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Quick Bites: FLW Tour, Lake Toho, Day 2

Quick Bites: FLW Tour, Lake Toho, Day 2
Ron Shuffield and his son Spencer Shuffield speak with the media Friday afternoon.

Wal-Mart FLW Tour
Lake Toho, Kissimmee, Fla.
Opening round, Friday

Four-day practice not hurting Shin ... New for 2008, FLW Outdoors administered a four-day official practice period on the Wal-Mart FLW Tour. While the majority of the anglers were in favor of the new rule, many felt it would hurt those who prefer marathon practices - namely Shinichi Fukae. In The new four-day official practice period hasnthe past, it wasn't uncommon for Shin to spend a month or more at a particular lake. For example, at the 2006 season-opening FLW Tour event on Lake Okeechobee, the BP pro practiced for 18 straight days. While others were bunched up in Moonshine Bay, Fukae used the extra time to find a productive, out-of-the way area in South Bay. That spot turned out to be the key in his $100,000 victory. Shin told the media today the new practice policy doesn't really bother him. "It is OK," said Fukae through his wife Miyuki. "I can come fish before the off-limits. I came here two weeks before the off-limits period and practiced." That extra practice resulted in Shin having 240 points on his GPS and seven productive areas to work off of. "If I have never been to the lake, it might hurt. But this lake I know. This lake is similar to my home lake in Japan."

Bjorklund in command from the front ... Disappointed with a second-place finish on Lake Amistad at the recent Wal-Mart FLW Series East-West Fish-Off, Bob Bjorklund is trying to qualify for the Forrest Wood Cup - again. Confused? You see, Bjorklund fished the 2006 FLW Series BP Eastern Bob Bjorklund earned 123 points towards qualifying for the 2008 Forrest Wood Cup as a professional.Division as a co-angler. In fact, he won the Eastern Division Co-angler of the Year award. But he's fishing the 2008 FLW Tour as a professional and he'd rather fish for a first-place purse of $1 million than a first-place purse of $50,000. "That's the goal," said the Centennial, Colo., native. "I hope I never fish another tournament from the back of the boat ever again." After an awesome opening day where he caught 11 pounds, 15 ounces, Bjorklund managed only a single keeper on day two. He finished the tournament in 78th place and earned 123 valuable points and $100 in gas money. Whether it be as a pro or a co-angler, fishing fans will see Bjorklund in Columbia, S.C., at the 2008 Forrest Wood Cup on Lake Murray.

Both days Big Bass ... Randy Hadden, another rookie pro, is making quite a statement in his first FLW Tour event. The Jacksonville, Fla., native is around some seriously big fish. On day one, the For the second day in a row, Randy Hadden of Jacksonville, Fla., caught the big bass in the Pro Division, which has propelled him into third place with a two-day total of 30 pounds, 5 ounces.Wal-Mart BFL and Stren Series veteran caught an 11-pound, 9-ounce bass. Obviously, it earned him $750 as the Snickers Big Bass of the day. It will likely also earn him an additional $5,000 as the biggest bass of the FLW Tour season. Although the FLW Tour didn't visit Florida in 2006, the biggest bass of the entire year weighed only 8 pounds, 12 ounces - a far cry from Hadden's 11-9. It gets even more ridiculous. On day two, Hadden caught the Snickers Big Bass again, earning another $750. This time the largemouth weighed 8 pounds, 8 ounces. Talk about being on big fish.

Ehrler earns $50,000 for Ranger Cup ... At the registration meeting the night before the tournament, it was officially announced that National Guard pro Brent Ehrler won the 2007 Ranger Cup award. And with that award comes a fat payday of $50,000. For those not Ranger Cup informed, the National Guard pro Brent Ehrler shows off the two baits that helped him win $50,000 in the Ranger Cup program.program spans both divisions of the FLW Series and the FLW Tour. Anglers can pick their best five tournaments from the FLW Tour or they can go the FLW Series route. Since each division of the FLW Series has only four events, Ranger counts the East-West Fish-Off as the fifth event. Using his two top-10 finishes on the FLW Series Western Division and his fourth-place finish at the Fish-Off, Ehrler stacked up the most points and proved once again that it pays to run a Ranger. "It was a nice bonus to end a really good year, for sure," the Redlands, Calif., pro said. "I thought I had a chance about halfway through the season and the last few events were really nerve-wracking. My two key baits in 2007 were a Lucky Craft LV500 and a Lucky Craft Pointer 100 DD. I have to credit them for my success."

No docks, no problem for Thrift ... Bryan Thrift, last year's Duracell Rookie of the Year, is gaining quite a reputation as one of the best dock fishermen in the game. But on Lake Toho there are few, if any docks. So instead of skipping a jig or throwing his beloved ChatterBait, Thrift did what all Bryan Thrift finished the opening round in seventh place in the Pro Division with a two-day total of 26-11.good North Carolina fishermen do (think David Fritts, David Wright: he went cranking. The result was a two-day total weight of 26 pounds, 11 ounces and a place in this weekend's finals. For those keeping track, this is the Shelby native's sixth top-10 appearance on the FLW Tour and his fourth as a professional.

Quick numbers

35-2: Weight, in pounds and ounces, of pro leader Carl Svebek's opening-round total.

19-1: Weight, in pounds and ounces, of the heaviest stringer from day two caught by Eagle Claw pro Chris Elliott.
Lazer Sharp pro Chris Elliott caught the biggest stringer on day two weighing 19-1.
15-12: Weight, in pounds and ounces of the heaviest co-angler stringer from day two caught by Garrett Olivotti.

14-14: $10,000-check weight, in pounds and ounces.

2-8: Two-day total weight for Castrol pro Darrel Robertson, who has over $1.5 million in FLW Outdoors earnings.

Sound bites

"If either one of us can win this tournament, I hope it's him," - PTSI pro Ron Shuffield, speaking about his son Spencer, who was involved in a near-fatal hunting accident in December. Both anglers have qualified for the final round, Ron in the Pro Division and Spencer in the Co-angler Division.

"I think there is something wrong with the space between the steering wheel and the driver's seat," - Pro Robert Walser, who had nothing to blame for his 11-3 over two days.

"It just goes to show what timing can do to you," - Elliott, who used the same 10-inch worm on day one when he caught 2-15 that he did today when he caught 19-1.

"First flip I caught that big one," - Elliott, on his 8-1 kicker.

"That's a pretty good one, but it won't help my feelings much," - Pretournament favorite Larry Nixon, who caught a 5-pounder on day two but still finished in 98th place.

"No sir, I've watched them on TV long enough," - Hadden, on whether or not he was intimidated by fishing against the likes of Nixon, Fritts and Hibdon.

"These were so small they were squeezing through the laundry basket holes," - Pro Wesley Strader, who was having difficulty at the bump tank with his four keepers that weighed 3-13.

Tomorrow's takeoff is scheduled to take place at 7 a.m. Eastern time from Kissimmee Lakefront Park located at 101 Lake Shore Blvd. in Kissimmee.

Tags: brett-carlson  quick-bites  2008-02-28-lake-toho 

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