Wal-Mart FLW anglers Conquer Lake Martin

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Posted by InDixie on March 21, 2001 at 21:54:25:

Article from www.operationbass.com/flw:

Day 1: Shumpert takes Wal-Mart FLW Tour lead on Lake Martin 21.Mar.2001

ALEXANDER CITY, Ala. — The Wal-Mart FLW Tour took on an international flair Wednesday as four top bass pros from Japan joined 346 anglers from across the United States for the start of the third $500,000 tournament of the 2001 season.

Overcast skies and cold temperatures on Lake Martin greeted competitors as they gathered at Wind Creek State Park for the early morning take-off. But conditions gradually improved until Ricky Shumpert of Lexington, S.C., emerged as the leader with five largemouth bass weighing 16 pounds, 8 ounces.

Shumpert, who opted to fish for largemouth bass while many pros targeted the lake’s more aggressive spotted bass, landed his limit using a spinnerbait, jig and trick worm. “I wanted to win,” he said. “I’m not good at spot fishing 40- to 50-feet deep. I like to fish in 4 to 5 feet of water, so that’s what I did. Hopefully everything will work out again tomorrow.”

Many contestants struggled with the rapidly changing lake conditions brought about by a series of cold fronts and thunderstorms that swelled Lake Martin by more than 4 feet in the last week, leaving the upper end of the lake rolling red with mud and sediment. Snow even fell on the 40,000-acre impoundment during Tuesday’s last minute practice session.

Small spotted bass caught from relatively deep water dominated the weigh-in, but the heaviest bass of the day was a 5-pound, 13-ounce largemouth caught by pro Johnny McCombs of Morris, Ala. McCombs, who missed a $100,000 victory last month after being disqualified for late check-in, received $750 for the bass. If the weight holds up Thursday, he will win an additional $1,000 from Pepsi. Darrell Stevens of Roseland, Va., earned big bass honors and $500 in the Co-Angler Division with a 5-pound, 3-ounce bass.

The top five finshers in the Pro Division on on day one of the 4 day tournament were:

1st ~ Ricky Shumpert of Lexington, S.C. (five bass, 16-8);
2nd ~ Greg Carpenter of Royal, Ark., (five bass, 14-1);
3rd ~ Bobby Smith of Box Springs, Ga., (five bass, 12-5);
4th ~ Terry Baksay of Monroe, Conn., (four bass, 11-8);
5th ~ Mike Wurm of Hot Springs, Ark., (five bass, 11-7).

Co-Angler Mark King of Gurdon, Ark., took the opening-day lead in his division with four bass weighing 11 pounds, 6 ounces. Quinten Stacy of Bassett, Va., took second in the Co-Angler Division with five bass weighing 10 pounds, 10 ounces, and James Green of Lincoln, Ala., took third with four bass weighing 10 pounds, 3 ounces.

Co-Angler Mary Parnell of Casselberry, Fla., landed in seventh place with four bass weighing 8 pounds, 7 ounces. A top-10 finish by Parnell on Friday would be the third for a female angler in as many Wal-Mart FLW Tour events.

Nariaki Narita, who is fishing as a co-angler, was the highest finishing Japanese competitor with five bass weighing 8 pounds, 5 ounces. He finished the round in eighth place.

Anglers in both divisions must place in the top 10 Thursday to advance to the semifinal round of competition Friday. Weights from opening day count toward making the first cut, but weights are cleared for the semifinal round as anglers fish for the heaviest one-day weight. Only the top five pros will advance to the final round Saturday for a shot at $100,000. Co-angler competition ends Friday with the winner collecting $15,000.

Overall, 837 bass weighing 1,365 pounds, 8 ounces were caught and released Wednesday including 60 five-bass limits.

The tournament presented by Snickers Cruncher Bar continues at 6:30 a.m. Thursday at Wind Creek State Park in Alexander City followed by a 3 p.m. weigh-in at the same location. Friday’s takeoff starts at 8 a.m. at Wind Creek State Park. Friday’s weigh-in begins at 5 p.m. at the Alexander City Wal-Mart Supercenter off Highway 280 West. Saturday’s final takeoff from Wind Creek State Park starts at 6:30 a.m. followed by a 3:30 p.m. weigh-in at Wal-Mart.

A Family Fun Zone featuring fishing seminars, free product samples, interactive displays and children’s games will open in the Wal-Mart parking lot starting at 3 p.m. Friday and 11 a.m. Saturday.

(Reckon, I'm gonna be "Gone Fishin'" tomorrow!)

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