Live now : TOYOTA SERIES 2020 Pickwick

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

GAINESVILLE, Ga. - Terry Baksay of Monroe, Conn., added five bass weighing 13 pounds, 4 ounces to his total weight Friday to retain the lead he captured a day earlier in the Wal-Mart FLW Series opener on Lake Lanier. He now leads the 10 remaining pro finalists with a three-day total of 15 bass weighing 47-2.

"I love clear water, and I love fishing the way that I am," said Baksay, who is competing in his first professional tournament since September 2005. "I'm just having a good time and hoping that I can hang on for the win."

Baksay is fishing a small, clear water pocket that is packed with baitfish. "I think the stripers have the bait, and bass, corralled in there," he said.

Trailing Baksay by 13 ounces is day one leader Tim Farley of Lula, Ga., who slipped to fourth Thursday but climbed two spots Friday with five bass weighing 17-15. His total now sits at 15 bass weighing 46-5.

"I got a little nervous after leading on opening day, but I settled down last night and went back to the pattern that was working for me," said Farley, who proved he can produce big numbers on his home lake by landing the heaviest limit of the tournament on opening day. "I changed up on day two and did a lot of running, but today I slowed down."

Farley has been throwing a 1/4-ounce Swarming Hornet Fishhead Spin all week. He rigs the lure, which he helped design, with a white Zoom Super Fluke Junior. He has also been catching fish on a Custom Farley crankbait. His big stringer on day one weighed 19-9.

Just 4 pounds, 7 ounces behind Farley and 5 pounds, 4 ounces off the lead is Shinichi Fukae of Mineola, Texas, in third place with 15 bass weighing 41-14. Fukae won the Wal-Mart FLW Tour season opener on Lake Okeechobee in January and is hoping to repeat here. He is using a Yamamoto 5 3/4-inch cut tail worm in green pumpkin rigged with a 1/8-ounce weight. He is fishing the lure in 10 to 20 feet of water.

Marty Sisk of Evansville, Ind., climbed from 17th to fourth Friday with a total catch of 15 bass weighing 41-8 - just 5 pounds, 10 ounces off the lead.

Fujifilm pro Wesley Strader of Spring City, Tenn., rounds out the top five pros with a total catch of 15 bass weighing 41-7. He'll need to make up 5 pounds, 11 ounces Saturday to claim the tournament's $100,000 top award. On the first two days of competition he was catching bass on a jerkbait, but on Friday he switched to a 1/16-ounce jig with a Zoom finesse worm in watermelon candy and a Zoom Super Fluke that he was skipping under docks.

Also clearing the top-10 cut weight of 39 pounds, 10 ounces were pros Tim Peek of Sharpsburg, Ga.; Jody Cordell of Flowery Branch, Ga.; A&W Root Beer pro JT Kenney of Daytona Beach, Fla.; Mike Auten of Benton, Ky.; and Tom Mann Jr. of Buford, Ga.

Arkansas Tech student Kevin Koone, 23, of Greensbrier, Ark., won $20,000 in the Co-angler Division Friday after catching five bass weighing 10-7. The limit boosted his total to 15 bass weighing 36-11, giving him the win by 2 pounds, 7 ounces over runner-up Ty Hester of Russellville, Ala., who slipped from first to second with a total catch of 12 bass weighing 34-4 to earn $10,000.

"I really don't know what to think," said Koone, who will graduate in May with a degree in Agra Business. "This is just incredible. I had my limit by 11:30 and felt really good about it. I figured that if I couldn't win with five keepers, then it just wasn't meant to be."

Koone caught his bass fishing with John Kitchens of Atlanta, Ga., on opening day, Tom Monsoor of LaCrosse, Wis., on day two, and Mark Rose of Marion, Ark., on day three. His bigger fish came on a 5/8-ounce Jewel football head jig with a green pumpkin Zoom twin tail trailer. He also used a 1/8-ounce Shaky Head jig rigged with a Zoom finesse worm in either green pumpkin or watermelon.

Rounding out the top five co-anglers are Ken Keirsey of Owasso, Okla. (15 bass, 30-5, $9,000); Sean Stepp of Stafford, Va. (15 bass, 29-5, $8,000) and Wayne Hauser of Winston Salem, N.C. (13 bass, 28-3, $7,000).

Judy Israel of Clewiston, Fla., who has earned back-to-back top-10s on the FLW Tour this season, finished in 17th place with 11 bass weighing 23-11. She is FLW Outdoors' all-time leading female money winner, adding $2,000 to her already impressive total of $84,000 in winnings.

Tim Shmigal of Akron, Ohio, won the Snickers Big Bass Award of $1,500 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 on opening day.

Snickers Big Bass honors and $500 in the Co-angler Division went to Keith Stephenson of Jasper, Texas, thanks to a 5-pound, 10-ounce largemouth that he caught Friday.

Overall, 1,157 bass weighing 2,512 pounds, 12 ounces were caught Friday, including 127 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 Saturday at 7 a.m. from Little Hall Park in Gainesville. The final 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, but only the top 10 professionals continue competition on day four. The winning pro 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 servicemembers 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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