Walmart Bass Fishing League - Gator
OKEECHOBEE (March 24, 2001)
CLEWISTON, Fla. - Robert Beatty of Clermont, Fla., outpaced 145 competitors on Lake Okeechobee Saturday with five bass weighing 24 pounds, 6 ounces to win $4,843 and 200 points on the boater side of the third Wal-Mart Bass Fishing League (BFL) Gator Division tournament.
Beatty edged out John Hendry of La Belle, Fla., by 1 pound, 13 ounces in the one-day event that set out from Roland Martin's Marina and earned an additional $500 as the highest finishing participant in the Ranger Cup incentive program.
Hendry finished with a five-bass catch weighing 22 pounds, 9 ounces to win $2,422. He also won the Big Bass Award and collected an additional $725 with an 8-pound, 7-ounce largemouth that he caught on a Texas-rigged worm. Beatty caught his bass near Cochran's pass using a watermelon-colored worm with a 1/8-ounce rattle.
Troy Johnson of Clewiston, Fla., took third place and collected $1,211 with five bass weighing 22 pounds, 8 ounces. David Eng of Okeechobee, Fla., placed fourth and earned $1,050 with five bass weighing 21 pounds, 14 ounces, while Glenn Browne of Orlando, Fla., placed fifth and earned $969 with five bass weighing 21 pounds, 7 ounces.
First place in the Co-Angler Division and $2,422 went to Gary Maddox of North Port, Fla., who topped 145 competitors with five bass weighing 24 pounds. Second place in the division and $1,211 went to Brian Geist of North Port with five bass weighing 22 pounds, 13 ounces, while Robert Peifer of Sebring, Fla., took third place and $605 with three bass weighing 22 pounds, 10 ounces.
Kenneth Hall of Ft. Pierce, Fla., won the co-angler Big Bass Award of $362 with an 8-pound bass that he caught on a firetiger-colored crankbait in the rim canal.
Overall, 1,207 bass weighing 3,135 pounds, 6 ounces were caught during the tournament, including 202 five-bass limits.
The BFL will visit Lake Toho May 5 for the fourth of five events in the Gator Division. The boater with the most points after the division's season finale, a two-day Super Tournament Oct. 6-7 on Lake Okeechobee, will be declared the Divisional Points Champion and awarded $1,000. The co-angler amassing the most points by the end of the season will receive $500.
The top 30 boaters and top 30 co-anglers in the Gator Division will advance to regional competition Oct. 23-27 on Wateree Lake near Camden, S.C., where they will go up against top competitors from the Bulldog, Mountain and Bama divisions for a shot at qualifying for the $250,000 All-American.
Awards for the 2001 BFL season could reach $5.7 million based on full fields at each tournament.