CHARLOTTE, N.C. (April 26, 2008) – Brian Travis of Conover, N.C., a 30-year-old supervisor for Southeastern Freight Line, is now “Living the Dream” after catching five bass weighing 14 pounds, 5 ounces on the final day of The Bass
Federation National Championship presented by the National Guard Saturday on Lake Wylie. He captured the TBF National Championship title with a three-day total catch of 15 bass weighing 45 pounds, 9 ounces.
For his victory Travis received a $100,000 prize package that includes automatic entry into the $1 million Wal-Mart Bass Fishing League All-American presented by Chevy on Lake Hamilton in Hot Springs, Ark., May 29-31 and automatic entry into the $2 million Forrest Wood Cup presented by Castrol in Columbia, S.C., Aug. 14-17, where the top pro can pocket as much as $1 million – the biggest award in bass fishing.
“This is an unbelievable feeling, a dream come true,” said Travis, who represents the Southern Division and fishes Lake Wylie on a regular basis. “I look forward to the future and my fishing career with FLW Outdoors.
Travis started his fishing Saturday near Seven Oaks Creek on a spot that he had not fished in two years. He estimates that he had three fish in the boat, including his biggest, by 9:30 a.m. He used an array of lures, including 4-inch green-pumpkin lizards, Yum crawfish and Shooter jigs, while sight-fishing and covering a lot of water.
“This is the best executed tournament that I have ever fished,” he said. “I had a good feeling that this was my time to win.”
In addition to incredibly lucrative championship berths, Travis also received $10,000 and a “prize package that includes use of a “Living the Dream” wrapped Chevy truck and Ranger boat powered by Evinrude or Yamaha, sponsor merchandise and entry fees into the 2009 Wal-Mart FLW Tour or Wal-Mart FLW Series to compete against the world’s top bass anglers.
Anglers from six nationwide TBF divisions competed during 2007 and qualified through a series of TBF club, TBF state and TBF divisional tournaments to compete in the no-entry-fee TBF National Championship.
“I think everyone should join the TBF,” Travis said. “It has so much to offer, and look where it got me.”
Travis started the tournament Thursday in first place with five bass weighing 14 pounds, 14 ounces. He retained his lead Friday with a five-bass catch weighing 16-06 that bumped his two-day total to 31-04 going into the final day of competition.
Rounding out the boater field were Ronald Hobbs Jr. of Graham, Wash. (Western Division, 15 bass, 38-11, $5,000); Tom Belinda of Hollidaysburg, Pa. (Mid-Atlantic Division, 15 bass, 36-07, $2,500); Robert Crino of South Royalton, Vt. (Eastern Division, 14 bass, 33-12, $2,500); Terry McWilliams of Greenfield, Ind. (Northern Division, 15 bass, 30-01, $2,500); and Don Owens of Ponca City, Okla. (Central Division, 11 bass, 25-11, $2,500). Each of these boaters will also advance to the All-American.
Overall there were 25 bass weighing 56 pounds, 4 ounces caught by six boaters. The catch included four five-bass limits.
Hobbs also won a 519VX Ranger Comanche powered by Yamaha as the highest finishing Ranger Cup participant.
Bill Roberts of Fairfax, Va., entered the final round of co-angler competition with a 3-ounce lead but fell to third after catching just one bass weighing 1-pound, 10 ounces. The Mid-Atlantic Division angler earned $1,000 for the finish with a total of 11 bass weighing 23-05. His stumble opened the door for Craig Fredrychowski of Lexington, S.C., representing the Southern Division.
Fredrychowski overcame a 2-pound, 7-ounce deficit on the final day thanks to a five-bass limit weighing 7-07 that boosted his three-day total to 14 bass weighing 26-11, good for a $10,000 prize package that includes co-angler entry into the 2008 Forrest Wood Cup for a chance to fish for as much as $50,000. He also earned a berth into the All-American along with the top co-angler from each TBF division for a chance to fish for as much as $70,000.
“I can’t believe that I am qualified for the Forrest Wood Cup,” Fredrychowski said. “This is a dream come true for me. It absolutely means the world to me. This is just the start of something good.
“This week I had great partners, and I owe everything to them. They taught me a lot this week and allowed me to catch some good fish.”
Fredrychowski caught his fish throwing a shaky head and covering a lot of water on Lake Wylie.
Rounding out the co-angler field were Ben Gross of Kingman, Ariz. (Western Division, 11 bass, 23-11, $2,500); Hoyt Akins of Mayflower, Ark. (Central Division, 11 bass, 22-8, $1,000); Brian Belke of New Lenox, Ill. (Northern Division, 10 bass, 22-05, $1,000) and Tim Austin of Williston, Vt. (Eastern Division, nine bass, 20-05, $1,000).
Overall there were 12 bass weighing 21 pounds, 10 ounces caught by six co-anglers. The catch included one five-bass limit.
The entire field of 40 TBF boaters and 40 co-anglers fished Thursday and Friday for an accumulated two-day weight. The top boater and co-angler from each of the TBF’s six divisions advanced to Saturday’s final round, where the winners were determined by the heaviest three-day accumulated weight.
Coverage of the TBF National Championship presented by the National Guard will be broadcast to 81 million FSN (Fox Sports Net) subscribers in the United States on June 8 as part of the “FLW Outdoors” television program. “FLW Outdoors” is also broadcast in Canada on WFN (World Fishing Network) and to more than 429 million households in the United Kingdom, Europe, Russia, Australia, Africa, Asia, and the Middle East through a distribution agreement with Matchroom Sport, making it the most widely distributed fishing program in the world. The program airs Sunday mornings at 11 Eastern time in most markets. Check local listings for times in your area.
Tournament anglers aren’t the only ones winning big this season. With the introduction of FLW Fantasy Fishing™, FLW Outdoors® offers anyone the opportunity to enter for their chance to land the catch of a lifetime with the opportunity to win $7.3 million in cash and prizes. Players can become a virtual pro angler by signing up for Player’s Advantage, providing them with exclusive insider information that could guide them to a $100,000 victory at every Wal-Mart FLW Tour® stop and the Forrest Wood Cup. Player’s Advantage will give them an edge over the competition and increase their shot for a $1 million cash grand prize that will be awarded to the FLW Fantasy Fishing cumulative points winner. Those who visit FantasyFishing.com today can sign up for Player’s Advantage and FLW Outdoors will include a $15 Wal-Mart gift card.
FLW Outdoors, named after Forrest L. Wood, the legendary founder of Ranger Boats, is the largest fishing tournament organization in the world. In 2008 alone the organization is offering more than 90,000 anglers the chance to win over $40 million through 230 tournaments in 10 circuits targeting bass, walleye, redfish, kingfish and striped bass. FLW Outdoors is also taking fishing mainstream with the largest cash awards in the history of fantasy sports, $7.3 million.
The Bass Federation Inc. (TBF) is owned by those it serves and is dedicated to the sport of fishing. TBF affiliated state federations and their member clubs conduct more than 20,000 fishing, youth and conservation events at the local level each year and have provided the foundation for the entire bass fishing industry for more than 30 years. For more information about The Bass Federation, visit bassfederation.com or call (580) 765-9031.
For more information about FLW Outdoors and its tournaments, visit FLWOutdoors.com or call (270) 252-1000. For more information about FLW Fantasy Fishing and Player’s Advantage, visit FantasyFishing.com.