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    Walmart FLW Tour

    LAKE TOHO (Jan. 7-10, 1998)


    Hogue Wins $400,000 Wal-Mart FLW Tour Opener


    KISSIMMEE/ST. CLOUD, Fla.--Don Hogue, Jr of Columbiana, Alabama, has collected $100,000 by taking first place in the first event of the 1998 Wal-Mart FLW Tour bass fishing series held on Kissimmee/St. Cloud's Lake Toho.

    The tournament, which features the world's top professional bass anglers competing for share of a $400,000 purse, is the first stop of seven in the $3.65 million series, the most lucrative in fishing history.

    Hogue survived two earlier rounds of competition and 164 other anglers enroute to the Wal-Mart FLW Tour victory. The professional angler landed 5 bass, weighing 16 pounds, 8 ounces in the final round of competition to edge out the four other anglers competing in the final round of the professional division and clinch the title.

    "The Wal-Mart FLW Tour just keeps getting bigger and bigger. I couldn't be happier with the tour and my win today," said Hogue. Hogue caught his fish on a Carolina-rigged lizard, fishing above the lock on Lake Toho.

    Randy Blaukat of Joplin, Missouri, took second place with a championship round catch of 5 bass weighing 15 pounds, 15 ounces, good for $40,000. Blaukat used a Megabass Vibration X, Lucky Strike Enforcer lizard, and a Lunker Lure Vibratron spinnerbait to catch his fish.

    Rounding out the top five in the Wal-Mart FLW Tour's professional division were: Keith Green of Arkadelphia, Arkansas, third place, 11 pounds, 11 ounces, $20,000; Cecil Kingsley of Lawrence, Kansas, fourth place, 11 pounds, 4 ounces, $15,000; and Steve Daniel of Clewiston, Florida, fifth place, $10,000. Daniel failed to weigh in a keeper in the final round.

    The win gives Hogue an automatic berth in the year-end Wal-Mart FLW Tour Championship, presented by CITGO, September 16-19, 1998, in Moline, Illinois, where the winner will receive $250,000, the largest first place cash prize in sport fishing history. Hogue also receives 50 points in the Land O' Lakes angler-of-the-year race. The winner of the angler-of-the-year competition will receive an Evinrude-powered Ranger bass boat.

    Frank Hyla of Lemont, IL, won the amateur division competition which concluded Friday with 5 bass catch totaling 19 pounds, 15 ounces. Hyla collected $15,000 and 50 Spiderwire Angler-of-the-Year points for the win. The amateur angler-of-the-year on the Wal-Mart FLW Tour wins a fully-rigged Ranger bass boat, powered by an Evinrude Ficht outboard.

    The third year Wal-Mart FLW Tour is the most lucrative bass fishing series in the history of the sport. Highlights of 1998 tour include: four $400,000 qualifying tournaments, each with a $100,000 first prize; the $600,000 Wal-Mart Open, April 1-4 featuring a $150,000 first place prize; and competitive angling's richest tournament, the $1 million Forrest Wood Open, June 17-20, in Hartford, Connecticut.