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Banks Leads Wal-Mart FLW Walleye Tour Event on Detroit River

April 11, 2007

TRENTON, Mich. – Pro Scott Banks of Cannon Falls, Minn., along with his partner, Michael Eichbrecht of Washington, Mich., caught five walleyes weighing 31 pounds, 5 ounces to lead day one of the Wal-Mart FLW Walleye Tour event presented by Yamaha on the Detroit River in Trenton, Mich., the first regular-season event of the 2007 FLW Walleye Tour. With a $2.71 million total purse, including the no-entry-fee $675,850 Wal-Mart FLW Walleye Tour Championship on Lake Erie at Cleveland, Ohio, Sept. 27-30, and television coverage on FSN (Fox Sports Net), the FLW Walleye Tour is bigger and better than ever.

Anglers were greeted with gale-force winds the morning of the season opener, and fishing was restricted to the Michigan waters of the Detroit River due to the dangerous winds. Temperatures remained in the 30s throughout the day and snow turned to rain to make for miserable conditions for anglers, but they braved the conditions and remained optimistic about the event.

“Every day the bite is getting better as the fish are getting acclimated to the cooler water temperatures we've had recently,” said Banks, who is beginning his fourth year as a pro on the FLW Walleye Tour. “People around us were catching fish, but we were doing something just a little different that allowed us to land a little better fish.”

Banks and Eichbrecht found that the clear water offered a good jig bite — a bite that produced quickly and consistently.

“We were culling fish by 10 minutes to eight this morning,” Banks said. “Feeling the bite in the wind wasn't a problem — staying in place was. I had to really stay on the trolling motor today.

“When we left our spot, it was to the point that we couldn't jig any more,” Banks continued. “Fortunately we had our fish and didn't have to worry about it.”

Banks, who grew up fishing the waters of the Mississippi River, said he spent all of his time prefishing for the tournament on the river instead of trying the lake bite.

“I'm going to do the same thing the rest of the tournament,” Banks said. “I just want to catch a few more solid limits.”

Rounding out the top five pros are Mark Meravy of Shorewood, Ill. (five walleyes, 21 pounds, 8 ounces); Kevin Goligowski of Maplewood, Minn. (five walleyes, 21 pounds, 5 ounces); Robert Lampman of De Soto, Wis. (five walleyes, 20 pounds, 11 ounces); and Rick McLaughlin of Glenrock, Wyo. (five walleyes, 20 pounds, 1 ounce).

Eichbrecht leads the co-angler division. “Going into today, I would have loved to have had 20 pounds,” Eichbrecht said. “That would have been fantastic. As it turns out, I'm doing much better than that. I'm just really having a lot of fun out here.”

Pros and co-anglers fish for a combined boat weight. Rounding out the top five co-anglers are Bill Buboltz of Ham Lake, Minn., Stephen Gaston of Montegut, La., Robert Dekorne of Newaygo, Mich., and Shannon Larson of Rice Lake, Wis.

Elizabeth Park/Wayne County Parks is hosting the event. Anglers launch daily at 7 a.m. from Elizabeth Park Marina located at 202 Grosse Isle Parkway in Trenton, Mich. Thursday and Friday's weigh-ins will also be held at the marina beginning at 3 p.m. Saturday's weigh-in will be held at the Wal-Mart store located at 23800 Allen Road in Woodhaven, Mich., beginning at 4 p.m. The community is invited to attend daily takeoffs and weigh-ins, which are free and open to the public.

Pros and co-anglers are randomly paired each day and fish for a combined boat weight. Pros compete against other pros, and co-anglers compete against other co-anglers. The full field competes during the three-day opening round for one of 10 final-round slots based on their three-day accumulated weight.

Weights carry over to day four, with the winner determined by the heaviest four-day weight.

Every angler who receives weight credit in a tournament earns points, with 150 points awarded to the winner, 149 to second, 148 for third, and so on. These points determine angler standings. The top 50 pros and 50 co-anglers based on year-end points standings will advance to the 2007 FLW Walleye Tour Championship.

The FLW Walleye Tour Championship is the most lucrative event in professional walleye angling, with guaranteed cash awards for the entire field. A guaranteed cash award of $100,000 plus potential sponsor bonuses totaling $50,000 will go to the FLW Walleye Tour Championship winner for a total pro award of $150,000. The champion co-angler will win a guaranteed cash award of $11,000 plus potential sponsor bonuses totaling $11,000 for a total co-angler award of $22,000.

Coverage of the FLW Walleye Tour event on the Detroit River will be broadcast to 81 million FSN (Fox Sports Net) subscribers in the United States on May 13 as part of the “FLW Outdoors” television program. “FLW Outdoors” airs Sunday mornings at 11 a.m. Eastern. “FLW Outdoors” is also broadcast internationally to more than 350 million households in such countries as Germany, China, South Africa, Australia, Malaysia, Russia, Hungary and the United Kingdom, making it the most widely distributed weekly outdoor-sports television show in the world. Additionally, FLW Outdoors is proud to provide tournament coverage to more than 800,000 servicemembers stationed around the world in 177 countries and aboard Navy ships through broadcasts on the American Forces Network.

Named after the legendary founder of Ranger Boats, Forrest L. Wood, FLW Outdoors administers the Wal-Mart FLW Tour, Wal-Mart FLW Series, Stren Series, Wal-Mart Bass Fishing League, Wal-Mart Texas Tournament Trail presented by Abu Garcia, Ranger Owners Tournament Championship Series, Wal-Mart FLW Walleye Tour, Wal-Mart FLW Walleye League, Wal-Mart FLW Kingfish Tour, Wal-Mart FLW Kingfish Series, Wal-Mart FLW Redfish Series and Wal-Mart FLW Striper Series. These circuits offer combined purses of nearly $43 million through 241 events in 2007.

Wal-Mart and many of America's largest and most respected companies support FLW Outdoors and its tournament trails. Wal-Mart signed on as an FLW Outdoors sponsor in 1997 and today is the world's leading supporter of tournament fishing. For more information about Wal-Mart, visit Walmart.com .

For more information about FLW Outdoors and its tournament programs, browse FLWOutdoors.com or call (270) 252-1000.

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