ANDERSON, S.C., Feb. 28, 2012 /PRNewswire/ -- The last time FLW Tour anglers visited Lake Hartwell, there were more than a few who found fish spawning. Oklahoma angler Jason Christie found what he called "Oklahoma" water in that 2011 event — shallow, dirty water that suits his style of fishing — and targeted staging and spawning fish for a total of 70 pounds, 11 ounces. But fishing fans looking for a repeat performance from Lake Hartwell in March may find different circumstances resulting in an exciting shootout of the world's best pros.
The Walmart FLW Tour on Lake Hartwell presented by Folgers will visit Anderson/Greenville, S.C., March 8-11 for the first major of its 17th season. Hosted by the Anderson Convention & Visitors Bureau and the Greenville Convention & Visitors Bureau, the tournament will feature a full field of the world's best bass pros and co-anglers casting for top awards up to $125,000 cash in the Pro Division and up to $25,000 cash in the Co-angler Division.
"I think (fishing's) going to be a lot different this year," said Folgers pro Scott Suggs of Bryant, Ark. "Last year (the fish) had moved up and got on beds, but I don't think they're going to be up that far this go-round. It's going to be more of a pre-spawn type deal."
The 2007 Forrest Wood Cup winner said anglers will have a wide variety of techniques to employ at the Hartwell event and anglers will be able to play to their strengths.
"They're going to catch them cranking, on (Sworming Hornet) Fish Head Spins and jerkbaits," Suggs said. "And then the (anglers) who are going to stay in the creeks are going to be throwing jigs, chatterbaits and spinnerbaits.
"Luckily the lake's big enough that we'll be able to get away from each other quite a bit," Suggs added.
Suggs said he believes it could take 16 pounds a day during the four-day event to take home the trophy.
"If those big females move up and get in there somewhere and get to staging adjacent to flats it may even be better than that because you'll catch some that haven't spawned out yet," Suggs said. "The weights could be even better."
In FLW Tour competition, anglers are also vying for valuable points in hopes of qualifying for the 2012 Forrest Wood Cup, the world championship of bass fishing. This year's Cup will be in Duluth/Gainesville, Ga., Aug. 9-12 on Lake Lanier and anglers could win as much as $500,000 – the sport's biggest award. Anglers are also vying for the prestigious 2012 Walmart FLW Tour Angler of the Year presented by Kellogg's title that will be determined by the most points accumulated over the six Tour Majors.
Anglers will take off from Portman Shoals Marina located at 1629 Marina Road in Anderson at 7 a.m. Thursday, Friday and Saturday morning and at 7:30 a.m. DST Sunday morning (Daylight Savings Time begins Sunday). Thursday and Friday's weigh-ins will be held at Portman Shoals Marina beginning at 3 p.m. Saturday and Sunday's final weigh-ins will be held at the TD Convention Center located at One Exposition Drive in Greenville beginning at 4 p.m.
Fans will be treated to the FLW Outdoors Expo at the TD Convention Center on Saturday and Sunday from noon - 4 p.m. prior to the final weigh-ins. The Expo includes Ranger boat simulators, the opportunity to interact with professional anglers, enjoy interactive games, activities and giveaways provided by sponsors, and fans can learn more about the sport of fishing and other outdoor activities. All activities are free and open to the public. On Saturday the first 300 children 14 and under who are accompanied by an adult will receive a free rod and reel combo courtesy of The Greenville News. On Sunday one lucky fishing fan will win a Can-Am ATV courtesy of WESC 92.5. The ATV giveaway is free to enter but the winner must be present at the conclusion of Sunday's final weigh-in to win.
As part of the FLW Tour's community outreach initiative, select FLW Tour anglers will be volunteering at Homes of Hope located at 3 Dunean St. in Greenville from 9-11:30 a.m. March 7. FLW Tour anglers will be assisting Homes of Hope interns in building porch rails at Homes of Hope for the new LoCAL home project. FLW will also be donating 50 three-pound cans of Folgers Coffee and boxes of 3M Blue Painters tape at 11 a.m. following the anglers' volunteer efforts.
Coverage of the Lake Hartwell tournament will be broadcast in high-definition (HD) on NBC Sports Network when "FLW" airs April 15 from 1 - 2 p.m. ET. "FLW" is hosted by Jason Harper and is broadcast to more than 559 million households worldwide, making it the most widely distributed weekly outdoors-sports television show in the world.
For complete details and updated information visit FLWOutdoors.com. For regular updates, photos, tournament news and more, follow us on Facebook at Facebook.com/FLWFishing and on Twitter at Twitter.com/FLWFishing.
FLW is the industry's premier tournament-fishing organization, providing unparalleled fishing resources and entertainment to our sponsors, fans and host communities. FLW is offering anglers of all skill levels the opportunity to compete for millions in prize money nationwide in 2012 over the course of 191 tournaments across five tournament circuits, each providing an avenue to the sport's richest payday and most coveted championship trophy – the Forrest Wood Cup. FLW is committed to providing a lifestyle experience that is the "Best in Fishing, On and Off the Water," through a variety of platforms including tournaments, outdoor expos and the world's richest fantasy sports game – FLW Fantasy Fishing. For more information about FLW and FLW Fantasy Fishing, visit FLWOutdoors.com or FantasyFishing.com and look for FLW on Twitter and Facebook.