Tight Race In FLW Tour Event


Cheez-It pro Shinichi Fukae of Palestine, Texas, crossed the stage Thursday with a five-bass limit weighing 23 pounds, 11 ounces to lead day one of the Walmart FLW Tour on Lake Chickamauga presented by National Guard. Fukae holds a 6-ounce lead over Clifford Pirch of Payson, Ariz., who caught five bass weighing 23-5 in a tournament featuring 154 anglers from all across the country and Canada.

?Two days of practice I was looking for bedding fish,? said Fukae, who said he was surprised he ended the first day of competition in the lead because he spent the day ?junk fishing? - fishing using a variety of baits or methods. ?But the water level got lower and everything was gone. Then on the third day of practice I found a couple of fish close to the bank. I didn?t have any confidence today, but I do have confidence right now.?

Fukae remained tight-lipped about the methods he used during the first day of competition, although he did say he was fishing near the bank and caught fish both shallow as well as a ?little deeper.? Fukae said his bigger fish came in shallow water and looks for the more of the same with the lower water levels on Friday.

?I think the same thing happened to everybody today,? said Fukae. ?I?ll just go fishing tomorrow.?

Rounding out the top 10 pros after day one on Lake Chickamauga are:

3rd: Tom Monsoor, La Crosse, Wis., five bass, 22-2
4th: Robbie Dodson, Harrison, Ark., five bass, 21-11
5th: Kevin Hawk, Guntersville, Ala., five bass, 20-8
6th: Rusty Trancygier, Hahira, Ga., five bass, 20-3
7th: Chad Morgenthaler, Coulterville, Ill., five bass, 19-8
Kevin Snider, Elizabethtown, Ky., five bass, 19-8
9th: Nicholas Albus, Trinity, Texas, five bass, 19-3
10th: Jay Keith, Camden, S.C., five bass, 19-2
Dereal Rodgers, Camden, S.C., five bass, 19-2

Monsoor caught the Snickers® Big Bass weighing 9-11 in the pro division to win $500.

Overall there were 650 bass weighing 1,867 pounds, 1 ounce caught by 150 pros Thursday. The catch included 104 five-bass limits.

Pros are competing for a top award of up to $125,000 this week plus valuable points in the hope of qualifying for the Forrest Wood Cup presented by Walmart, the world championship of bass fishing. This year?s Cup will be in Hot Springs, Ark., Aug. 11-14 on Lake Ouachita where pros will compete for a top prize of $600,000 ? the sport?s biggest award. Pro anglers are also vying for the prestigious 2011 Walmart FLW Tour Angler of the Year presented by Kellogg?s that will be determined by the most points accumulated over the six Tour Majors with the winner receiving $100,000 for their accomplishment.

Keeton Blaylock of Benton, Ark., leads the Co-angler Division with five bass weighing 18-8 followed by Sean Stepp of Stafford, Va., in second place with five bass weighing 17-13.

Rounding out the top 10 co-anglers are:

3rd: Alton Lackie, Germantown, Tenn., five bass, 16-15
4th: Mark Horton, Nicholasville, Ky., five bass, 15-13
5th: Brant Grimm, Kingsport, Tenn., five bass, 14-10
6th: Chad Pipkens, Holt, Mich., five bass, 13-2
7th: Rich Dalbey, Greenville, Texas, five bass, 13-0
8th: Todd Lee, Jasper, Ala., four bass, 12-15
9th: Van Foster Jr., Dalton, Ga., five bass, 12-13
10th: Dennis Kirby, Lakeland, Tenn., five bass, 12-10

Charlie Evans of Gilbertsville, Ky., caught the Snickers® Big Bass weighing 6-9 in the co-angler division to win $250.

Overall there were 306 bass weighing 766 pounds, 10 ounces caught by 126 co-anglers Thursday. The catch included 15 five-bass limits.

Co-anglers are fishing for a top award of $25,000 this week plus valuable points that could help them qualify for the 2011 Forrest Wood Cup. The Walmart FLW Tour Co-angler of the Year presented by Kellogg?s will be determined by the most points accumulated over the six Tour Majors and the winner will receive a new Ranger 198VX with a 200-horsepower Evinrude or Mercury outboard.

Anglers will take off from Chester Frost Park located at 2318 Gold Point Circle North in Hixson, Tenn. at 7 each morning. Friday?s weigh-in will be held at Chester Frost Park beginning at 3 p.m. Saturday and Sunday?s final weigh-in will be held at the Chattanooga Convention Center located at 1150 Carter St. in Chattanooga beginning at 4 p.m.

Fans will be treated to the FLW Outdoors Expo at the Chattanooga Convention Center on Saturday and Sunday from noon to 4 p.m. prior to the final weigh-ins. The first 300 kids 14 and under on Sunday will receive a free rod and reel combo compliments of US 101. Fans can also register to win a Can-Am ATV courtesy of WDSI Fox 61 which will be given away following the final weigh-in. Fans will also be treated to a free performance on Sunday at 3 p.m. by Thompson Square, who currently have one of the hottest hits on the radio with ?Are You Gonna Kiss Me or Not.? 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.

For regular updates, photos, tournament news and more, follow FLW Outdoors on Facebook at Facebook.com/FLWFishing and on Twitter at Twitter.com/FLWOutdoors.

For more tournament news, click here.

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