(Mar 1, 2019 - BAINBRIDGE, GA.)
Fishing League Worldwide (FLW), the world’s largest tournament fishing organization, is set to continue the 2019 FLW Tour season – the 24th season of the competitive Tour – next week, March 7-10, with the FLW Tour at Lake Seminole presented by Costa. Hosted by the Bainbridge Convention and Visitors Bureau, the tournament will feature 170 of the world’s best bass-fishing professionals competing for a top award of up to $125,000 and valuable points in hopes of qualifying for the 2019 FLW Cup – the world championship of bass fishing.
The FLW Tour has visited Lake Seminole just once prior in FLW’s 24-year history. When the Tour visited the Georgia reservoir in 1996, Mississippi pro Jeff Magee averaged just over 15½ pounds a day to win just the fourth event in FLW Tour history. The 2019 event will mark the 213th tournament in FLW Tour history. The total purse for the FLW Tour at Lake Seminole presented by Costa is more than $860,000, including $9,000 through 65th place in the Pro Division.
“Hurricane Michael really changed the lake, 180-degrees,” said local FLW Tour angler J. Todd Tucker of Moultrie, Georgia. “It has opened up some new areas that haven’t been open for years. It’s scattered the grass and completely changed the grasslines. But, overall, Lake Seminole has been fishing pretty good and it’s going to be a very fun tournament.
“The fish are going to be shallow,” Tucker continued. “There should be quite a bit of spawning going on, and we’re going to see bass caught in all three phases – prespawn, spawn and postspawn. The key to winning this event will be to find the staging fish – areas with both prespawn and postspawn bass moving in and going out.”
Tucker said that fans following the action should expect to see a strong crankbait bite, along with lipless crankbaits, Carolina rigs, topwater baits and vibrating jigs all playing a role.
“A lot of guys are going to be fishing the lily pad stems and hydrilla up shallow, but the sand bars have always been a big player at Seminole,” Tucker said. “Guys are going to be able to catch them in a lot of different ways and we’re going to see some big fish.
“I think to make the top-30 cut to fish on the weekend, it’s going to take 31 pounds,” Tucker went on to say. “I predict the four-day winner will have right around 88 pounds. We should see quite a few 25- to 28-pound limits. If the tournament hits the lake at just the right time, the potential is definitely there for 33- to 34-pound bags.”
Anglers will take off at 7 a.m. CST Thursday through Saturday and 7:45 a.m. Sunday from the Bainbridge Earle May Boat Basin, located at 100 Boat Basin Circle, in Bainbridge. Thursday and Friday’s weigh-ins, March 7-8, will be held at the boat basin beginning at 3 p.m. Saturday and Sunday’s weigh-ins, March 9-10, will also be held at the boat basin, but will begin at 4 p.m.
Prior to the weigh-ins, FLW will host a free Family Fishing Expo at the Bainbridge Earle May Boat Basin from 2 to 6 p.m. each day. The Expo is a chance for fishing fans to meet their favorite anglers, enjoy interactive games, activities and giveaways provided by FLW sponsors, and learn more about the sport of fishing and other outdoor activities.
Also for youth, the FLW Foundation’s Unified Fishing Derby will be held at the boat basin on Saturday, March 9 from Noon-2 p.m. The event is hosted by FLW Foundation pro Cody Kelley along with other FLW Tour anglers, and is free and open to anyone under the age of 18 and Special Olympics athletes. Rods and reels are available for use, but youth are encouraged to bring their own if they own one. The 1st and 2nd place anglers that catch the biggest fish will be recognized Saturday on the FLW Tour stage, just prior to the pros weighing in.
As part of the FLW Tour’s community outreach initiative, FLW Tour anglers will visit students, guests and staff at the Hutto Middle School, located at 1201 Martin Luther King Jr. Drive, in Bainbridge on Wednesday, March 6 from 8:30-10 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 and the life as a professional angler as well as discussing different career paths within the outdoor industry.
Television coverage of the FLW Tour at Lake Seminole presented by Costa will premiere in 2019. The Emmy-nominated "FLW" television show airs each Saturday night at 7 p.m. EST and is broadcast to more than 63 million cable, satellite and telecommunications households in the U.S., Canada and the Caribbean on the World Fishing Network (WFN), the leading entertainment destination and digital resource for anglers throughout North America. FLW television is also distributed internationally to FLW partner countries, including Canada, China, Italy, Korea, Mexico, Portugal, Spain and South Africa.
The popular FLW Live on-the-water program will air on Days Three and Four of the event, featuring live action from the boats of the tournament’s top pros each day. New for 2019, host Travis Moran will be joined by veteran FLW Tour pro Todd Hollowell to break down the extended action each day from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. On-the-water broadcasts will be live streamed on FLWFishing.com, the FLW YouTube channel and the FLW Facebook page.
In FLW Tour competition, the full field of 170 pro anglers compete in the two-day opening round on Thursday and Friday. The top 30 pros based on their two-day accumulated weight advance to Saturday. Only the top 10 pros continue competition Sunday, with the winner determined by the heaviest accumulated weight from the four days of competition.
Throughout the season, anglers are also vying for valuable points in hopes of qualifying for the 2019 FLW Cup, the world championship of professional bass fishing. The 2019 FLW Cup will be on Lake Hamilton in Hot Springs, Arkansas, Aug. 9-11 and is hosted by the Arkansas Department of Parks and Tourism and Visit Hot Springs.
For complete details and updated information visit FLWFishing.com.
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 2019 across five tournament circuits. Headquartered in Benton, Kentucky, with offices in Minneapolis, FLW and their partners conduct more than 290 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 while FLW Bass Fishing magazine delivers cutting-edge tips from top pros.