UPCOMING EVENT: HIGH SCHOOL FISHING - 2019 - Pickwick Lake

FISHING LEAGUE WORLDWIDE

Arkansas man hooks $100,000 in fourth FLW Fantasy Fishing tournament

Arkansas man hooks $100,000 in fourth FLW Fantasy Fishing tournament
Joe Collins of Lowell, Ark., won the $100,000 first-place prize after besting all FLW Fantasy Fishing players in the Beaver Lake contest, the fourth event of the season.

MINNEAPOLIS - Four years ago Joe Collins was between jobs, and to maintain his family's standard of living, he sold his beloved Ranger bass fishing boat. For this serious bass angler who had fished here and there as an amateur in local tournaments, it was no small sacrifice, but one he would willingly do again.

On Sunday, the date of his 24th wedding anniversary, Collins, 56, learned that he may have won $100,000 playing, of all things, FLW Fantasy Fishing. The prize couldn't have come at a better time for Collins and his wife, Denise, who are helping their daughter through college and have taken on the responsibility of raising their grandson, 2-year-old Tucker James.

And maybe, just maybe, there might be a new Ranger fishing boat in his future as well, too.

A manager with Imperial Coffee Services, Inc., from Lowell, Ark., population 5,013, Collins entered the FLW Fantasy Fishing game for the first time on May 13 at the prodding of his daughter. A few days later, he hooked $100,000 in the fourth tournament of FLW Fantasy Fishing, an online game with Joe Collins, an occasional co-angler in FLW Outdoors competition, may be able to replace the Ranger bass boat he sold a few years back with part of the $100,000 he won playing FLW Fantasy Fishing.players from all over the world. Like fantasy football, but with fish, Collins picked 10 professional bass anglers who participated in last weekend's Wal-Mart Open, a premier stop on the Wal-Mart FLW Tour that took place on Beaver Lake in Rogers, Ark.

Collins is now in 4,780th place overall in the FLW Fantasy Fishing tournament, and is in the running for a $1 million grand prize, which will be awarded to the fantasy fishing player who accumulates the most points over the seven tournament season, which concludes in mid-August.

An avid bass angler, Collins learned about FLW Fantasy Fishing from his daughter, Donna Jo, a college student attending the University of Arkansas, who has been dating the brother of local professional bass angler Greg Bohannan, a resident of Rogers, Ark., where Collins grew up.

"My daughter kept egging me on to play," said Collins, "so I finally entered. I'm so excited, I still can't believe I won - especially on my first try."

Using a desktop computer rather than a rod and reel, Collins entered the fantasy fishing game at www.fantasyfishing.com from his home, selecting 10 pro bass anglers from among the 200 pro anglers who participate in the Wal-Mart FLW Tour. Collins earned points based on the real, on-the-water performance of the pros who fished the tour's fourth four-day tournament, which was conducted last weekend at Beaver Lake, located near Rogers, Ark. The Wal-Mart Open was won by pro angler Mark Pack, a Mineola, Texas, resident, fishing for the Chevy team. Pack weighed a total of 21 pounds, 10 ounces of largemouth bass in the final two days of the competition to win a cash prize of $200,000.

Collins not only picked Pack for his fantasy fishing team, he picked him to win the tournament, an exacta, which earned Collins double bonus points. Several years ago, Collins fished with Pack as an amateur co-angler during a FLW Tour tournament on Beaver Lake. It was during that tournament that Collins gained an appreciation for Pack's ability to locate fish during high-water conditions, which were present during this past weekend's tournament.

Collins also relied on local Arkansas pros, Greg Bohannan and George Cochran, who also finished in the top 10 of the Wal-Mart Open at Beaver Lake. Based on the performance of his fantasy fishing team over the four-day tournament, Collins accumulated 8,665 points. Collins' fantasy fishing team included the following pros:

1. Mark Pack
2. Jay Yelas
3. Shinichi Fukae
4. Mark Rose
5. David Dudley
6. Randy Blaukat
7. George Cochran
8. Chris Elliott
9. Greg Bohannan
10. Craig Powers

The win is especially sweet for Collins because the prize money will allow him and his wife to help pay for part of their daughter's college education and help defray some of the costs of raising their grandson. It also may allow him to buy a Ranger Z20 fishing boat as he's been hoping for some time to replace his previous Ranger boat that he decided to sell several years ago.

Coming in second place, with 8,408 points, was James Brown, 26, a Lodi, Calif., resident who won a $5,000 Wal-Mart gift card. Brown is an avid bass angler, too, who learned about FLW Fantasy Fishing through the Internet and by watching "FLW Outdoors," a weekly program on FOX Sports Net.

"We have a new baby, so that $5,000 gift card will go a long way toward diapers and other things for our new daughter, Taitam," Brown said. "I also might pick up a few things for bass fishing too, the next time I'm at Wal-Mart."

Finishing in third place, with 7,582 points, good for a $2,500 U.S. Savings Bond was Granger, Ind., resident Greg Shepard, a finance manager with a local auto dealership in Mishawaka, Ind. Shepard was lured into playing FLW Fantasy Fishing by a group of co-workers. He's played all four FLW Fantasy Fishing tournaments and recently won a $50 Wal-Mart gift card.

"I've played fantasy football before, but I have to tell you, I like fantasy fishing a whole lot more!" said Shepard, who won $60 playing fantasy football. "The funny thing is that I probably know the least about bass fishing compared to the guys here at work who play FLW Fantasy Fishing. If I can win, I guess anyone can win."

For those who don't know much about bass fishing or don't have time to research various FLW bass pros, FLW Fantasy Fishing created Player's Advantage, a season-long subscription to an online research tool for both experts and novices alike. Player's Advantage provides in-depth information about all 200 anglers participating in the FLW Tour, including a ranking of pro anglers who best match up to a tournament lake, as well as a list of local pros.

Joining Collins, more than 580 other participants won prizes in FLW Fantasy Fishing's fourth tournament for a total of 2,340 prizes awarded so far in 2008. More than 4,000 prizes totaling as much as $7.3 million will be awarded during the course of the FLW Fantasy Fishing seven-tournament season. In addition to millions in cash, other prizes such as Ranger boats; a Chevy Silverado; Yamaha and BRP ATVs and personal watercrafts; hundreds of thousands of dollars in Wal-Mart gift cards; tens of thousands of dollars of free BP gasoline and more will be awarded to the players with the highest point totals earned, based on the placement of their team of 10 professional anglers for each tournament.

Other top 10 winners included:

4th place: Marx Elias, Sterling Heights, Mich., 7,582 points
5th place: Chad Schap, Central City, Iowa, 7,440 points
6th place: Tim Wentworth, McAlpin, Fla., 7,386 points
7th place: Michael McGee, Palos Heights, Ill., 7,316 points
8th place: Michael Horner, Springfield, Mo., 7,216 points
9th place: Danny Ochoa, Temecula, Calif., 7184 points
10th place: Bruce Nelson, Flat Rock, N.C., 7,034 points

The highest-scoring non-U.S. winner was Kieren Glazebrook, a resident of Tweeds Head, New South Wales, Australia, who finished in 26th place and was among a number of FLW Fantasy Fishing players from Canada, and the United Kingdom who were to join the ranks of the 585 players to win prizes during the fourth FLW Fantasy Fishing tournament.

Fantasy Fishing Excitement Continues to Build

There's still more excitement to come as the FLW Fantasy Fishing tournament series moves on to its final three tournaments. The next stop is the Fort Loudoun-Tellico Lakes tournament located near Knoxville, Tenn., June 19 - 22, followed by the Chevy Open on the Detroit River, July 10 - 13. The tournament series will climax with triple bonus points awarded for the final tournament in the FLW Fantasy Fishing game, the Forrest Wood Cup.

"Anyone can be a winner regardless of when you start playing FLW Fantasy Fishing - Joe Collins and our previous two winners, Reginald Pickett and John Yandell are perfect examples, said Irwin Jacobs, chairman of FLW Outdoors and creator of FLW Fantasy Fishing.

"There are hundreds of prizes awarded for each tournament and no one is ever out of the running for the $1 million prize," Jacobs added. "It's just like fishing - you never know if your next cast will be the big one."

Fantasy Fishing - How It Works

FLW Fantasy Fishing is free to play and is open to adults, ages 18 and up, throughout the world, wherever it is legal to play. Participants log onto www.fantasyfishing.com and register to enter the game. Players can sign up any time during the season, up until Aug. 13, 2008, the day before the Forrest Wood Cup championship tournament.

Prior to each Wal-Mart FLW Tour tournament, FLW Fantasy Fishing participants select a fantasy team of 10 FLW pro bass anglers. Participants earn points for each tournament, based on the performance (placement in the designated tournament) of their fantasy team pros. Participants can win prizes for an individual tournament as well as accumulate points over seven designated tournaments to be eligible for a $1 million cash prize, which will be awarded to the participant with the highest overall point total for the season. Seven $100,000 first-place prizes go to the participants who earn the most points for each tournament. A $5 million bonus will be paid to the first player to correctly rank the top seven finishers in a tournament. Participants can subscribe to Player's Advantage to get the edge when selecting their team by accessing expert advice, inside information and cutting-edge statistical tools.

The Wal-Mart FLW Tour consists of seven tournaments, including:

-Lake Toho (Kissimmee, Fla.): Feb. 28 - March 2, 2008
-Lewis Smith Lake (Jasper, Ala.): April 3 - 6, 2008
-National Guard Open -- Lake Norman (Charlotte, N.C.): April 24 - 27, 2008
-Wal-Mart Open -- Beaver Lake (Rogers, Ark.): May 15 - 18, 2008
-Fort Loudoun-Tellico Lakes (Knoxville, Tenn.): June 19 - 22, 2008
-Chevy Open -- Detroit River (Detroit, Mich.): July 10 - 13, 2008
-Forrest Wood Cup -- Lake Murray (Columbia, S.C.): Aug. 14 - 17, 2008

About FLW Outdoors

FLW Outdoors® is named after the legendary founder of Ranger® Boats, Forrest L. Wood, and it conducts the following tournament circuits:

-Wal-Mart™ FLW Tour®
-Wal-Mart™ FLW® Series
-Stren™ Series
-Wal-Mart™ Bass Fishing League
-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
-Wal-Mart™ FLW® Striper Series

These circuits offer combined purses of more than $40 million through 230 events in 2008.

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, browse FLWOutdoors.com or call (270) 252-1000.

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