The Rayovac FLW Series Championship is this weekend in Paducah, including the pro anglers weigh-in at the Paducah Riverfront on Thursday and Friday open to spectators and a televised event on NBC Sports at Walmart (across from the mall) on Saturday. FLW Promotions Manager Scott Ellison stops by Sounds Good to speak with Tracy Ross about this top level fishing tournament that sends the top 10 anglers to the prestigious Forrest Wood Cup.
The Rayovac FLW Series Championship on the Ohio River this year brings anglers together trying to make it to the professional level, qualifying for the FLW Tour and the Forrest Wood Cup. In the mix are also many professional anglers, the best of the best - as Ellison says, to help supplement their year. There are many high level anglers in the area for this event, he says, and amateurs often get a chance to fish among the best in the sport.
There's a big difference between fishing in rivers versus lakes, he says. It's different because the current plays a huge role in where the fish position themselves. There'll be an equal amount of large mouth and small mouth bass (which you tend to find more of on river systems). Also, there is a lot of water to access for this tournament, which spreads up to the Smithland pool, to the Cumberland River, Tennessee River and Ohio River. There are approximately 170 pro-level fishermen and 170 amateur fishermen on area waterways for this event, showing off this area's fishing system as a recreational opportunity, he says.
If it rains this weekend, Ellison says especially in the river systems and in many feeder creeks, the water will get muddy and stained. He says anglers will be using baits on the creeks to find bass chasing shad and other bait fish. They'll be using brightly colored things to stand out and buzz baits on the top of water to make noise. The rain will also raise water levels and will throw a curve ball a the anglers, really testing their skills.
The tournament starts Thursday morning. The waterways were opened up last weekend for practice. The foot of the Broadway ramp in downtown Paducah is the takeoff point. On Thursday and Friday, launch starts at 6:30 a.m. and the boat takeoff is at 7 a.m. Weigh in is at 3 p.m. at the ramp. It's a unique atmosphere, he says, open to the public to view. Saturday is the big finale at the Walmart across the from the mall in Paducah (they're a large sponsor for the event). The expo is from Noon to 4 p.m. and the first 50 children get a free rod and reel, courtesy of WPSD.
Stakes are high at this event, the top 10 finishers get promoted to the top level of championship - a chance to compete in the Forrest Wood Cup, which is FLW's big tournament of the year - and will be held next August in Huntsville, Alabama. The goal for anglers is to get into this cup and put their name on the map. In this weekend's championship, the payout for first place is $50,000 and a new Ranger bass boat. The winner will be determined by total three-day weight. Each day, they can bring their best five fish. This can be large mouth, spotted or small mouth bass. 10 spots for the Forrest Wood Cup will be determined at the final weigh in event, which will be televised on NBC Sports. Ellison says if you've never seen a weigh-in before, to come out and watch. The final weights will be very close.
Next year, FLW is coming back to Kentucky Lake for an event at Kentucky Dam Marina. There are lots of great fishing and boating opportunities in the area, he says, adding that some of the best names in fishing live in the region: Dan Morehead, Terry Bolton, Troy and Todd Hollowell. Ellison says he also enjoys fishing on Kentucky Lake and that many Murray State alumni work at FLW, which is headquartered in Benton.