HOT SPRINGS, Ark. – National Guard pro Scott Martin of Clewiston, Fla., crossed the stage with a five-bass limit weighing 19 pounds, 2 ounces to lead day one of the Forrest Wood Cup presented by Walmart on Lake Ouachita. Martin now holds a 1-pound, 1-ounce lead over Diet Mt. Dew pro Jason Christie of Park Hill, Okla., who weighed five bass weighing 18-1 in a tournament featuring 58 of the world’s best professional bass anglers.
“I came over in pre-practice and was very surprised at the quality of fish that were biting in this lake,” said Martin, who is competing in his 11th Forrest Wood Cup. “I came back for the official practice and fished for three days and felt pretty good about it.
“Today I went to one of my areas and caught them really good this morning by about 9:00,” Martin added.
Martin’s smallest fish in his limit was a 3 ½-pounder and he didn’t want to “burn” any more quality fish, so he spent the rest of the day looking for new areas to fish and scouting the amount of fishing pressure his other areas were getting.
Martin said his first-day catch and cooler air temperatures have boosted his confidence about the rest of the tournament.
“I think (the weather) helped everybody,” Martin said. “Any time you have a cloudy, cool day in August when it’s been 110 degrees it’s going to be beneficial. Hopefully the weather will stay like it was today for the next few days. We’ll see what happens.
“I feel like in the area I’m fishing right now I can catch another bag like the one I caught today or even a third-day bag like that,” Martin added. “I feel like there’s the opportunity for that. That being said, I have quite a few more areas that had fish in them that I didn’t even get to fish today. I’m not out of fish and I’m not out of spots to look for them.”
Rounding out the top-10 pros after day one on Lake Ouachita are:
3rd: Brandon Coulter, Knoxville, Tenn., five bass, 18-0
4th: Chevy pro Jay Yelas, Corvallis, Ore., five bass, 17-5
5th: EverStart pro Randall Tharp, Gardendale, Ala., five bass, 16-0
6th: National Guard pro Justin Lucas, Guntersville, Ala., five bass, 14-14
7th: Jon Strelic, El Cajon, Calif., five bass, 14-12
8th: Jacob Wheeler, Indianapolis, Ind., five bass, 14-10
9th: National Guard pro Mark Rose, Marion, Ark., five bass, 14-9
10th: Cody Meyer, Grass Valley, Calif., five bass, 14-2
Overall there were 244 bass weighing 588 pounds, 9 ounces caught by 56 pros Wednesday. The catch included 39 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.
Spencer Shuffield of Bismarck, Ark., leads the Co-angler Division with five bass weighing 14-8 followed by Matthew Nadeau of Grass Valley, Calif., in second place with four bass weighing 12-12.
Rounding out the top-10 Co-anglers are:
3rd: Mike Helton, Jeffersonville, Ind., four bass, 12-7
4th: George Kapiton, Inverness, Fla., five bass, 11-8
5th: Patrick Bone, Cleveland, Ga., five bass, 10-14
6th: Shane Winchester, Glasgow, Ky., four bass, 10-9
7th: Ralph Mulleins, Cumberland, Va., five bass, 10-8
8th: Chris Hults, Vancleave, Miss., five bass, 10-3
9th: J.R. Wright, Truckee, Calif., five bass, 10-1
10th: Dakota Lucy, Hot Springs, Ark., five bass, 9-6
Overall there were 143 bass weighing 313 pounds, 3 ounces caught by 52 co-anglers Thursday. The catch included nine five-bass limits.
Co-anglers are fishing for a top award of $60,000 this week.
Anglers will take off from Brady Mountain Resort & Marina located at 4120 Brady Mountain Rd. in Royal, Ark., at 6:30 each morning. Daily weigh-ins will also be held at Summit Arena & Hot Springs Convention Center located at 134 Convention Blvd., in Hot Springs beginning at 5 p.m.
Fans will be treated to the FLW Outdoors Expo at the Summit Arena & Hot Springs Convention Center prior to the final weigh-ins on Friday from noon to 5 p.m. and on Saturday and Sunday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. The first 1,500 kids 14 and under on Sunday will receive a free Zebco rod and reel combo compliments of US97. Fans can also register to win a fully rigged Ranger Z520 courtesy of the Arkansas Democrat Gazette which will be given away following the final weigh-in. The Expo includes Ranger boat simulators, the opportunity to interact with professional anglers, enjoy interactive games, activities and giveaways provided by sponsors, and fans can learn more about the sport of fishing and other outdoor activities. All activities are free and open to the public.
Coverage of the 2011 Forrest Wood Cup will be broadcast in high-definition (HD) on VERSUS. “FLW Outdoors” will air Sept. 25 from 1 to 2 p.m. ET. “FLW Outdoors,” hosted by Jason Harper, is broadcast to more than 500 million households worldwide.
For regular updates, photos, tournament news and more, follow FLW Outdoors on Facebook at Facebook.com/FLWFishing and on Twitter at Twitter.com/FLWOutdoors.
ABOUT FLW OUTDOORS
FLW Outdoors is the best in fishing, on and off the water. Anglers worldwide can compete for millions over the course of 191 tournaments in 2011. FLW Outdoors has taken fishing mainstream with the world’s richest fantasy sports game, FLW Fantasy Fishing presented by Straight Talk, where competitors can play for free as well as sign up for Player’s Advantage to gain an edge. For more information about FLW Outdoors and FLW Fantasy Fishing, visit FLWOutdoors.com or FantasyFishing.com.