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Meyer leads Wal-Mart FLW Series event on Columbia River

Meyer leads Wal-Mart FLW Series event on Columbia River
FLW Series

TRI-CITIES, Wash. - Pro Clayton Meyer of San Diego, Calif., landed five bass weighing 16 pounds, 13 ounces Wednesday to lead day one of the Wal-Mart FLW Series National Guard Western Division tournament on the Columbia River. He now holds a 1-pound, 5-ounce lead in the $1 million tournament featuring 173 pros and 173 co-anglers representing 17 states, Canada and Japan.

"I'm anxious," said Meyer, who has won more than $104,000 and notched one win and seven top-10 finishes in BFL and Stren Series events. "I'm nervous. I'm happy. I did what I came here to do. "

Meyer said he concentrated on areas that most fishermen passed by. Fishing in relative solitude, Meyer said he threw plastics for the majority of the day, except when he tried a crankbait for a few casts at a time. Meyer said the crankbait was unproductive for him.

"It seemed like if I moved to a spot that I knew, right away I'd get bit," Meyer said. "I'm fishing ridges and outside breaks a little off the shoreline that are holding fish. Usually, if I get one bite I'll get two or three bites where schools are moving through.

"I went into a spot I had fished five or six years ago and ended up pulling my big fish out of it," Meyer said. "Then it was time to come in. That was it. I caught that fish and left."

Meyer said he caught seven keepers throughout the day and lost a couple of fish, including one that would have helped his weight total. Meyer said he had a limit in the boat by 11 a.m. He admits it took a bit longer to catch his limit than he thought it would.

"If I finish in the top 50, I'll be OK," Meyer said. "That's what I came here to do. I just don't know what the next couple of days are going to bring."

Jason Hickey of Weiser, Idaho, trails Meyer in the No. 2 spot with five bass weighing 15-8.

Rounding out the top five pros are Bill Stutzman of Nampa, Idaho (five bass, 15-2); Team Bounty pro Ken Wick of Star, Idaho (five bass, 15-00) and Cory Dispensiero of Palmdale, Calif. (five bass, 14-14).

Jim Jeffords of Tualatin, Ore., and Meyer split the day's $428 Snickers Big Bass award in the Pro Division thanks to a pair of 4-pound, 14-ounce bass they caught.

Overall there were 783 bass weighing 1,437 pounds, 7 ounces caught by 172 pros Wednesday. The catch included 136 five-bass limits.

Pros are competing this week for a top award of $125,000 plus valuable points in the hope of qualifying for the BP East-National Guard West Fishoff and a shot at advancing to the $2 million, 2008 Forrest Wood Cup, where the winning pro will earn as much as $1 million - the sport's biggest award. The top 30 pros from both FLW Series divisions after four qualifying events are complete will advance to the East-West Fishoff, which will be held Jan. 17-19, 2008. The location for the fishoff has not yet been announced. Thirty winners from the fishoff will advance to the 2008 Forrest Wood Cup.

Billy Dehart of Pleasanton, Calif., leads the Co-angler Division with five bass weighing 13-12 followed by Brian Stafford of Fairfield, Calif., in second place with five bass weighing 13-00.

"I had a great local pro partner," said Dehart, who has two wins and six top-10 finishes in BFL and Stren Series events. "We fished real slow all day long in fast current and current breaks both shallow and deep. I caught some good fish in 20 feet of water and I caught some good fish in 3 feet of water. It was a grind all day."

Dehart said he caught six keepers all day - a keeper about every hour and a half - and had his limit by 1:30 p.m. He culled a 13-inch fish with a 2 1/2-pound fish about 3 p.m.

"I'm fishing plastics real slow," Dehart said. "It's no secret out here. Everybody is doing the same thing."

Dehart caught his bass while fishing with pro Courtney Conklin of Moses Lake, Wash., who is currently in 62nd place with five bass weighing 9-6.

Rounding out the top five co-anglers are Rodney Rinta of Chehalis, Wash. (five bass, 12-2); Larry Fugate of Rathdrum, Idaho (five bass, 11-10) and Christopher Ricci of Bend, Ore. (five bass, 11-9).

James Castillo of Grandview, Wash., earned $269 for the Snickers Big Bass award in the Co-angler Division thanks to a 4-pound, 14-ounce bass he caught while fishing with pro Jimmy Walker of Alpine, Calif.

Overall there were 633 bass weighing 1,043 pounds, 3 ounces caught by 164 co-anglers Wednesday. The catch included 79 five-bass limits.

Co-anglers are competing this week for a top award of $25,000. Like the pros, the top 30 co-anglers from both FLW Series divisions after four qualifying events are complete will advance to the East-West Fishoff for a shot at the $2 million, 2008 Forrest Wood Cup.

Anglers will take off at 6:30 each morning from Columbia Point Marina located at 660 Columbia Point Drive in Richland, Wash. Thursday and Friday's weigh-in will be held at the marina beginning at 3 p.m. Saturday's weigh-in will be held at the Wal-Mart store located at 2801 Duportail St. in Richland beginning at 4 p.m. Children will also be treated to a Family Fun Zone prior to Saturday's weigh-in from noon to 4 p.m. at Wal-Mart. Activities in the Family Fun Zone include the Fujifilm trout pond, a Ranger boat simulator and assorted fishing-themed games. All activities are free and open to the public.

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. The entire field competes for the first three days, and co-angler competition concludes on day three with the winner determined 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.

FLW Outdoors historically maintains a 98 percent live release rate in all of its bass tournaments.

Coverage of the Columbia River FLW Series tournament will be broadcast to 81 million FSN (Fox Sports Net) subscribers in the United States as part of the "FLW Outdoors" television program airing Nov. 18. "FLW Outdoors" airs Sunday mornings at 11 Eastern time. "FLW Outdoors" is also broadcast internationally to approximately 350 million households in Europe, Africa and Asia, making it the most widely distributed weekly fishing program 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 presented by Abu Garcia, Ranger Owners Tournament Championship Series, Wal-Mart FLW Walleye Tour, Wal-Mart FLW Walleye League, Wal-Mart FLW Kingfish Tour, Wal-Mart FLW Kingfish Series, Wal-Mart FLW Redfish Series and Wal-Mart FLW Striper Series. These circuits offer combined purses of nearly $43 million through 241 events in 2007.

Wal-Mart and many of America's largest and most-respected companies support FLW Outdoors and its tournament trails. Wal-Mart signed on as an FLW Outdoors sponsor in 1997 and today is the world's leading supporter of tournament fishing. For more information about Wal-Mart, visit Walmart.com.

For more information about FLW Outdoors and its tournaments, call (270) 252-1000.

Tags: press-release  2007-09-19-columbia-river 

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