DULUTH, Ga. – Pro Kevin Hawk of Ramona, Calif., crossed the stage with a five-bass limit weighing 14 pounds, 12 ounces to lead day one of the Forrest Wood Cup on Lake Lanier. Hawk now holds a four-ounce lead over pro Jason Christie of Park Hill, Okla., who weighed five bass weighing 14-8 in a tournament featuring 78 of the world’s best professional bass anglers.
“Today went really, really well”, said Hawk, who has fished most of his FLW Outdoors career as a co-angler. “I had a fairly good practice, but I didn’t expect to catch the weight I did today.
“In practice I had a lot of fish but I was shaking them off,” Hawk said. “I didn’t want to stick them and have the chance of them not biting during the tournament. I thought I was on about 12 pounds a day. I came out here today and had a little milk run of 30 or 40 (spotted bass).”
Hawk said he would fish an area for five or 10 minutes then pick up the trolling motor and head to another spot. Hawk said he used this method to fill his limit by 10:30 a.m. He began culling and said he had the limit he weighed by noon.
Hawk qualified for the 2010 Forrest Wood Cup as a pro through 2009 FLW Series Western Division competition and soon after moved to the Lake Lanier area. Hawk also fishes the FLW Tour as a co-angler.
“I have confidence in the fact that I think I know what the fish are doing,” Hawk said. “I’m a little worried that I hit a lot of my big fish spots today, so I don’t know if I can get the same quality tomorrow.”
“I started on a place that I really didn’t catch any fish on in practice,” said Christie, who has won more than $314,000 in FLW Outdoors events. “I caught a 2 ½-pounder and then went a while without another fish. About 10 o’clock I ended up catching three more pretty quick. I pretty much had what I weighed in by 11:30.
“I’m really surprised,” Christie added. “My practice was terrible. I think I figured out something today that really helped me for the next couple of days.”
Christie said he relied on the YUM Dinger and the YUM Houdini Worm for his bites on the first day of competition.
“I’ve got three rods on the deck and that’s pretty much all I’m fishing,” Christie said.
Rounding out the top-10 pros after day one on Lake Lanier are:
3rd: J.T. Kenney, Palm Bay, Fla., five bass, 14-6
4th: Cody Meyer, Grass Valley, Calif., five bass, 14-3
5th: Ott Defoe, Knoxville, Tenn., five bass, 13-10
6th: Jason Meninger, Gainesville, Ga., five bass, 13-3
7th: Brian Travis, Conover, N.C., five bass, 13-2
8th: Chevy pro Larry Nixon, Bee Branch, Ark., five bass, 12-10
9th: National Guard pro Brent Ehrler, Redlands, Calif., five bass, 12-9
10th: Castrol pro David Dudley, Lynchburg, Va., five bass, 11-14
Overall there were 253 bass weighing 537 pounds, 7 ounces caught by 72 pros Wednesday. The catch included 27 five-bass limits.
Pros are competing for the title of Forrest Wood Cup champion, the most prestigious award in professional bass fishing, as well as a top award of up to $600,000 — the sport’s biggest award.
J.R. Wright of Truckee, Calif., leads the Co-angler Division with five bass weighing 12-5 followed by Brandon Hunter of Benton, Ky., in second place with five bass weighing 9-5.
Rounding out the top-10 Co-anglers are:
3rd: Dearal Rodgers, Camden, S.C., five bass, 8-15
4th: Frank Divis Sr., Fayetteville, Ark., three bass, 8-12
5th: John Niedosik, Avondale, Ariz., three bass, 8-7
6th: Gayle Janes, Bermuda Dunes, Calif., five bass, 8-0
7th: Taylor Thompson, Half Moon Bay, Calif., five bass, 7-14
8th: Kevin Koone, Greenbrier, Ark., four bass, 6-12
9th: Paul Mueller, Southbury, Conn., four bass, 6-11
10th: Jeff Grant, La Mirada, Calif., four bass, 6-9
Overall there were 113 bass weighing 216 pounds, 13 ounces caught by 56 co-anglers Thursday. The catch included five five-bass limits.
Co-anglers are fishing for a top award of $60,000 this week.
Daily takeoff ceremonies will be held at Laurel Park, located at 3100 Old Cleveland Hwy. in Gainesville, Ga., each morning from 6:30 to 7 a.m. Takeoffs will commence at 7 a.m. Weigh-ins will be held daily at 5 p.m. at The Arena at Gwinnett Center located at 6400 Sugarloaf Pkwy. in Duluth, Ga.
The FLW Outdoors Expo will be held in conjunction with the Forrest Wood Cup at the Gwinnett Convention Center on Friday from noon to 5 p.m. and Saturday and Sunday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. FLW Outdoors Expo includes Ranger boat simulators, angler seminars, the opportunity to meet professional anglers, see and test the latest outdoor equipment, enjoy interactive games, activities and giveaways provided by sponsors, and learn more about the sport of fishing and other outdoor activities. All activities are free and open to the public.
Fishing fans can register to win a Ranger boat that will be given away after the champion is crowned. Fans can register to win at ForrestWoodCup.com and must be present to win.
Visit ForrestWoodCup.com for Forrest Wood Cup details and updated information.
Coverage of the Forrest Wood Cup at Lake Lanier will be broadcast in high-definition (HD) on VERSUS. “FLW Outdoors,” will air Dec. 26 from 12:30 to 1:30 ET. “FLW Outdoors,” hosted by Jason Harper, is broadcast to approximately 500 million households worldwide.
About FLW Outdoors
FLW Outdoors, named after Forrest L. Wood, the legendary founder of Ranger Boats, is the largest fishing tournament organization in the world offering anglers worldwide the opportunity to compete for millions over the course of 189 tournaments in 2010. FLW Outdoors has also taken fishing mainstream with FLW Fantasy Fishing awarding the largest prizes in the history of fantasy sports. FLW Outdoors memberships are available featuring numerous benefits including Player’s Advantage. For more information about FLW Outdoors and its tournaments, call (270) 252-1000. For more information about FLW Fantasy Fishing, visit FantasyFishing.com.