UPCOMING EVENT: YETI FLW COLLEGE FISHING - 2019 - Sam Rayburn Reservoir

FISHING LEAGUE WORLDWIDE

In search of Roosevelt’s reward

Final-day takeoff at the FLW Series event on Lake Roosevelt commences.

PAYSON, Ariz. - As the top five pro finalists departed the Cholla Recreation Site marina shortly after 7 a.m. amidst bluebird skies, sunny conditions and light winds, the remaining competitors had but one thought on their minds - capturing the elusive FLW Series tournament title.

To be sure it's been a hard-fought week of competition. During the opening round, anglers were hit with severe storms that completely changed the complexion of the bass bite. On the second day of tournament action, anglers were forced to deal with the aftermath of the storm, including muddied waters and scattered bass. By day three things began to settle down as a high-pressure front moved in. However, all along, the bass bite has been tough - with sacks greater than 13 pounds virtually nonexistent.

Day-three FLW Series leader Keith Espe hopes to retain his overall lead and walk away with a tournament title after todayHowever, throughout the turmoil, one competitor has risen above the rest - local pro Keith Espe of New River, Ariz. Currently Espe leads all pro finalists with a total three-day catch of 35 pounds, 8 ounces. Boasting a 31/2-pound lead and fishing in one of the biggest tournaments of his career, Espe is now poised to finally make his mark.

"I'm tingling right now. I'm pretty excited," said Espe. "I'm running to Wild Cat Ridge today to a spot I found with my father five years ago. Unfortunately he passed away in February but I feel like he's been with me all week. I'll be fishing a channel in about 19 to 23 feet of water, targeting fish on the outside of a channel bend."

Espe said he's going to stick with his two go-to baits: a Wave Tiki Bamboo stick worm and a Morning Dawn Robo worm.

Although Espe agreed that anything can happen out on the water today, he took some time to speak about just what a FLW Series tournament title would mean to him.

"I've won lots of tournaments before but nothing like this," he said. "I've been dreaming about winning a tournament like this for a long time. It would mean more to me than words can describe."

However, in order to pull off the victory, Espe knows that he has to have one more successful day on the water.

"I'd like to see 12 pounds today," he said. "If I can get that, it's going to be hard to catch me."

Rounding out the top five pro competitors: Robert Lee of Angels Camp, Calif. (second place - 31 pounds, 13 ounces); Brent Ehrler of Redlands, Calif., (third place - 31 pounds, 9 ounces); Jimmy Savoini of Prescott, Ariz., (fourth place - 30 pounds, 5 ounces); and Tim Klinger of Boulder City, Nev., (fifth place - 29 pounds, 15 ounces).

Tourney format

The top five FLW Series pros get ready for the start of the final day of tournament action on Lake Roosevelt.The top five pros will fish from approximately 7 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. during today's competition. The pro winner will be determined by the heaviest accumulated weight from all four days.

Finalists will be battling for a top award of up to $50,000 in addition to competing for valuable points in the hope of gaining an automatic berth into the 2011 Forrest Wood Cup, one of the most prestigious championships in all of bass fishing. Specifically, the top-10 pros and co-anglers in the overall Western Division year-end point standings after this event will qualify for next year's championship.

FLW Series finalist head toward the open waters of Lake Roosevelt.Bass-fishing fans take note

Today's final weigh-in will be held at Chapman Auto Center, located at 198 N. Beeline Highway in Payson, Ariz., beginning at 4 p.m.

Fans will be treated to a Family Fun Zone at Chapman Auto Center prior to the final weigh-in from noon to 4 p.m. There will be a drawing for a $300 Cabela's gift card and drawings for rod-and-reel combos will be held every 30 minutes during the event. Activities in the Family Fun Zone include a Ranger boat simulator and assorted fishing-themed games.

All activities are free and open to the public.

Want to watch the weigh in live but can't make it in person? Then tune into FLW Live on FLWOutdoors.com shortly before 4 p.m. Pacific Time to watch live streaming video and audio of today's opening-round weigh in.

Coverage of the Lake Roosevelt tournament will be broadcast in high-definition (HD) on VERSUS. "FLW Outdoors," will air Oct. 31 from 12:30 to 1:30 ET. "FLW Outdoors," hosted by Jason Harper, is broadcast to approximately 500 million households worldwide.

A full moon greeted FLW Series pros during the final day of competition on Lake Roosevelt.Vital statistics:

Sunrise: 6:15 a.m.
Temperature at takeoff: 67 degrees
Water temperature: 82-85
Expected high temperature: 91 degrees
Wind: From the east-northeast at 7 mph
Humidity: 19 percent
Day's outlook: Sunny

Tags: gary-mortenson  morning-story  2010-09-22-lake-roosevelt 

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