DAYTON, Tenn. – The Walmart FLW Tour on Lake Chickamauga presented by Chevy will visit the Dayton, Tenn., area June 27-30 for the sixth and final regular-season tournament of its 18th season. Hosted by the City of Dayton, the tournament will feature the world's best bass pros and co-anglers 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.
One angler in particular, Evinrude pro Andy Morgan of Dayton, Tenn., has had a fantastic season and currently leads the Kellogg's Angler of the Year race heading into the final event of the season. The local pro will have the advantage of fishing his home waters as he attempts to earn his first Angler of the Year title.
"The lake has been on fire," said Morgan. "We've had an unbelievable spring here. We were seeing five-bass stringers of over 40 pounds. The fish are post-spawn now and it's slowed down a little bit, but guys are still bringing in upper 20-pound weights to win the local weekend tournaments here.
"I think that the thing that I'm most excited about is getting to sleep in my own bed every night," Morgan continued. "It won't be easy to compete, though. These are my home waters, but the fish are biting and the lake is very good right now. Everyone is going to catch fish. It's going to be tough to catch the 18- to 20-pound stringers each day, just because Chickamauga isn't very big. Fishing pressure is going to be a key factor in this event."
Morgan said that most of the anglers would be targeting the offshore ledges south of Hiwassee Island and the Tennessee Highway 60 bridge.
"This tournament will be won offshore," Morgan said. "If you're traveling to Lake Chickamauga to fish right now, you better bring everything that you have. The fish will be biting on everything. Soft plastics, big worms, trick worms, topwater baits, deep-diving crankbaits, football-head jigs, swimbaits, umbrella rigs; bring all of the tackle that you have. It'll be primarily deep-water stuff, but it's summertime, and I'd bring everything."
Morgan said he thinks that the winner will need to boat 20 pounds a day to earn the trophy and $125,000 paycheck, and Walmart pro Wesley Strader of Spring City, Tenn., agreed with him. Both estimated that an angler will need 16 to 16½ pounds a day to make the top-20 cut.
"Lake Chickamauga is kind of a cross between Lake Guntersville and Kentucky Lake, but smaller," Strader said. "Typically, there is a bunch of grass, but we've been flooded from all of the rain, and the current has ripped up a lot of the grass. The water is so dingy right now that the grass isn't growing like it normally does. I could be dead wrong, but I think that you'll need right around 80 pounds to win here.
"The only problem with Chickamauga is that guys are going to be bunched up," Strader went on to say. "It's going to be won offshore, and there are just not that many good areas to go around for everybody. It's going to be competitive."
In FLW Tour competition, anglers are also vying for valuable points in hopes of qualifying for the 2013 Forrest Wood Cup, the world championship of bass fishing. The 2013 Forrest Wood Cup will be in Shreveport, La., Aug. 15-18 on the Red River and anglers could win as much as $500,000 – the sport's biggest award. Coverage of the Forrest Wood Cup will be broadcast in high-definition (HD) on NBC when "FLW" airs Sept. 29 from 2:30 p.m.-3:30 p.m. ET. Anglers are also vying for the prestigious 2013 Walmart FLW Tour Angler of the Year presented by Kellogg's title that will be determined by the most points accumulated over the six-tournament season.
Anglers will take off from the Dayton Boat Dock located at 175 Lakeshore Drive in Dayton at 6:30 a.m. each morning. Thursday and Friday's weigh-ins will be held at the Dayton Boat Dock beginning at 3 p.m. Saturday and Sunday's final weigh-ins will be held at the Walmart located at 3034 Rhea County Highway in Dayton beginning at 4 p.m.
Fans will also be treated to the FLW Outdoors Expo at the 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 Dylan Scott will perform a free live concert on the Walmart weigh-in stage at 3 p.m.
As part of the FLW Tour's community outreach initiative, FLW will be working in conjunction with the Senior Citizen's Awareness Network (SCAN) to build a handicapped-access wheelchair ramp at a senior citizen's home. FLW Tour pros will be on hand assisting SCAN on June 26 from 8-11 a.m.
Coverage of the Lake Chickamauga tournament will be broadcast in high-definition (HD) on NBC Sports Network when "FLW" airs Aug. 4 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.