(Jun 14, 2016 - PLATTSBURGH, N.Y.)
The sixth and final regular-season event of the 21st season of the Walmart FLW Tour, the most competitive circuit in professional bass-fishing, kicks off June 23-26 with the Walmart FLW Tour at Lake Champlain presented by General Tire. Hosted by the City of Plattsburgh and the Adirondack Coast Visitors Bureau, the tournament will feature a full field 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 Lake Champlain six times previously in its 21-year history, with 2016 marking the Tour’s seventh visit. The closely contested Angler of the Year and Rookie of the Year races will be decided, as will the final qualifications for the world championship of bass fishing, the Forrest Wood Cup.
In 2012, when the Tour last visited Lake Champlain, Walmart pro David Dudley of Lynchburg, Virginia, recorded the seventh victory of his career, clinching his third Angler of the Year title and pushing his career earnings in FLW competition to more than $3 million.
“This is going to be an extremely fun tournament,” said Dudley, the all-time FLW leading money winner. “Lake Champlain is one of the best fisheries in the world and we’re hitting it at the prime time. I predict that the winner is going to have to average at least 20 pounds each day and that we’re going to see a four-day winning total of at least 80 pounds.
“You pretty much have two options when you’re going to Champlain – you can dedicate yourself to fishing for smallmouth or largemouth,” Dudley continued. “It seems like the last few times that we have been there, the largemouth has played more of a factor with the top finishers than the smallmouth has, and I think that will likely be the case this year. Champlain is a heckuva smallmouth fishery, but I think the winner is going to have to key on the largemouth.”
Dudley said that a good portion of the anglers competing would make the 70-mile run south to the Ticonderoga-area of the lake to target largemouth in the plentiful grass.
“There is a lot of good grass in both the northern and the southern ends of the lake, but more of the population of big largemouth are down south. I think that’s where the tournament is going to be won.
“I think three baits will likely be the key – a ChatterBait, a frog, and flipping creature baits,” Dudley continued. “Those three baits seem to win everything there and I assume they’ll be strong players in this event as well. The weights are going to be big and you can bet that we’re going to see a lot of fish caught – no surprise for Champlain.”
Anglers will take off from the Plattsburgh City Marina located at 5 Dock St. in Plattsburgh at 6:30 a.m. EDT each day of competition. Thursday and Friday’s weigh-ins will be held at the City Marina beginning at 3 p.m. Saturday and Sunday’s final weigh-ins will be held at the Crete Memorial Civic Center, located at 4 Beach Road, but will begin at 4 p.m.
Fans will also be treated to the FLW Expo Saturday and Sunday from noon to 4 p.m. at the Civic Center before 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 patients at Meadowbrook Healthcare Nursing and Rehabilitation Center, located at 154 Prospect Avenue in Plattsburgh on Wednesday, June 22 from 10-11:30 a.m. Anglers will visit with guests, pose for selfies, sign autographs and share fishing stories in a rewarding experience for both the patients and the anglers.
The FLW Foundation’s Unified Youth Fishing Derby will be held at the Wilcox Dock located at 90 Cumberland Ave., in Plattsburgh Saturday, June 25, 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 18 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 Lake Champlain tournament will premiere in high-definition (HD) on NBC Sports Network (NBCSN) Oct. 12 from 1 p.m.-2 p.m. EDT. 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.