UPCOMING EVENT: TOYOTA SERIES - 2020 - Lake Eufaula

Mann Jr. leads Walmart FLW Tour Chevy Open on Lake Guntersville

HUNTSVILLE, Ala. - Pro Tom Mann Jr. of Buford, Ga., caught a five-bass limit weighing 21 pounds, 7 ounces Friday to capture the lead in the Walmart FLW Tour's $1.1 million Chevy Open on Lake Guntersville with a two-day catch of 10 bass weighing 46-12. He now holds a slim 4-ounce lead in the tournament featuring 150 pros and 150 co-anglers from across the United States, Mexico, Canada and Japan.

"Yesterday by 10 a.m. my co-angler and I had more than 20 pounds," said Mann, who has won more than a half million dollars in FLW Outdoors events. "We were culling 3-pounders and laughing it up and having a big time. But that didn't happen today. I told him today `They're going to bite, but we've got to let the water warm up and the traffic die down.' And we fished like we wanted to and the bigger ones bit this afternoon."

Mann said fishing was slower on the second day of competition until the water warmed to about 50 degrees in the afternoon. Many anglers had commented on water temperatures rising to around 53 or 54 degrees during the first day of competition and said the warming trend was key to their bites.

"These fish are prespawn and full of eggs and are at least three or four weeks away from spawning," said Mann, who said most of his fish came on a Rattlin' Rapala, while a few came on a Senko worked slowly. "Along with the water temperatures, the key is finding just the right area. I've got about a 200-yard stretch that has greener hydrilla and milfoil mixed. 200 yards down the bank it's brown and dead and 200 yards upshore it's the same way. If you do catch a bass in those areas, it's a 2-pounder.

"My main concern tomorrow will be the local traffic," Mann continued. "There are a lot of tournaments going out tomorrow, and even though I'm way up the river, I know there will be a lot of guys in there."

Scott Canterbury of Springville, Ala., advanced to the final round of 10 pros in the No. 2 spot with a two-day total of 10 bass weighing 46-8.

"Today was amazing," said Canterbury, who has 15 top-10 finishes in FLW Outdoors events. "It was just like yesterday. I started on a little place that I didn't really know was as good as it is."

Canterbury's first day of competition resulted in a strong showing, so he returned to the spot to start the second day in hopes of continuing his streak of heavy keepers.

"I caught a 7-pounder and my co-angler caught a 6 1/2-pounder, and I had 22 pounds there again today," Canterbury said. "I stopped at a secondary place on the way back and culled a fish with a 5-pounder and ended up with 24 pounds. It's been the most amazing week so far that I could imagine."

Canterbury said he has used three different types of lipless crankbaits to cover a variety of depths and to fit specific fishing situations.

"I've got an area with scattered grass all around," Canterbury said. "As I started fishing it during the tournament, I've gotten hung on stumps in it. I think that's the biggest key."

Rounding out the top five pros who will continue competition Saturday and Sunday are David Fritts of Lexington, N.C. (10 bass, 45-2); Sam Newby of Pocola, Okla. (10 bass, 44-11); and Team BP pro David Walker of Sevierville, Tenn. (10 bass, 41-14).

Also clearing the top-10 cut weight of 40 pounds, 12 ounces and adding to this already power-packed top-10 field are Team National Guard pro Ramie Colson of Cadiz, Ky.; Team Castrol High Mileage pro David Dudley of Lynchburg, Va.; Craig Dowling of Grant, Ala.; Team Castrol pro Mike Surman of Boca Raton, Fla.; and John Tanner of Quitman, Texas.

Art Ferguson of St. Clair Shores, Mich., earned the day's $1,000 Folgers Big Bass award in the Pro Division thanks to a 7-pound, 15-ounce bass.

Pros are competing for a top award of $200,000 this week plus valuable points in the hope of qualifying for $2 million Forrest Wood Cup presented by Castrol and BP, which will be held July 30-Aug. 2 on the Three Rivers in Pittsburgh, Pa., where they could win as much as $1 million - the sport's biggest award.

Team BP co-angler Judy Israel of Wimauma, Fla., leads the Co-angler Division with an opening-round total of nine bass weighing 37 pounds, 9 ounces, followed by Greg Schultz of Wayzata, Minn., in second place with nine bass weighing 36-12.

"At about 1 p.m. I had four fish," said Israel, who became the first woman to win a Tour event at the 2004 Atchafalaya event. "I caught my big one on a lipless crankbait. When I caught it, I told Carl (Svebek) `It's got to be eight pounds. It's so big. It's so big.'

"Afterward, I started thinking it was smaller than that," Israel continued. "I thought it was only a 7-pounder. And then I put my fish on the scales and was shocked to know that I had over 26 pounds and the big one was over nine pounds. That turns out to be my largest sack and my largest fish I've ever weighed in an event. I'm ecstatic."

Rounding out the top five co-anglers are Terry Chapman of Stanley, N.C. (nine bass, 36-6); Fred Martin of North Little Rock, Ark. (seven bass, 34-13) and Team National Guard co-angler Justin Lucas of Folsom, Calif. (10 bass, 34-3).

Also clearing the top-10 cut weight of 29 pounds, 4 ounces in the Co-angler Division are Team BP co-angler Kevin Koone of Greenbrier, Ark.; Bill Bade of Omaha, Neb.; Thomas Helton of Charleston, Tenn.; Sam Mitchiner of Garner, N.C.; and Scott Gibson of Wiggins, Miss.

Israel earned $500 for the day's Folgers Big Bass award in the Co-angler Division thanks to a 9-pound, 6-ounce bass she caught while fishing with Team Castrol pro Carl Svebek of Siloam Springs, Ark.

Co-anglers are fishing for a top award of $40,000 this week.

Anglers will take off at 7 a.m. Saturday and Sunday from Lake Guntersville Resort State Park Resort in Guntersville, Ala., located at 1155 Lodge Drive in Guntersville. Saturday and Sunday's weigh-ins will be held at the Von Braun Center located at700 Monroe St. in Huntsville, Ala., beginning at 4 p.m.

In conjunction with the weigh-ins Saturday and Sunday, FLW Outdoors will host a free Family Fun Zone and outdoor show at the Von Braun Center begining at noon each day. The Family Fun Zone offers fans a chance to meet their Fantasy Fishing team anglers face-to-face and review the latest products from Berkley, Lowrance, Ranger, Evinrude, Yamaha and other sponsors while children are treated to giveaways, fishing themed games and rides like the Ranger Boat simulator. Children 14 and under visiting the Family Fun Zone on Sunday will receive a free rod and reel combo while supplies last. One lucky member of the audience will even win a new Ranger boat during the final 4 p.m. weigh-in Sunday, Feb. 15. Admission is free, and you must be present to win.

In FLW Tour 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 full field competes in the two-day opening round for one of 10 slots in Saturday's competition based on their two-day accumulated weight. Weights are cleared for day three, and co-angler competition concludes following Saturday's weigh-in. The top 10 pros continue competition Sunday, with the winner determined by the heaviest accumulated weight from days three and four.

The total purse for the Chevy Open event at Lake Guntersville is more than $1.1 million, including $10,000 through 50th place in the Pro Division.

Coverage of the tournament, hosted by the Huntsville/Madison County Convention & Visitors Bureau, will be broadcast on Versus, the network which brings anglers the best fishing programming on television featuring the most-trusted authorities on the water. The Emmy-nominated "FLW Outdoors," will air April 5 from 12:30 to 1:30 ET. "FLW Outdoors," hosted by Jason Harper, is also broadcast internationally through agreements with WFN (World Fishing Network) and Matchroom Sport to more than 429 million households in such countries as Canada, Germany, China, South Africa, Australia, Malaysia, Russia, Hungary and the United Kingdom, making it the most widely distributed weekly outdoor-sports television show in the world.

The FLW Tour will award more than $8 million cash to the world's top bass anglers in 2009. Regular season competition includes three qualifiers and three opens. Each event takes anglers a step closer to the $2 million Forrest Wood Cup presented by Castrol, which will be held July 30-Aug. 2 on the Three Rivers in Pittsburgh, Pa. The prestigious championship and outdoor show hosted by Visit Pittsburgh will feature 77 pros, 77 co-anglers and bass fishing's largest cash award - a potential $1 million first-place prize for the winning pro.

FLW Outdoors, named after Forrest L. Wood, the legendary founder of Ranger Boats, is the largest fishing tournament organization in the world. FLW Outdoors also is taking fishing mainstream with FLW Fantasy Fishing, offering the largest awards possible in the history of fantasy sports, $10 million in cash and prizes. Sign up for Player's Advantage for only $10 to get your edge and win.

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

Tags: press-release  2009-02-12-lake-guntersville 

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