DETROIT, Mich.. The world's best professional bass anglers are headed for Detroit, Michigan to compete in the sixth event of Operation Bass' $4 million, 1999 Wal-Mart FLW Tour, June 23-26, 1999, on Lake St. Clair. The tournament is the sixth stop of seven for the tour that is the most lucrative competitive bass fishing series in history, and the richest tournament in Michigan history.
The $1 million Detroit event, presented by EverStart Batteries®, features 300 world class anglers (150 professional and 150 co-anglers) fishing in a four-day, elimination competition, with a $200,000 first place cash award at stake. The all-star field of anglers, comprised of the sport's biggest names, will compete the first two days for one of 10 slots (10 pros and 10 co-anglers) available in the second round of fishing action. On day three,
the 10 pros and 10 co-anglers start over, fishing one day for the heaviest limit. The top five pros, based on total weight, advance to the final round of competition on Saturday. Co-angler competition ends after day three. First prize in the co-angler competition is $40,000.
Indoor weigh-ins will be held daily from 3-5 p.m. Wednesday and Thursday at Metro Beach Metro Park in Mt. Clemens, Michigan. Friday and Saturday's weigh-ins will be held at the Sterling Heights, MI, Wal-Mart. Friday's weigh-in begins at 5 p.m. Activities on Saturday begin at 11:00 a.m.
In addition to the winner receiving $200,000, the top five finishers earn a berth in the $450,000 Wal-Mart FLW Tour Championship, presented by CITGO, September 22-25, 1999, on Ft. Gibson Lake at Wagoner, Oklahoma, where the winner receives the largest first place cash award in pro angling — $250,000. The highest-finishing Ranger boat owner in the tournament will qualify to enter the $3.5 million Ranger M1 Millennium tournament, the richest bass event in history, with for a shot at winning a $1 million
first place cash prize. The Ranger owner who catches the largest bass in each division over the course of the season will also qualify for the Ranger Millennium tournament.
The Land O'Lakes Angler of the Year, overall points champion of the 1999 tour, will be crowned at the conclusion of fishing on day 2 of the Forrest Wood Open. The winning angler will be featured on a special edition box of Wheaties later in the year. David Walker of Cannon, Kentucky, is leading the race by one point; he has 245 points. Craig Powers of Rockwood, Tennessee, follows with 244, Alton Jones of Waco, Texas, is in third with 233, and Roland Martin of Clewiston, Florida, is in fourth with 232.
The third and final day of each event feature the top pros fishing from the new Ranger Comanche fishing machines. The boats represent the newest advances in craftsmanship and technology, and feature dynamic, NASCAR-like, sponsor-centered styling from bow to stern.
All tour events are scheduled to be televised on ESPN approximately two weeks after the tournament. The Wal-Mart FLW Tour Forrest Wood Open will be televised on ESPN, July 17, 1999, Saturday at 12:00 p.m. EDT.
Winning pros and co-anglers from the first five Wal-Mart FLW Tour events, the top five pros and co-anglers from the Forrest Wood Open, and the top 40 pros and co-anglers, based on points and pounds, in the six qualifying events will qualify for the Wal-Mart FLW Tour Championship.
All tournaments operated by Operation Bass are catch and release events. Uniroyal Tire will recognize the live release efforts of the tour by providing a $3 donation for each fish released safely. The program will generate $25,000 for the Children's Miracle Network at the end of the season if the Wal-Mart FLW Tour maintains a 98 percent live release rate.
Sponsors of the 1999 Wal-Mart FLW Tour include: Wal-Mart, Coca-Cola, Land O'Lakes, CITGO Petroleum Products, Chevy Trucks, Uniroyal Tires, Fujifilm, EverStart Batteries, Eveready Flashlights, Black and Decker, Coleman Company, Ranger Boats, Mitchell Rods and Reels, Spiderwire, Evinrude Outboard Motors, Evinrude Electric Trolling Motors, Eagle Electronics, Timex Expedition, Wrangler, Chex Mix, Hamburger Helper, US Bank-VISA, and Wheaties.