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Hodges Leads Stren Series Event on Kentucky Lake

May 02 , 2007

BENTON, Ky. – Pro Andy Hodges of Cadiz, Ky., caught a five-bass limit weighing 19 pounds, 9 ounces Wednesday to lead opening day of the $275,225 Stren Series Central Division tournament on Kentucky Lake.

“This is a fantastic lake to fish a tournament on,” said Hodges, who is making his rookie debut in the Stren Series in the Kentucky Lake event. “It's just a great fishery with a number of quality bass in it.

“Right now, I'm just picking the water apart,” Hodges added. “I'm looking for specific areas that are holding fish. The cloud cover had fish stacked up and I caught fish anywhere from 6 inches of water to 4 feet deep.”

Hodges said he caught a mixture of pre-spawn and post-spawn fish and covered a lot of water while doing it, covering water from north Lake Barkley to areas near the southern end.

“I'm going to keep fishing the same way and targeting areas like I did today,” Hodges said. “I quit fishing and left my spots at 10:30 this morning to leave the fish alone until the next day.”

Rounding out the top five pros are Curt McGuire of Lawrenceburg, Tenn. (five bass, 19-8); Chris Rand of Fort Lauderdale, Fla. (five bass, 19-2); Mark Goines of Shady Point, Okla. (five bass, 18-12); and Charlie King of Shreveport, La. (five bass, 18-7).

John Hill of Western Grove, Ark., earned $300 for the Snickers Big Bass award in the Pro Division thanks to a 7-pound, 3-ounce bass he caught.

Overall there were 794 bass weighing 2,128 pounds, 0 ounces caught by pros Wednesday. The catch included 114 five-bass limits.

Pros are competing for as much as $65,000, including a 519VX Ranger powered by Evinrude or Yamaha if contingency guidelines are met, and valuable points toward qualifying for the $1 million Stren Series Championship in Mobile, Ala., Nov. 8-11 for a shot at $140,000. After four qualifying events are complete in each of the circuit's five divisions, the top 40 pros from each division will advance to the championship. The highest-finishing pro from each division at the championship will also earn a spot in the $2 million 2008 Forrest Wood Cup, where they will compete against top pros from the Wal-Mart FLW Tour, Wal-Mart FLW Series, Wal-Mart Bass Fishing League, Ranger Owners Tournament Championship Series and TBF (The Bass Federation) for bass fishing's biggest prize – $1 million.

Stephen Smith of Glenwood, Ark., leads the Co-angler Division in the chase for a top award of $35,000, including a 519VX Ranger if contingency guidelines are met. He caught five bass weighing 16-13 while fishing with pro Ralph Laster of Lees Summit, Mo., who is currently in 93rd place.

“We made a real short run to Barkley and fished long-running points and threw crankbaits and soft plastics,” said Smith, who also has fished FLW Tour and FLW Series events as a co-angler. “We caught fish all day. That was the most fish I've ever caught in one day. This place is phenomenal.”

Smith said he caught a number of keepers that allowed him to cull fish repeatedly during the day.

“Ralph caught a lot of fish too, but I got a couple of big bites that just happened to put me near the top,” Smith said.

Rounding out the top five co-anglers are Michael Radake of Cape Girardeau, Mo. (five bass, 15-9); Kenneth Shaw of Caledonia, Miss. (five bass, 14-7); James Plummer of Fairborn, Ohio (five bass, 14-3); and Mike Sears of Fayetteville, Ark. (five bass, 13-11).

Chad Porter of Paducah, Ky., earned $150 for the Snickers Big Bass award in the Co-angler Division thanks to a 6-pound, 6-ounce bass he caught.

Overall there were 448 bass weighing 1,168 pounds, 5 ounces caught by co-anglers Wednesday. The catch included 30 five-bass limits.

The top 40 co-anglers from each Stren Series division will also advance to the championship, where they will fish for as much as $70,000. The highest-finishing co-angler from each division at the championship will then advance to the 2008 Forrest Wood Cup.

Anglers will take off at 6:30 each morning from Moors Resort & Marina located at 570 Moors Road in Gilbertsville, Ky. Thursday and Friday's weigh-in will be held at the marina beginning at 3 p.m. Saturday's weigh-in will be held at the Wal-Mart store located at 310 W. 5th St. in Benton, Ky., beginning at 4 p.m. Takeoffs and weigh-ins are free and open to the public.

Stren Series tournaments are four-day events consisting of two rounds. The entire field competes Wednesday, Thursday and Friday. At the conclusion of Friday's weigh-in, the field is cut to the top 10 pros and co-anglers based on the heaviest three-day accumulated weights. These anglers continue competition Saturday, with the winners determined by the heaviest accumulated weight from all four days.

FLW Outdoors historically maintains a 98 percent live release rate in all of its bass tournaments.

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 tournaments, browse FLWOutdoors.com or call (270) 252-1000.

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