The FLW Tour, the most competitive circuit in professional bass fishing, is set to compete on theMississippi River in an event presented by Evinrude, when 322 of the world's most decorated bass pros and co-anglers will be 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. The event, which is hosted by Explore La Crosse, is the sixth stop of 2017 - the Tour's 22nd season.
FLW Tour anglers will launch in Pool No. 8, and have the option to lock upriver to Pool No. 7 or downriver to Pool No. 9. These three impoundments provide an ample amount and variety of cover for bass to reside. Vast swaths of vegetation, wing dams, rock jetties, backwater pools and shallow laydowns will all be targeted by anglers.
"I'm hoping the weather warms up a little as the tournament approaches," said Yamamoto Baits pro Tom Monsoor of La Crosse, a 14-year Tour veteran and six-time Forrest Wood Cup qualifier. "If it does, it's going to be on fire and they're really going to catch them. The bass are getting ready to spawn, but this cold snap we've had has kind of shut them down. It's going to all come down to the temperature for this event.
"If the weather warms, both smallmouth and largemouth bass are going to be very active," Monsoor continued. "They'll be able to catch both species together in the same spot, which is going to surprise some of the competitors. There are several great backwater lakes in all three pools. Each of them has the potential to produce what's needed to win this tournament - that's how good they are."
Monsoor said the dominant cover for largemouth bass will likely be wood, while smallmouths should converge near rock.
"I'm going to utilize a jig because you can catch both species with it," said Monsoor. "The rest of the field will be running a variety of lures including ChatterBaits, spinnerbaits, buzzbaits, frogs, worms - they're going to use just about everything. Whatever technique each angler specializes in, they're going to catch them doing it."
Monsoor said anglers will likely need a four-day cumulative weight surpassing the 60-pound mark to take home top honors.
"It could take more weight to win, but it will depend on how consistent the guys can be," said Monsoor. "It's anybody's game - believe me. These guys are going to come up here and find bass that have never been fished. They're going to look at things different than everyone else, and someone's going to find spots that are new and unique. It's going to be a fun tournament."
Competitors will take off at each day from Veterans Freedom Park, located at 1 Clinton St., in La Crosse. and weigh-ins, , will be held at Veterans Freedom Park beginning at and weigh-ins, , will also be held at Veterans Freedom Park, but will begin at
Prior to the weigh-ins and , fans are encouraged to come out and experience the free Family Fishing Expo at Veterans Freedom Park from The Family Fun Expo is a unique opportunity for fishing fans of all ages to engage with their favorite anglers, enjoy a variety of games, activities and giveaways provided by FLW sponsors, and learn more about the sport of fishing and other outdoor activities.
Youth are also invited to participate in the free FLW Foundation's Unified Fishing Derby at Copeland Park, located at 1130 Copeland Park Drive in La Crosse, on , from The event, hosted by FLW Foundation pro Cody Kelley along with other FLW Tour anglers, is free and open to area youth (18 years of age and younger) and Special Olympics athletes (all ages). Rods and reels are available for the first 50 participants to use, but youth are encouraged to bring their own if they own one.
As part of the FLW Tour's community outreach initiative, FLW Tour professionals will visit children and patients at Gundersen Health Systems located at 1900 South Ave., in La Crosse, , from Professional anglers will interact with guests, snap photos, sign autographs for patients and staff, and share fishing stories before the tournament kicks off .
In FLW Tour competition, pros and co-anglers are randomly paired each day, with pros supplying the boat, controlling boat movement and competing against other pros. Co-anglers fish from the back deck against other co-anglers. The full field competes in the two-day opening round. Co-angler competition concludes following weigh-in, while the top 20 pros based on their two-day accumulated weight advance to . Only the top 10 pros continue competition , with the winner determined by the heaviest accumulated weight from the four days of competition.
Throughout the season, anglers are also vying for valuable points in hopes of qualifying for the 2017 Forrest Wood Cup, the world-championship of professional bass fishing. The 2017 Forrest Wood Cup will be on Lake Murray in Columbia, South Carolina, .
The total purse for the FLW Tour at Mississippi River presented by Evinrude is more than $800,000, including $10,000 through 50th place in the Pro Division.
Television coverage of the FLW Tour at Mississippi River presented by Evinrude will premiere in high-definition (HD) on NBC Sports Network (NBCSN) from . 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.
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