earn the Snickers Big Bass Award of $1,500.

Ty Hester of Russellville, Ala., continues to lead the Co-angler Division with 10 bass weighing 26-9 followed by Kevin Koone of Greenbrier, Ark., with 10 bass weighing 26-4.

Rounding out the top five co-anglers are Monte Atkins of Greenville, Va. (nine bass, 21-0); Ken Keirsey of Owasso, Okla. (10 bass, 20-7) and Sean Stepp of Stafford, Va. (10 bass, 20-3).

John Parker of Gaffney, S.C., took the big-bass lead in the Co-angler Division Thursday with a 5-pound, 1-ounce largemouth. The co-angler with the heaviest bass during the first three days of competition will earn the Snickers Big Bass Award of $500.

Judy Israel of Clewiston, Fla., who has already earned back-to-back top-10s on the Wal-Mart FLW Tour this season, is currently in 40th place with six bass weighing 13-12. She is the highest-ranking woman in the Co-angler Division and FLW Outdoors' all-time leading female money winner with more than $84,000.

Overall, 1,136 bass weighing 2,447 pounds, 5 ounces were caught Thursday, including 122 five-bass limits.

The new $6.5 million FLW Series features five $900,000 qualifying tournaments, each with a top award of $100,000, that advance anglers to the $2 million, 2007 Forrest Wood Cup in Hot Springs, Ark., where the winning pro will earn as much as $1 million cash.

Anglers fishing the FLW Series tournament on Lake Lanier will take off each morning at 7 from Little Hall Park in Gainesville. Friday's weigh-in will also be held at the park beginning at 3 p.m. Saturday's weigh-in will be held at the Wal-Mart store located at 400 Shallowford Road SW in Gainesville beginning at 4 p.m. Children will be treated to the Fujifilm trout pond and rides in the Kellogg's Ranger boat simulator beginning at 2 p.m. Saturday prior to the final weigh-in at Wal-Mart. All events are free and open to the public.

The entire field competes for the first three days of FLW Series events. Co-angler winners are determined on day three by the heaviest accumulated three-day weight. The top 10 professionals continue competition on day four, and the winner is determined by the heaviest accumulated weight from all four days.

In FLW Series 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.

Coverage of the Lake Lanier FLW Series tournament will be broadcast to 80 million FSN (Fox Sports Net) subscribers in the United States as part of the "FLW Outdoors" television program airing April 16. "FLW Outdoors" airs Sunday mornings at 11 Eastern time. "FLW Outdoors" is also broadcast internationally to approximately 350 million households in such countries as Germany, China, South Africa, Australia, Malaysia, Russia, Hungary and the United Kingdom, making it the most widely viewed weekly outdoor-sports television show in the world. Additionally, FLW Outdoors is proud to provide tournament coverage to more than 800,000 service members stationed around the world in 177 countries and aboard Navy ships through broadcasts on the American Forces Network.

Named after the legendary founder of Ranger Boats, Forrest L. Wood, FLW Outdoors administers the Wal-Mart FLW Tour, Wal-Mart FLW Series, Stren Series, Wal-Mart Bass Fishing League, Wal-Mart Texas Tournament Trail, Stratos Owners' Tournament Trail, Wal-Mart FLW Walleye Tour, Wal-Mart FLW Walleye League, Wal-Mart FLW Kingfish Tour, Wal-Mart FLW Kingfish Series and Wal-Mart FLW Redfish Series. These circuits offer combined purses exceeding $36.9 million through 241 events in 2006. FLW Outdoors also recently announced the addition of a striped bass circuit, which will debut in May.

Tags: press-release  2006-03-08-lake-lanier 

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