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Hodges Leads Stren Series Event on Kentucky Lake

May 04, 2007

BENTON, Ky. – Pro Andy Hodges of Cadiz, Ky., caught a five-bass limit weighing 17 pounds, 12 ounces Friday to widen his lead in the $275,225 Stren Series Central Division tournament on Kentucky Lake. With a three-day catch of 15 bass weighing 59-6, he holds a 5-pound lead over his closest competitor heading into the final day of competition.

“Today I concentrated on drops and long points,” said Hodges, who has led the Kentucky Lake tournament since the first day of competition. “I had been catching my fish this week fairly shallow, but things have changed.”

Hodges started out the tournament fishing Lake Barkley, but a lack of bites on the second day of competition forced him to run to Kentucky Lake to catch his limit. The third day of the tournament, Hodges changed his plan again and stuck to Lake Barkley and fished a little deeper than he had on previous days.

“I broke one off, one jumped off and another one just pulled off,” Hodges said. “Those were the first three keepers I had on in shallow water. So I decided to move out a little deeper since it was 11 a.m. and I only had one fish. It worked out for me and I ended up scraping out a limit.

“The shallow fish have been beat up so bad the past two weeks with people practicing, it seemed every day I would find more and more fish that were moving deeper,” Hodges added. “I was hoping they would get out there in bigger numbers so I could be confident in going out and catching a limit, and that's what I did today.”

Rounding out the top five pros are Curt McGuire of Lawrenceburg, Tenn. (15 bass, 54-6); Team Gain pro Koby Kreiger of Okeechobee, Fla. (15 bass, 50-11); Sam Lashlee of Camden, Tenn. (15 bass, 49-15); and Charlie King of Shreveport, La. (15 bass, 49-0).

Also clearing the top 10 cut weight of 43 pounds, 13 ounces in the Pro Division are Team Bounty pro Craig Powers of Rockwood, Tenn.; Team Kellogg's Pop Tarts pro Sam Newby of Pocola, Okla.; Troy Eakins of Nixa, Mo.; Kristofer Anderson of Lees Summit, Mo.; and Team Castrol pro Carl Svebek of Siloam Springs, Ark.

Steve Stone of Paducah, Ky., earned $300 for the Snickers Big Bass award in the Pro Division thanks to a 6-pound, 10-ounce bass he caught.

Overall there were 683 bass weighing 1,708 pounds, 8 ounces caught by pros Friday. The catch included 91 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.

Chuck Loerzel of Yorkville, Ill., leads the Co-angler Division in the chase for a top award of $35,000, including a 519VX Ranger if contingency guidelines are met, thanks to a three-day total of 15 bass weighing 42-12.

“We were fishing shallow and targeting shallow drops,” Loerzel said. “I was throwing a wacky worm, which is mainly what I've caught all my fish on since I've been down here.”

Loerzel said he had caught a few fish on a spinnerbait and crankbait, but noted he will stick to his plan of throwing a wacky worm and just following his pros.

“My pros have treated me great all three days, and all three days I've had a limit,” Loerzel said. “These guys and this circuit are awesome.”

Rounding out the top five co-anglers are Stephen Smith of Glenwood, Ark. (15 bass, 38-2); Frank Pempek of Bridgeport, Ohio (14 bass, 35-14); Barry Baldwin of Dayton, Ohio (14 bass, 35-9); and Brandon Hunter of Benton, Ky. (13 bass, 33-7).

Also clearing the top 10 cut weight of 29 pounds, 14 ounces in the Co-angler Division are Michael Bierman of Benton, Ky.; Mitch Greenwood of Russellville, Ky.; Mike Sears of Fayetteville, Ark.; Keith Newsom of Memphis, Tenn.; and Steven McFarland of Mountain Home, Ark.

Pempek earned $150 for the Snickers Big Bass award in the Co-angler Division thanks to a 6-pound bass he caught.

Overall there were 363 bass weighing 832 pounds, 8 ounces caught by co-anglers Friday. The catch included 22 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 Saturday morning from Moors Resort & Marina located at 570 Moors Road in Gilbertsville, Ky. Saturday's final weigh-in will be held at the Wal-Mart store located at 310 W. 5th St. in Benton, Ky., beginning at 4 p.m. The takeoff and weigh-in 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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