(Apr 11, 2018 - BRANSON, Mo.)
The top bass anglers from around the region will converge on Table Rock Lake April 19-21 for the Costa FLW Series Central Division opener at Table Rock Lake presented by Lowrance. Hosted by ExploreBranson.com, the event will feature a field of more than 300 competitors and a top award of up to $85,000, including a brand new Ranger Z518C boat with a 200-horsepower Evinrude or Mercury outboard in the Pro Division.
“Table Rock Lake fished better this winter than it has the past few winters,” said FLW Tour pro Jeremy Lawyer of Sarcoxie, Missouri, who finished seventh in the 2016 Costa FLW Series Championship on Table Rock Lake. “The lake is in good shape and the fish are fat and healthy – as healthy as I’ve seen them in a long time. They’re definitely going to do their part in this event.”
Lawyer said due to unseasonably cold weather, anglers will primarily be targeting prespawn bass in this derby.
“When the schedule was first released, I really thought this would be a full-blown sight-fishing tournament,” said Lawyer. “But with snow falling in the area as late as last week, Mother Nature won’t let the lake warm up. I think we’ll see a little bit of sight-fishing, but it won’t be as dominant as in past years.
“It will be anyone’s game because it will be a bank-beating tournament,” continued Lawyer. “There are a lot of bushes in the water and wood for them to get around. We’ve also had a lot of rain, which means more color in the water and better fishing. If the water is gin-clear, it’d be a little tougher, but these fish will really be comfortable and get up shallow.”
Lawyer said a variety of lures will be in play including crankbaits, worms, spinnerbaits and umbrella rigs.
“I think it will take 54 to 55 pounds caught over the three days to win,” said Lawyer. “Someone will have a good 20-pound day to start and then fall back to 14 or 15 the next day. Table Rock is known for not giving them up each day of a tournament, but there’s going to be a lot of limits weighed in. It’s going to be a fun tournament.”
Anglers will take off from Table Rock State Park Marina, located at 380 State Park Marina Road, in Branson, at 6:30 a.m. CDT each day. Thursday and Friday’s weigh-ins will be held at the state park, and will begin at 2:30 p.m. Saturday’s final weigh-in will take place at the Branson Landing, located at 100 Branson Landing, and will begin at 3:30 p.m. All takeoffs and weigh-ins are free to attend and open to the public.
In Costa FLW Series regular-season competition, payouts are based on the number of participants competing in the event. At Table Rock Lake, pros will fish for a top prize of up to $85,000, including a brand new Ranger Z518C boat with a 200-horsepower Evinrude outboard if Ranger Cup qualified. Co-anglers will cast for a brand new Ranger Z175 boat with a 90-horsepower Evinrude outboard, and $5,000 if Ranger Cup qualified.
The Costa FLW Series consists of five U.S. divisions – Central, Northern, Southeastern, Southwestern and Western – along with the International division. Each U.S. division consists of three regular-season tournaments with competitors vying for valuable points that could earn them the opportunity to compete in the season-ending Costa FLW Series Championship. The 2018 Costa FLW Series Championship is being held Nov. 1-3 on Lake Guntersville in Guntersville, Alabama, and is hosted by the Marshall County Convention and 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 2018 across five tournament circuits. Headquartered in Benton, Kentucky, with offices in Minneapolis, FLW and their partners conduct 286 bass-fishing tournaments annually around the world, including the United States, Canada, China, Italy, South Korea, Mexico, Portugal, South Africa and Spain. 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.