March 10, 2005

Herren retains Wal-Mart FLW Tour lead on Ouachita River

MONROE, La. - Matt Herren of Trussville, Ala., retained his lead in the $900,000 Wal-Mart FLW Tour stop presented by 7 UP on the Ouachita River Thursday with a two-day total of nine bass weighing 36 pounds, 6 ounces. The Wal-Mart Bass Fishing League Bama Division standout and two-time Forrest L. Wood Championship qualifier now leads 10 pros into the final two days of competition. All 10 finalists will start back at zero weight Friday, and the pro with the heaviest two-day cumulative weight will earn $100,000 Saturday. The winning co-angler will earn $20,000 cash Friday.

Herren made a return trip to Felsenthal National Wildlife Refuge in southern Arkansas on day two to mine the same productive water that produced a tournament-leading catch of five bass weighing 24 pounds, 14 ounces Wednesday. This time the 70 mile run paid off with four bass weighing 11 pounds, 8 ounces. His fifth fish, a 6-pounder, pulled off.

"I fished one hour, caught four, then left to look for new water," said Herren, who has earned 11 BFL top-10s since 1996. "When the current runs through these swamps, it positions the fish and makes them real predictable. But today we lost the current because the water is back at normal pool in Felsenthal."

Herren is using a prototype Davis M-Series jig and a Net Bait chunk trailer. He also appears to have two patterns working - one producing fish that are relating to current and another producing spawning bass. Exactly what the patterns are, however, will remain a mystery for now. "I'm fishing a certain kind of tree in a certain kind of place," he said.

Mike Hawkes of Sabinal, Texas, jumped from seventh into second with the day's second heaviest limit - 17 pounds, 7 ounces - for an opening-round total of 10 bass weighing 34 pounds, 7 ounces. The days heaviest catch, however, belonged to Greg Hackney of Gonzales, La., who jumped from 141st to 20th with a 19-pound, 12-ounce limit that boosted his total to seven bass weighing 23 pounds, 14 ounces.

Jeremiah Kindy of Benton, Ark., claimed the No. 3 qualifying spot with a two-day total of 10 bass weighing 32 pounds, 13 ounces. He landed 16 pounds, 8 ounces Wednesday and 16 pounds, 5 ounces Thursday while fishing in the same area of Felsenthal as Herren. "We've probably caught 70 pounds in one little drain," Kindy said.

Mickey Bruce of Buford, Ga. (10 bass, 30 pounds, 3 ounces) and William Davis of Russellville, Ala. (10 bass, 29 pounds, 8 ounces) rounded out the top five pros.

The Energizer Keeps on Going Award went to Lawry's pro Jason Kilpatrick for jumping from 56th place on opening day to qualify for the final round as the No. 8 angler with 10 bass weighing 28 pounds, 14 ounces.

Robert Karbas Jr. of Wake Forest, N.C., earned the day's Snickers Big Bass award of $750 in the Pro Division with a 7-pound largemouth that he caught swimming a homemade 1/2-ounce jig while fishing in Felsenthal. Karbas also earned the overall Snickers Big Bass award of $1,000 for catching the heaviest bass in either division during the opening round.

Robert Hester II of Walnut Cove, N.C., leads the Co-angler Division thanks to a two-day catch of seven bass weighing 17 pounds, 11 ounces. Hester caught four bass weighing 8 pounds, 12 ounces Wednesday while fishing with Bobby Lane of Lakeland, Fla., then added three bass weighing 8 pounds, 15 ounces to his total Thursday while fishing with Hackney.

"I don't care if I catch a fish tomorrow," Hester said. "This is my first top 10, and I'm just thrilled to be going out."

Rounding out the top five co-anglers are Merle Wells Jr. of Hammond, N.Y. (nine bass, 16 pounds, 10 ounces); Roy Altman Jr. of Augusta, Ga. (six bass, 15 pounds, 14 ounces); Bruce Dale of Jamestown, Ohio (seven bass, 13 pounds, 10 ounces); and Todd Lee of Jasper, Ala. (six bass, 13 pounds, 8 ounces).

Bill Barrett of Sarasota, Fla., and Randy Clark of Mobile, Ala., tied for the Snickers Big Bass award in the Co-angler Division with 5-pound, 8-ounce fish. Each man earned $187.50 for his catch.

Anglers will take off from Forsythe Park in Monroe each morning at 7. Friday and Saturday's weigh-ins will be held at the Wal-Mart store located at 2701 Louisville Avenue in Monroe beginning at 5 p.m. and 3 p.m., respectively.

The community is invited to attend the free Family Fun Zone Friday and Saturday outside the weigh-in tent in the Wal-Mart parking lot. The Family Fun Zone, which opens at 3 p.m. Friday and 11 a.m. Saturday, features interactive displays, product samples and games for the entire family to enjoy.

In addition to a top award of $100,000 and cash awards of at least $10,000 through 50th place in the Pro Division, anglers are also competing for valuable points that determine Land O Lakes Angler of the Year standings and the field for the 2005 Forrest L. Wood Championship, set for July 13-16 in Hot Springs, Ark., on Lake Hamilton. The $1.5 million championship presented by Castrol awards the winning pro $500,000 cash, the sport's largest payout, and features a world-class outdoor show.

Complete coverage of the FLW Tour is broadcast to 82 million FSN subscribers as part of the "FLW Outdoors" television program. "FLW Outdoors" airs Sundays at 11 a.m. Eastern time.

Named after the legendary founder of Ranger Boats, Forrest L. Wood, FLW Outdoors administers the Wal-Mart FLW Tour and seven other national tournament circuits offering a combined $30 million in awards through 214 events in 2005. The 27-year-old organization is the purveyor of America's largest and most prestigious fishing tournaments, including the Wal-Mart FLW Tour, EverStart Series, Wal-Mart Bass Fishing League, Wal-Mart Texas Tournament Trail, Wal-Mart FLW Walleye Tour, Wal-Mart FLW Walleye League, Wal-Mart FLW Kingfish Tour and Wal-Mart FLW Redfish Series.

Wal-Mart and many of America's largest and most respected companies support FLW Outdoors and its tournament trails. Wal-Mart signed on as title sponsor of the FLW Tour in 1997 and today is the title sponsor of all FLW Outdoors events.

For more information on Wal-Mart, visit For more information on FLW Outdoors and its tournament programs, peruse or call (270) 252-1000. For more information on FSN, visit

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Posted by DODGE at March 10, 2005 02:46 PM in Tournament (FLW)