DETROIT,Mich., Davis Reault of Livonia, Michigan, landed five bass weighing 19 pounds, 7 ounces, in the opening round of bass fishing action on Michigan's Lake St. Clair to take the first day lead in the $1 million Forrest Wood Open. The event is the sixth stop on the Wal-Mart FLW Tour and the most lucrative bass fishing tournament in history.
Reault is competing against 149 other anglers in the Pro division of the event, named for the founder of Ranger Boats, for one of 10 slots available in the second round of the unique elimination bass tournament that features the largest purse in the history of sport fishing and one of the largest first place cash awards in competitive bass angling -- $200,000.
John Bruce of Buford, Georgia, is leading the 150-man Co. Angler division with five bass weighing 16 pounds, 15 ounces. Co. Anglers are vying for a share of $160,000, with $40,000 going to the winner. The 10 Professional and 10 Co. Anglers, based on total weight after two days of fishing, will advance to the competition's second round on Friday. Thursday's weigh-in will be held at Metro Beach Park; Friday and Saturday's weigh-ins will be held at the Sterling Heights Wal-Mart, located at 44575 Mound Road, Sterling Heights, Michigan. Thursday's weigh-in will begin at 3:00 p.m., Friday's weigh-in takes place at 5:00 p.m., and Saturday's weigh-in begins at 3:30 p.m., with activities beginning at 11:00 a.m. At the end of Friday's fishing, the Co. Angler competition is concluded and the Pro field is cut to the "Final Five." Saturday's final round of competition will determine the winner of the Pro Division based on total weight for that day.
Randy Morris of Garfield, Arkansas, landed the big bass in the Pro Division on day one with a bass weighing 5 pounds, 7 ounces, good for $1250. The angler (pro or co-angler) who catches the big bass of the event will receive $1,000 from Coca-Cola. Coca-Cola will award $5,000 to the angler landing the biggest bass during the 1999 tour. Jim Moynagh of Carver, Minnesota, is the current leader with an 10 pound, 4 ounce bass.
David Walker of Cannon, Kentucky, is leading the Land O Lakes Angler-of-the-Year race with 245 points. Points are awarded to anglers after the first two days of competition based on ranking at that time. Craig Powers of Rockwood, Tennessee, is following with 244 points. Alton Jones of Waco, Texas, is in third with 233 points, followed by Roland Martin of Clewiston, Florida, with 232 points.
The Land O Lakes Angler-of-the-Year will be featured on a special edition box of Wheaties later in the year, only the second time in the brand's 75-year history. The Angler-of-the-Year will be determined at the end of fishing on Thursday.
The top five anglers in the Pro and Co-Angler divisions will qualify for the Wal-Mart FLW Tour Championship, presented by CITGO, September 22-25, 1999, on Ft. Gibson Lake in Wagnoner, Oklahoma, where the winning angler will receive the largest cash award in competitive fishing $250,000.
The highest-finishing Ranger boat owner in the tournament will qualify to enter the $3.5 million Ranger M1 Millennium tournament November 4-7, 1999, to be held at Florida's Cypress Gardens. The M1 tournament will be the richest bass event in history, with the winning Pro angler receiving up to $1 million for first place. 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.
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. The Forrest Wood Open is presented by EverStart Batteries.