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Farley wins $900,000 Wal-Mart FLW Series opener on Lake Lanier

GAINESVILLE, Ga. - Local pro Tim Farley of Lula, Ga., started his FLW Outdoors career off right Saturday by coming from behind to win $100,000 in the historic first Wal-Mart FLW Series tournament. The FLW Outdoors newcomer trailed Wal-Mart FLW Tour veteran Terry Baksay of Monroe, Conn., by 13 ounces entering the final day of competition on Lake Lanier, but he ended the $900,000 tournament with a five-bass catch weighing 10 pounds that boosted his four-day total to 20 bass weighing 56-5.

"This is just awesome, it's a dream come true," said Farley, who has fished Lanier since 1975 and spends more than 150 days per year on the lake. "In the last hour of the tournament, when I lost a couple of 4-pounders, I thought I blew it. I was getting little fish, but I couldn't get the big ones to hook up."

Farley led the tournament on opening day with the heaviest limit of the event, 19-9, then slipped to fourth on day two with five small bass weighing 8-13. On Friday, he returned to form with a 17-15 limit and climbed into second place. All week he caught a limit early on a white 1/4-ounce Sworming Hornet Fishhead Spin, which he helped design, rigged with a white Zoom Super Fluke Junior. After catching a limit of spots, he'd switch to a custom painted Mega Bass Vision 110 jerkbait. He threw the Fishhead Spin in creek channels ranging in depth from 8 to 28 feet. He fished the jerkbait around the shady side of docks in shallow pockets to pick up a few largemouths.

Baksay finished second on opening day with five bass weighing 18-1. He then grabbed the lead on day two with a limit weighing 15-13. On Friday he caught another solid limit, weighing 13-4, to retain control of first place heading into the final round. On Saturday, however, he managed just four bass weighing 8-6, which was not enough to fend off Farley, and he came up 13-ounces shy of his first win. His total catch for the tournament was 19 bass weighing 55-8.

While he had been tight lipped about his fishing techniques all week, Baksay was more than happy to share the information Saturday. He fished a small, clear water pocket that was packed with baitfish. His theory is that striped bass had the bait, and bass, corralled in the pocket. He enticed them to strike using a green albino 1/2-ounce Sworming Hornet Fished Spin rigged with a Lunker City 5-inch trailer in salt and pepper and green phantom. He also caught bass using a Rapala X-Rap in spotted minnow color and a 1/4-ounce leadhead with a Lunker City Rascal worm in hot mustard color. The productive pocket gave out on him Saturday, however, and he was forced to scramble.

Rounding out the top five pros were former FLW Tour Land O'Lakes angler of the year Shinichi Fukae of Mineola, Texas (20 bass, 54-4, $40,000); Team Fujifilm pro Wesley Strader of Spring City, Tenn. (20 bass, 53-12, $30,000) and Yamaha pro Mike Auten of Benton, Ky. (20 bass, 53-4, $20,000).

On Friday, Arkansas Tech student Kevin Koone, 23, of Greensbrier, Ark., won $20,000 in the Co-angler Division after catching 15 bass weighing 36-11 during the first three days of competition.

"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."

Koone caught his bigger fish 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 were Ty Hester of Russellville, Ala., (12 bass, 34-4, $10,000); 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).

Overall, 48 bass weighing 110 pounds, 5 ounces were caught by the top 10 pros Saturday, including 8 five-bass limits.

The new $6.5 million FLW Series features five $900,000 qualifying tournaments, each with a top award of $100,000 and $10,000 through 50th place in the Pro Division. The next FLW Series event will be held May 3-6 on Lake Cumberland in Somerset, Ky., followed by an event on Old Hickory Lake in Gallatin, Tenn., May 31-June 3, and an event on Lake of the Ozarks in Ozark, Mo., Oct. 11-14. The final regular-season FLW Series tournament will be held on Lewis Smith Lake in Jasper, Ala., Nov. 15-18. Each tournament takes the world's best bass anglers a step closer to the $2 million, 2007 Forrest Wood Cup in Hot Springs, Ark., where the winning pro will earn as much as $1 million cash.

Complete 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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