Wooley Still Leads Stren Series Bass Fishing Tournament on Lake of the Ozarks
OSAGE BEACH, Mo. (Oct. 9, 2008) - Pro Michael Wooley of Collierville, Tenn., caught a five-bass limit weighing 15 pounds, 8 ounces Thursday to retain his lead in the Stren Series Central Division bass fishing tournament on Lake of the Ozarks. With a two-day catch of 10 bass weighing 32-10, he now holds a 2-pound, 15-ounce lead over second place pro Wes Endicott of Joplin, Mo., who managed to haul in a total of 10 bass weighing 29-11 during the first two days of competition.
"I started out slow again just like yesterday," said Wooley, who is fishing in his third year of Stren Series competition. "I don't have a morning bite at all. I'm really starting to catch them about 9 a.m. and then as the day goes on it gets better and better."
Wooley said he caught more than 40 fish during the course of the day, including 20 keepers. Wooley said he stuck to a jig and focused on deeper water before he began searching for more fishable water for the last two days of competition.
"I've got a streak of bad luck on my side," Wooley said. "I lost some good fish again today.
"I feel confident I can get 15 pounds again tomorrow," Wooley added. "I'm getting the big fish bite every now and then - that 4 ½-pound and 6-pound bite. If I could just capitalize on it and get them in the boat."
Rounding out the top five pros are Zack Bull of Lakeland, Tenn. (nine bass, 28-13); Mark Goines of Shady Point, Okla. (nine bass, 27-04); and Dion Hibdon of Stover, Mo. (10 bass, 26-08).
Doyle Isom Jr. of Bourbon, Mo., earned $225 for the Big Bass award in the Pro Division thanks to a 5-pound, 12-ounce bass he caught. Overall there were 429 bass weighing 896 pounds, 7 ounces caught by pros Thursday. The catch included 52 five-bass limits.
Pros are competing for as much as $65,000, including a 198VX Ranger powered by Evinrude or Yamaha if contingency guidelines are met, and valuable points toward qualifying for the $1 million Stren Series Championship in Branson, Mo., Nov. 5-8 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 2009 Forrest Wood Cup.
Leo Reiter of Goshen, Ind., leads the Co-angler Division in the chase for a top award of $35,000, including a 198VX Ranger if contingency guidelines are met. He caught five bass weighing 19-14 while fishing with pro Joel Baker of Talala, Okla., Wednesday and five bass weighing 10-07 while fishing with pro Doug Weiser of Springdale, Ark., Thursday for a total of 10 bass weighing 30-05.
"I worked hard for it today," said Reiter, who has seven top-10 finishes in FLW Outdoors events. "There wasn't much of a breeze, and it was just a tougher bite today."
Reiter has an incredible 13-pound, 15-ounce lead over the second place co-angler, and is the only co-angler to weigh a limit each of the first two days of competition. Reiter said he had only five keeper bites Thursday and caught them on the bait that produced the first day of competition - a swimming jig.
"It's supposed to be a little overcast tomorrow, so that may change things," Reiter said. "That may improve the bite.
"I'm going to keep that jig tied on and throw it tomorrow and keep my head down and fish," Reiter added. "I'm going to fish hard and try to catch everything that bites me."
Rounding out the top five co-anglers are Max Wilson of Everton, Mo. (five bass, 16-06); Phil Shafer of Lake Ozark, Mo. (eight bass, 15-05); Joe Waggoner of Carthage, Mo. (five bass, 13-08); and Juan Steenkamp of the Republic of South Africa (three bass, 12-15).
Wilson earned $119 for the Big Bass award in the Co-angler Division thanks to a 5-pound, 11-ounce bass he caught.
Overall there were 134 bass weighing 266 pounds, 8 ounces caught by co-anglers Thursday. The catch included two 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 2009 Forrest Wood Cup.
Anglers will take off at 7 each morning from Grand Glaize Recreation Area Public Beach No. 2 Boat Launch located at 711 Public Beach Rd. in Osage Beach. Friday's weigh-in will be held at the Grand Glaize Recreation Area Public Beach No. 2 Boat Launch beginning at 3 p.m. Saturday's weigh-in will be held at the Walmart store located at 4252 Hwy. 54 in Osage Beach 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.