(Mar 3, 2016 - ANDERSON, S.C.)
The second tournament of the 21st season of the Walmart FLW Tour, the most competitive circuit in professional bass-fishing, continues March 17-20 with the Walmart FLW Tour at Lake Hartwell presented by Evinrude. Hosted by the Anderson Convention & Visitors Bureau, the tournament will feature 170 of the world’s best bass-fishing professionals and co-anglers casting for top awards of up to $125,000 cash in the pro division and up to $25,000 cash in the co-angler division.
The Lake Hartwell event will mark the organization’s 150th FLW Tour event, dating back to event No. 1 in 1996.
“With the warming trend we’ve had, Lake Hartwell is going to fish really well for this tournament,” said Anthony Gagliardi of Prosperity, South Carolina, the 2014 Forrest Wood Cup Champion. “Fish will be feeding heavily in preparation for the spawn which means there’ll be a lot of opportunities for anglers to fish to their strengths.”
Gagliardi said that both shallow- and deep-water patterns will likely come into play for tournament competitors.
“Any time you have a lake with a healthy population of both largemouth and spotted bass, you’re going to have a lot of different depth options and more fishable water,” said Gagliardi. “I think we’re going to see anglers targeting spotted bass near points, drops and humps. If anglers prefer to focus on largemouths, they’ll likely be found congregating in creeks near rocks and wood. It’s going to come down to which areas are most active.”
Gagliardi went on to say that craw- and shad-colored baits will likely be favored by competitors due to the prespawn feeding frenzy.
“I see football-head jigs and finesse worms on a drop-shot rig doing well out deep,” said Gagliardi. “Anglers choosing to tackle the shallow water will likely be running crankbaits near points or flipping a jig in the backs of bays. That’s the great thing about Hartwell. We’re going to see a lot of quality stringers caught using all kinds of techniques.”
Gagliardi finished by saying that a four-day catch weighing 70 pounds should be enough to win the event.
In FLW Tour competition, anglers are also vying for valuable points in hopes of qualifying for the 2016 Forrest Wood Cup, the world championship of bass fishing. The 2016 Forrest Wood Cup will be on Wheeler Lake in Huntsville, Alabama, Aug. 4-7 and is hosted by the Huntsville/Madison County Convention & Visitors Bureau.
Anglers will take off and weigh-in on all four days of competition at Green Pond Landing located at 470 Green Pond Road in Anderson at 7:30 a.m. each day. Weigh-ins on Thursday and Friday will begin at 3 p.m. Saturday and Sunday’s final weigh-ins will begin at 4 p.m.
Fans will also be treated to the FLW Expo on Saturday and Sunday from noon to 4 p.m. at Green Pond Landing prior to the final weigh-ins. The Expo includes interactive games, activities and giveaways provided by FLW sponsors, and the opportunity to interact with professional anglers to learn more about the sport of fishing and other outdoor activities. All activities are free and open to the public.
As part of the FLW Tour’s community outreach initiative, FLW Tour anglers will visit students at Lakeside Middle School in Anderson on Wednesday, March 16, from 8-9:30 a.m. to introduce students to fishing and outdoor activities in their community. During the presentations the pro anglers will reinforce how science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) relate to outdoor activities as well as boating safety. The presentation will promote the sport of fishing and outdoor recreation and give youth the information they need to “Get Outdoors. Go Fish!”
Also for youth, the FLW Foundation’s Unified Fishing Derby will be held at Chris Taylor Memorial Park located at 5 Jim Ed Rice Circle in Anderson on Saturday, March 19, from 9-11 a.m. The event is hosted by FLW Foundation pro Cody Kelley along with other FLW Tour anglers, and is free and open to area youth 15 years of age and younger and Special Olympics athletes. Rods and reels are available for use, but youth are encouraged to bring their own if they own one. All bait is provided by the DMF Bait Company.
FLW is the world’s largest tournament-fishing organization, providing anglers of all skill levels the opportunity to compete for millions in prize money in 2016 across five tournament circuits. Headquartered in Benton, Kentucky, with offices in Minneapolis, FLW conducts more than 235 bass-fishing tournaments annually across the United States and sanctions tournaments in Canada, China, Mexico and South Korea. FLW tournament fishing can be seen on the Emmy-nominated “FLW" television show, broadcast to more than 564 million households worldwide, while FLW Bass Fishing magazine delivers cutting-edge tips from top pros.