Resident reels in $5,000 prize in FLW Fantasy Fishing event

Nearly everyone knows about fantasy football and baseball, but they might not have heard of fantasy fishing.

The game didn’t come as a surprise to east valley resident Ben Andreas, who won $5,000 by playing FLW Fantasy Fishing on June 29.

“It was crazy,” said Andreas, who operates Sunshield Awning, 4685 Boulder Highway. “I’ve played for a while, but I got more serious about it this year. They called me Monday and told me I’d picked five of the top anglers.”

Andreas is no stranger to fantasy sports, and he has been an avid fisherman all his life.

“I love going out and fishing on Lake Mead,” he said. “I go out there whenever I can.”

The uninitiated may think of fishing as standing near water holding a stick and waiting for something to happen, but fishermen know it’s more than that.

“I think people go fishing for a combination of reasons,” said Doug Nielsen, conservation education supervisor for the Nevada Department of Wildlife. “It’s a chance to be outside, away from the weight of everyday life. But at the same time, it gives you the challenge of pitting your wits against a fish. Hopefully, you come out on top.”

Andreas made his winning picks on the Walmart FLW Tour on Kentucky Lake. The event took place in Paris, Tenn., but Andreas followed the action and weigh-ins on flwoutdoors.com, the website hosting the tournament and the fantasy fishing.

“They show the weigh-ins and have cameras set up in some of the boats,” Andreas said. “They’ve got the stats up for all the anglers. They take the whole thing and turn it into a TV show.”

He said that typically, organizers compress a four-day tournament into a one-hour program.

FLW Fantasy Fishing began in 2008 and consists of six tournaments held in conjunction with the Walmart FLW Tour majors. Participants compete for a grand prize of $100,000 awarded at the end of the season to the player who accumulates the most points. The $5,000 Andreas took won’t change his life, but he was happy and proud to win it.

“It helps out,” he said. “It’ll pay some bills.”

Contact East Valley View reporter F. Andrew Taylor at ataylor@viewnews.com or 702-380-4532.

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