(Apr 25, 2016 - )
The fourth tournament of the 21st season of the Walmart FLW Tour, the most competitive circuit in professional bass-fishing, kicks off May 5-8 with the Walmart FLW Tour at Pickwick Lake presented by Quaker State. Hosted by Florence/Lauderdale Tourism, the tournament will feature 169 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 Walmart FLW Tour has visited Pickwick Lake four times, with 2016 marking the fifth visit in FLW’s 21-year history. One angler who is looking forward to the Tour’s return to the renowned largemouth factory is pro Jason Lambert of Pickwick Dam, Tennessee, the 2014 Rookie of the Year who finished in eighth place when the Tour last visited during his rookie season.
“It’s that time of year where everything is in transition and I think we’re going to be catching them from 3 feet deep to 20 feet deep,” said Lambert. “This fish will likely be finished spawning by the tournament time, but there will still be a ton of fish shallow.
“There will definitely be some postspawn ledge fish as well,” Lambert continued. “And then there is so much hydrilla in the lake right now, and that will definitely play a much bigger role than normal. This is going to be a really fun tournament.”
Lambert said that recent winners in local club tournaments have weighed limits in the lower- to mid-20-pound range, and he expects similar weights in the FLW Tour event.
“The weights have been pretty good lately,” Lambert said. “I’m not sure if we’ll reach 97 pounds like (Greg) Hackney did the last time we were here, but the winner will definitely have over 80 pounds. You’re going to need average at least 20 pounds a day to have a shot.
“It is supposed to be 80 degrees every day for the next week, and a lot can change on this river system in a few days, especially with really warm temperatures,” Lambert went on to say. “Tournaments on Pickwick have the reputation as being ‘electronic tournaments’, but there is going to be a lot of fish caught shallow that we’re not looking at on our graphs and depth finders.”
Anglers will take off from McFarland Park located at 200 Jim Spain Drive in Florence at 6:30 a.m. each day of competition. Thursday and Friday’s weigh-ins will be held at McFarland Park beginning at 3 p.m. Saturday and Sunday’s final weigh-ins will also be held at McFarland Park, but 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 Walmart prior to the final weigh-ins. The Expo includes a 100-yard Lew’s Casting Lane, the opportunity to interact with professional anglers, enjoy interactive games, activities and giveaways provided by FLW sponsors, and 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 Florence Middle School in Florence on Wednesday, May 4, 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 McFarland Park on Saturday, May 7, from 9:30-11:30 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. Event goodie bags will be awarded to the first 50 participants who sign up. Rods and reels are available for use, but youth are encouraged to bring their own if they own one. All bait is donated by the DMF Bait Company.
Coverage of the Pickwick Lake tournament will premiere in high-definition (HD) on NBC Sports Network (NBCSN) September 21 from 1 p.m.-2 p.m. EST. The Emmy-nominated "FLW" television show airs on NBCSN, the Pursuit Channel and the World Fishing Network and is broadcast to more than 564 million households worldwide, making it the most widely distributed weekly outdoors-sports television show in the world.
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.
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.