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Hite Holds Lead at Walmart FLW Tour Season Opener on Lake Okeechobee Presented by Mercury

Georgia's Weaver Leads Co-Anglers

CLEWISTON, Fla., Feb. 7, 2014 /PRNewswire/ -- The morning started with much cooler conditions on Friday for pro angler Brett Hite of Phoenix, Ariz., and the field of 178 of the world's best bass-fishing anglers on day two of the Walmart FLW Tour on Lake Okeechobee presented by Mercury. Hite still managed to bring a limit weighing 23 pounds, 8 ounces – the day's sixth-best stringer – to the scale to increase his lead in the four-day event that has anglers casting for a top prize of up to $125,000.

Link to photo of pro leader Brett Hite

Hite's two-day total of 10 bass weighing 58 pounds, 7 ounces is the fourth-largest days 1 and 2 total in FLW Tour history. He is currently on pace to shatter the FLW Tour's all-time heaviest weight record of 106-10 set by Brandon McMillan on Lake Okeechobee in 2011. Hite now holds a comfortable 12-pound, 9-ounce lead over 2013 Forrest Wood Cup Champion Randall Tharp of Port St. Joe, Fla., who sits in second place with 10 bass weighing 45-14.

"Today the morning was cooler and the water temperature dropped," said Hite, who has three career tournament wins in FLW competition. "It started off a little slower today. I had a limit around 10 or 11 (a.m.) with three big ones and two smaller ones. Then there was a lull in the middle of the day. Then, around 1:30 they started gearing back up again and I really made some decent culls.

"Things have just been going right. I'm fishing the way that I like to fish, and I'm relaxed. I'm confident with what I'm doing."

Like Thursday, Hite said that he caught his fish on three or four different baits.

"There are a lot of people around me," Hite said. "But they're not fishing the same pattern or style. I'm keying on a specific thing, and I think that's why I'm getting some of those bigger bites.

"The areas that I'm fishing in have tons of hydrilla and grass," Hite said. "It's what I like to call the salad bowl. It's got lots of hydrilla, eel grass and pepper grass, and there is no shortage of fish there. I still have some spots saved, as well. I wouldn't say they are my best spots, but some of my spots that I didn't think were my best . . . I have been able to catch some big ones there. It'll help tomorrow not having all of the boat traffic running around."

The top 20 pros that will fish Saturday on Lake Okeechobee are:

1st:     Brett Hite, Phoenix, Ariz., 10 bass, 58-7
2nd:    Randall Tharp, Port St. Joe, Ala., 10 bass, 45-14
3rd:     Matt Herren, Trussville, Ala., 10 bass, 41-3
4th:     Leon Williams, Fairdale, Ky., 10 bass, 41-2
5th:     Kellogg's Pop-Tarts pro Greg Bohannan, Rogers, Ark., 10 bass, 40-13
6th:     Brent Ehrler, Redlands, Calif., 10 bass, 39-15
7th:     Stetson Blaylock, Benton, Ark., 10 bass, 38-13
8th:     Chevy pro Larry Nixon, Bee Branch, Ark., 10 bass, 38-7
9th:     Fred Roumbanis, Bixby, Okla., 10 bass, 38-4
10th:   James Watson, Waynesville, Mo., 10 bass, 37-14  
11th:   Straight Talk Wireless pro Scott Canterbury, Springville, Ala., 10 bass, 37-7
12th:   Kerry Milner, Bono, Ark., 10 bass, 37-2     
13th:   Keith Amerson, Bethel Springs, Tenn., 10 bass, 37-1
14th:   Scott Martin, Clewiston, Fla., 10 bass, 36-7
15th:   Matt Greenblatt, Port St. Lucie, Fla., 10 bass, 36-6
16th:   Ryan Chandler, Valparaiso, Ind., seven bass, 36-4
17th:   Livingston Lures pro Andy Morgan, Dayton, Tenn., 10 bass, 36-2
18th:   Peter Thliveros, St. Augustine, Fla., 10 bass, 36-0
19th:   Folgers pro Scott Suggs, Bryant, Ark., 10 bass, 35-15
20th:   Repel pro Cody Meyer, Auburn, Calif., 10 bass, 35-12

For a full list of results visit FLWOutdoors.com.

Thliveros won the FLW Big Bass Award and $500 on Friday on the pro side with a fish weighing 8 pounds, 15 ounces.

Overall there were 869 bass weighing 2,305 pounds even caught by 178 pros Friday. The catch included 168 five-bass limits.

Pros are competing for a top award of up to $125,000 this week plus valuable points in the hope of qualifying for the 2014 Forrest Wood Cup presented by Walmart, the world championship of bass fishing. The top 35 anglers in the point standings from the six events on the 2014 Walmart FLW Tour will qualify. The 2014 Forrest Wood Cup will be in Columbia, S.C., Aug. 14-17 on Lake Murray.

Joshua Weaver of Macon, Ga., leads the co-angler division with 10 bass weighing 33-11 followed by Chuck Kavros of Grass Valley, Calif., in second place with 10 bass weighing 31-13.

The top 20 co-anglers fishing Saturday are:

1st:     Joshua Weaver, Macon, Ga., 10 bass, 33-11
2nd:    Chuck Kavros, Grass Valley, Calif., 10 bass, 31-13
3rd:     Nick Hensley, Cumming, Ga., 10 bass, 29-9
4th:     Cecil Wolfe, Scarborough, Ontario, Canada, 10 bass, 29-6
5th:     Ken Coats, Tulsa, Okla., 10 bass, 29-5
6th:     Chad Randles, Elkhorn, Neb., 10 bass, 29-1
7th:     Theo Corcoran, Independence, Mo., 10 bass, 28-5
8th:     Nick Loeffelman Jr., Valles Mines, Mo., 10 bass, 28-4
9th:     Bryan Partak, Marseilles, Ill., 10 bass, 27-3
10th:   Johnny Manning, Arkadelphia, Ark., 10 bass, 26-8
11th:   Greg Knick, Ansonia, Ohio, 10 bass, 26-1
12th:   Kyle Monti, Okeechobee, Fla., 10 bass, 25-12
13th:   Dalton Cooksey, New Concord, Ky., 10 bass, 25-6
14th:   Les Swann III, Lake Placid, Fla., 10 bass, 25-3
14th:   Billy Dehart, Burlingame, Calif., 10 bass, 25-3
16th:   Bill Terrell, Memphis, Tenn., 10 bass, 25-2
17th:   Jimmy Kowalski, Lake Placid, Fla., 10 bass, 24-15
18th:   Eddie Laster, Morton, Miss., 10 bass, 24-8
19th:   Grayson Smith, Clarksville, Tenn., 10 bass, 24-6
20th:   Chuck Rounds, Benton, Ky., 10 bass, 24-2

For a full list of results visit FLWOutdoors.com.

Kyle Prskalo of Hobart, Ind., caught Friday's FLW Big Bass in the co-angler division weighing 8-9 to win $250.

Overall there were 747 bass weighing 1,522 pounds, 11 ounces caught by co-anglers Friday. The catch included 118 five-bass limits.

Co-anglers are fishing for a top award of $25,000 this week plus valuable points that could help them qualify for the 2014 Forrest Wood Cup presented by Walmart. The top 35 co-anglers in the point standings from the six events on the 2014 Walmart FLW Tour will qualify.

Anglers will take off from the Clewiston Boat Basin located at 709 Hoover Dike Road at 7:30 a.m. Saturday and Sunday. Saturday and Sunday's final weigh-ins will be held at the Walmart located at 1005 W. Sugarland Highway in Clewiston beginning at 4 p.m.

Fans will also be treated to the FLW Expo at Walmart on Saturday and Sunday from noon to 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. Also on Sunday, country music artist Josh Thompson will perform a free live concert on the Walmart weigh-in stage at 3 p.m.

Coverage of the Lake Okeechobee tournament will be broadcast in high-definition (HD) on NBC Sports Network when "FLW" airs May 17 from 11 a.m.-12 p.m. ET. The Emmy-nominated "FLW" television show is hosted by Jason Harper and is broadcast to more than 564 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 anglers of all skill levels the opportunity to compete for millions in prize money nationwide in 2014 over the course of 229 tournaments across five tournament circuits, four of which provide an avenue to the sport's richest payday and most coveted championship trophy – the Forrest Wood Cup. FLW tournament fishing can be seen on the Emmy-nominated "FLW" television show and is broadcast to more than 564 million households worldwide, making it the most widely distributed weekly outdoors-sports television show in the world. FLW is committed to providing a lifestyle experience that is the "Best in Fishing, On and Off the Water." For more information about FLW visit FLWOutdoors.com and look for FLW on Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest and YouTube.



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