FLW

Anglers take to the lake during previous fishing tournament in Dayton. The FLW recently announced it will be holding a fishing tournament on Lake Chickamauga on June 23.

After a three-month hiatus, FLW’s Tackle Warehouse Pro Circuit returns June 23-26. The fourth regular-season tournament of the season — the Tackle Warehouse Pro Circuit at Lake Chickamauga — will launch from the Dayton Boat Dock in Dayton.

Hosted by Fish Dayton and the Rhea Economic and Tourism Council, the lucrative tournament will feature 206 pros competing for a piece of more than $1.3 million, with a top award of $160,000.

FLW has worked closely with local hosts and public health officials at the national, state and county levels in coordinating the event. The health and safety of anglers, marshals, staff and sponsors remain the top priority. The event will be held with attendance limited to anglers and essential tournament staff only. Fans are encouraged to forgo the daily takeoffs and weigh-ins and follow the event online through the expanded four-day “FLW Live” coverage and weigh-in broadcasts at FLWFishing.com.

“Dayton and Rhea County are honored to be hosting the upcoming Tackle Warehouse Pro Circuit Super Tournament and are excited for competitive fishing to be back on Lake Chickamauga,” said John Bamber, executive director of the Rhea Economic and Tourism Council. “We’re thankful to our partners at FLW whose planning and expertise will no doubt execute a fun event with appropriate guidelines to minimize the spread of COVID-19. Like people all over the world, we’ll be watching online in order to keep the crowds to a minimum.”

Originally a field of 150 anglers, the roster was expanded to 204 after 54 Major League Fishing [MLF] anglers accepted an invitation to compete in three Super-Tournaments. MLF announced an abbreviated 2020 Bass Pro Tour schedule due to their mid-season pause related to the coronavirus and inflexible television production deadlines, which prompted FLW Executive Vice President Kathy Fennel to create the opportunity for both FLW and MLF pros.

Pros competing in this event include former FLW champions Bryan Thrift, Justin Atkins, John Cox, Brad Knight, Anthony Gagliardi, Jacob Wheeler, Brent Ehrler, David Dudley and Darrel Robertson. They’ll be joined by bass-fishing superstars like Jordan Lee, Skeet Reese and the man many deem the FLW G.O.A.T. (Greatest of All Time), Andy Morgan.

“It’ll shake things up, and I’m not complaining about it at all. I’m excited to see those [MLF] guys,” said Ron Nelson, the current Tackle Warehouse Pro Circuit Angler of the Year points leader. “This whole year has been upside down and changed, but I’m looking forward to having a positive rest of the season. There’s a lot of bad stuff in this country people are dealing with, and we get to go fishing and have fun and make a living.”

Anglers will take off at 6:30 a.m. each day from Point Park at Dayton Boat Dock, located at 185 Chickamauga Drive, in Dayton. The weigh-in each day will also be held at Dayton Boat Dock and will begin at 3 p.m.

“The Tennessee River has taken a pounding since the start of the coronavirus, but it’s still Lake Chickamauga, and we’re going to see some big bass and some huge limits,” said local MLF pro Wesley Strader of Spring City, who will also be competing in the event. “Guys can cash a check fishing shallow, but the guy that wins will be fishing offshore. Everybody is well versed in electronics, so the key factors are going to be timing, rotation and the water generation schedule. I predict the four-day winner will have right around 75 pounds.”

In Tackle Warehouse Pro Circuit competition, the full field of 204 pro anglers compete in the two-day opening round on Tuesday and Wednesday. The top 50 pros based on their two-day accumulated weight advance to Thursday. Only the top 10 pros continue competition on Championship Friday, with the winner determined by the heaviest accumulated weight from the four days of competition.

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