Fort Mill Times

Lake Wylie anglers ready to cast in FLW Tour starting March 5-8

The first tournament of the 20th anniversary season of the Walmart FLW Tour kicks off March 5-8 at Lake Toho, presented by Mercury.

Hosted by Experience Kissimmee and the Osceola County Department of Tourism, the tournament will feature 154 bass-fishing professionals 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.

Local anglers are Todd Auten of Lake Wylie, Chris Baumgardner of Gastonia, and Bryan Thrift and Matt Arey, both of Shelby, N.C.

Auten is fishing his 11th season on the FLW Tour, and has five career top-10 finishes to his name.

Baumgardner has 23 career top-10 finishes, as well as seven Forrest Wood Cup appearances.

Both Shelby anglers are coming off 2014 campaigns where Thrift finished the year ranked eighth, capped off with a seventh-place finish at the Forrest Wood Cup while Arey won his first tour event at Beaver Lake.

Fans can follow the tournament at Live tweets, updates and videos will be posted throughout the four days of competition, as well as a live streaming video feed of the weigh-in held at 5 p.m. each day.

In FLW Tour competition, anglers also are vying for points in hopes of qualifying for the 2015 Forrest Wood Cup to be held Aug. 20-23 in Hot Springs, Ark., on Lake Ouachita. The Forrest Wood Cup Champion could win as much as $500,000.

Coverage of the Lake Toho tournament will be broadcast on NBC Sports Network 7-8 p.m. Sept. 28. The Emmy-nominated “FLW” airs on NBCSN, Pursuit Channel and World Fishing Network.

For details, visit