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    Walmart Bass Fishing League - Western

    LAKE OROVILLE (Feb. 10, 2001)


    Bennett wins Wal-Mart Bass Fishing League Western Division opener on Lake Oroville


    OROVILLE, Calif. — Richard Bennett of Grass Valley, Calif., outpaced 98 competitors Saturday with five bass weighing 12 pounds, 1 ounce to win $3,738 and 200 points on the boater side of the Wal-Mart Bass Fishing League (BFL) Western Division opener on Lake Oroville.

    Bennett edged out Rick Kendrick of Sacramento, Calif., by 5 ounces in the one-day event that set out from Bidwell Canyon Marina on a day when the temperature on the water struggled to reach into the high 20s. Kendrick finished with a five-bass catch weighing 11 pounds, 12 ounces to win $1,869. Bennett caught his limit in the North Fork Slot using a crankbait and spinnerbait on clay points in 5 to 15 feet of water. Kendrick opted to fish steep ledges in the middle fork. He used a purple pig-n-jig in 30 to 40 feet of water.

    Michael Augusto of Citrus Heights, Calif., took third place and collected $935 with five bass weighing 11 pounds, 8 ounces. Tim Wells of Clovis, Calif., placed fourth and earned $810 with five bass weighing 11 pounds, while Brad Taggart of Oroville, Calif., placed fifth and earned $748 with five bass weighing 10 pounds, 13 ounces.

    Armando Perez of Rockland, Calif., won the boater Big Bass award and collected $490 with a 3-pound, 5-ounce bass.

    First place in the Co-Angler Division and $1,755 went to David Leeds of Placerville, Calif., who topped 92 competitors with five bass weighing 10 pounds, 7 ounces. Second place in the division and $748 went to James Avalos of Yuba City, Calif., with five bass weighing 10 pounds, 5 ounces, while Mark Nelson of Alameda, Calif., took third place and $439 with five bass weighing 9 pounds, 14 ounces. Nelson also won the co-angler Big Bass award of $230 with a 4-pound, 1-ounce bass.

    Overall, 491 bass weighing 802 pounds, 6 ounces were caught during the tournament, including 53 five bass limits. All of the bass were released alive.

    On March 10, the BFL will visit New Melones Lake for the second of five events in the Western Division. The boater with the most points after the division's season finale, a two-day Super Tournament Sept. 29-30 on Clear Lake, 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 Western Division will advance to regional competition Oct. 23-27 on Lake Shasta near Redding, Calif., where they will go up against top competitors from the Colorado River Division 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.