Tennessee's Michael Wooley wins FLW event on Lake Chickamauga
DAYTON, Tenn. (flwfishing.com) – FLW Tour pro Michael Wooley of Collierville, Tennessee, brought a five-bass limit to the scale Sunday weighing 19 pounds, 6 ounces to win the Walmart FLW Tour at Lake Chickamauga presented by Igloo Coolers. Wooley's four-day total of 20 bass weighing 92-4 gave him a 1-pound, 6-ounce margin of victory over second place angler Livingston Lures pro Stetson Blaylock of Benton, Arkansas, in the nationally-televised event that featured 146 of the best professional bass-fishing anglers in the world competing for the top cash award of up to $125,000.
“I grew up fishing on Pickwick Lake and Kentucky Lake,” said Wooley, who earned the first Walmart FLW Tour victory of his career in just his second season as a professional. “To get the biggest win of my life on the Tennessee River really means a lot to me. This win is just what I needed to continue my career. This lake is absolutely incredible.
“I thought I had lost the tournament today,” Wooley continued. “My key area where I have caught all of my fish this week shut down and I was only able to catch two fish there. I had to scramble and run a couple of schools that I had been practicing on each day after I'd catch my big weight. I was extremely nervous, because those schools weren't holding the quality of fish that my original area was. Luckily I was able to pick off a few and got a couple of good bites.
“It was a grind. I thought my limit was a lot smaller than what it ended up being, so that final weigh-in was really stressful,” Wooley said.
Wooley said that he caught his fish this week on a mussel-laden bar near the Chester Frost Park boat ramp. He did most of his damage in the mornings when the gizzard shad were feeding and was catching fish in 12- to 13-feet of water. His key baits were a ½-ounce hand-poured shaky-head rig with a green-pumpkin Zoom Magnum Trick Worm and a green-pumpkin ¾-ounce Strike King Football Jig with a Strike King Rage Craw.
“I fished pretty clean all week, and I only lost one fish,” Wooley went on to say. “Lake Chickamauga will always be special to me after this one. I've never been to the Potomac River, but now I've got some momentum coming off this one and I love to fish in the grass so I'm going to give it my best shot and we'll see what happens.”
The top 10 pros finished the tournament:
1st: Michael Wooley, Collierville, Tenn., 20 bass, 92-4, $125,000
Overall there were 44 bass weighing 145 pounds even caught by pros Sunday. Seven professionals weighed in five-bass limits.
Paul LaFleur of Benton, Arkansas, won the co-angler division and $25,000 Friday with a two-day total of 10 bass weighing 31 pounds, 4 ounces, followed by Cody Frazier of Soddy Daisy, Tennessee, who finished in second place with eight bass weighing 29 pounds, 7 ounces worth $7,291.
The Walmart FLW Tour stop on Lake Chickamauga presented by Igloo Coolers and was hosted by the Rhea Economic and Tourism Council. It was the fifth of six regular-season events in the FLW Tour's 2015 season. The sixth FLW Tour event of 2015 will be held on the Potomac River, June 25-28 in Marbury, Maryland, and is presented by Ranger Boats. The event will be hosted by the Charles County Board of Commissioners. Boats will launch from Smallwood State Park in Marbury. For a complete schedule, visit FLWFishing.com.
In addition to casting for top awards of up to $125,000 cash in the pro division and up to $25,000 cash in the co-angler division, anglers are also competing for valuable points in hopes of qualifying for the 2015 Forrest Wood Cup, the world championship of bass fishing. The 2015 Forrest Wood Cup will be in Hot Springs, Arkansas, Aug. 20-23 on Lake Ouachita and is hosted by Visit Hot Springs. The Forrest Wood Cup Champion could win as much as $500,000 – professional bass-fishing's richest prize.
Coverage of the Lake Chickamauga tournament will be broadcast in high-definition (HD) on NBC Sports Network (NBCSN) October 26 from 7 p.m.-8 p.m. EDT when Season 20 of “FLW” returns this fall. The Emmy-nominated "FLW" television show airs on NBCSN, the Pursuit Channel and the World Fishing Network and is broadcast to more than 564 million households worldwide, making it the most widely distributed weekly outdoors-sports television show in the world.