UPCOMING EVENT: ABU GARCIA COLLEGE FISHING - 2020 - Harris Chain of Lakes

Baumgardner leads Stren Series event on Lake Champlain

Baumgardner leads Stren Series event on Lake Champlain
Despite limited practice time, Snickers pro Chris Baumgardner found his way into the lead with 19-13.

PLATTSBURGH, N.Y. - Pro Chris Baumgardner of Gastonia, N.C., caught a five-bass limit weighing 19 pounds, 13 ounces Wednesday to lead opening day of the Stren Series Northern Division tournament on Lake Champlain.

"As far as leading, that's better than being second, I reckon; I still have a long way to go and just hope I can keep it up," said Baumgardner, who has amassed more than $500,000 in career earnings with FLW Outdoors. "I think I had a limit by 9 o'clock and probably caught a dozen to 15 keepers."

Baumgardner caught his bass on a ChatterBait and Zoom Brush Hog in shallow water with wood cover.
"I'm fishing basically one area," Baumgardner said. "It's a pretty big area-I'm just getting in there and fishing hard and plan on doing the same thing tomorrow."

Rounding out the top five pros are John Voyles of Petersburg, Ind. (five bass, 18-06); Christian Romans of Carrollton, Ky. (five bass, 18-02); Jason Ober of Johnstown, Pa. (five bass, 17-15); and Hugh Worth III of Erie, Pa. (five bass, 17-09).

Baumgardner earned $243 for the Snickers Big Bass award in the Pro Division thanks to a 5-pound, 1-ounce bass.

Overall there were 645 bass weighing 1,509 pounds, 10 ounces caught by 150 pros Wednesday. The catch included 108 five-bass limits.

Pros are competing for as much as $65,000, including a 198VX Ranger powered by Evinrude or Yamaha if contingency guidelines are met, and valuable points toward qualifying for the $1 million Stren Series Championship in Branson, Mo., Nov. 5-8 for a shot at $140,000. After four qualifying events are complete in each of the circuit's five divisions, the top 40 pros from each division will advance to the championship. The highest-finishing pro from each division at the championship will also earn a spot in the $2 million 2009 Forrest Wood Cup, where they will compete against top pros from the Wal-Mart FLW Tour, Wal-Mart FLW Series, Wal-Mart Bass Fishing League® and TBF (The Bass Federation) for bass fishing's biggest prize - $1 million.

Tournament pros aren't the only ones winning big this season. With the introduction of FLW Fantasy Fishing™, FLW Outdoors® offers anyone the opportunity to enter for their chance to land the catch of a lifetime with the opportunity to win $7.3 million in cash and prizes. Players can become a virtual pro angler by signing up for Player's Advantage, providing them with exclusive insider information that could guide them to a $100,000 victory at every Wal-Mart FLW Tour® stop and the Forrest Wood Cup. Player's Advantage will give them an edge over the competition and increase their shot for a $1 million cash grand prize that will be awarded to the FLW Fantasy Fishing cumulative points winner. Those who visit FantasyFishing.com today can sign up for Player's Advantage and FLW Outdoors will include a $15 Wal-Mart gift card.

Chris Girouard of Epsom, N.H., leads the Co-angler Division in the chase for a top award of $35,000, including a 198VX Ranger if contingency guidelines are met. He caught five bass weighing 18-02 while fishing with pro James Jeffries of Rouses Point, N.Y., who is currently in 21st place.

"It feels really good to be in the lead-I didn't even know I was still leading, so I hope it's enough to carry me through," Girouard said. "We were just patient in the wind and took our time."

Concentrating on one area, Girouard said he caught his limit fishing tubes in the grass in about 10 feet of water.

"Tomorrow should be similar to today," Girouard said. "I think my pro will be fishing the same type of stuff; he said he's not running down south and staying up north."

Rounding out the top five co-anglers are Thomas Shafer of Pine City, N.Y. (five bass, 16-04); David Ottman of Oswego, N.Y. (five bass, 16-02); James Liao of Ithaca, N.Y. (five bass, 14-09); and Anthony Scrivens of Sunderland, Md. (five bass, 14-03).

Thomas Rizzo of Rochester, Pa., earned $128 for the Snickers Big Bass award in the Co-angler Division thanks to a 5-pound bass.

Overall there were 491 bass weighing 972 pounds, 8 ounces caught by 150 co-anglers Wednesday. The catch included 53 five-bass limits.

The top 40 co-anglers from each Stren Series division will also advance to the championship, where they will fish for as much as $70,000. The highest-finishing co-angler from each division at the championship will then advance to the 2009 Forrest Wood Cup.

Anglers will take off at 6:30 each morning from Dock Street Landing located at 5 Dock St. in Plattsburgh, N.Y. 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 Crete Memorial Civic Center located at Route 9 N. Beach Road in Plattsburgh, N.Y., beginning at 4 p.m. Takeoffs and weigh-ins are free and open to the public.

Stren Series tournaments are four-day events consisting of two rounds. The entire field competes Wednesday, Thursday and Friday. At the conclusion of Friday's weigh-in, the field is cut to the top 10 pros and co-anglers based on the heaviest three-day accumulated weights. These anglers continue competition Saturday, with the winners 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.

FLW Outdoors, named after Forrest L. Wood, the legendary founder of Ranger Boats, is the largest fishing tournament organization in the world. In 2008 alone the organization is offering more than 90,000 anglers the chance to win over $40 million through 230 tournaments in 10 circuits targeting bass, walleye, redfish, kingfish and striped bass. FLW Outdoors is also taking fishing mainstream with the largest cash awards in the history of fantasy sports, $7.3 million.

For more information about FLW Outdoors and its tournaments, call (270) 252-1000. For more information about FLW Fantasy Fishing and Player's Advantage, visit FantasyFishing.com.

Tags: press-release  2008-07-16-lake-champlain 

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