Walmart Bass Fishing League - Choo Choo
NEELY HENRY (Feb. 24, 2001)
GADSDEN, Ala. — Charles Steele of Attalla, Ala., outpaced 173 competitors Saturday with five bass weighing 16 pounds, 12 ounces to win $5,443 and 200 points on the boater side of the Wal-Mart Bass Fishing League (BFL) Choo Choo Division opener on Neely Henry Lake.
Steele edged out Billy Gentry of Huntsville, Ala., by 1 pounds, 6 ounces in the one-day event that set out from the Gadsden City Dock. Gentry finished with a four-bass catch weighing 15 pounds, 6 ounces to win $2,722. Steele also won $500 as the highest finishing participant in the Ranger Cup incentive program. He caught his limit under overcast skies using a ½-ounce white spinnerbait with a double willow blade. He was fishing stumps and laydowns in shallow water.
Rufus Johnson of Strawberry Plains, Tenn., took third place and collected $1,361 with five bass weighing 13 pounds, 2 ounces. Jimmy Boyd of Ohatchee, Ala., placed fourth and earned $1,180 with five bass weighing 13 pounds, 1 ounce, while Robert Wagers of Southside, Ala., placed fifth and earned $1,089 with five bass weighing 12 pounds, 14 ounces.
Travis Smith of Fort Payne, Ala., won the boater Big Bass Award and collected $865 with a 6-pound, 6-ounce bass that he caught on a Zoom Brush Hog while fishing shallow stumps.
First place in the Co-Angler Division and $2,674 went to Kenny Fisher of Shelbyville, Tenn., who topped 170 competitors with four bass weighing 9 pounds, 13 ounces. Second place in the division and $1,337 went to Terrell Harbin of Ryland, Ala., with four bass weighing 9 pounds, 4 ounces, while Kyle Glasgow of Guin, Ala., took third place and $669 with five bass weighing 9 pounds, 2 ounces.
Todd Pierce of Pell City, Ala., won the co-angler Big Bass Award of $425 with a 6-pound, 7-ounce bass that he caught on a finesse worm while fishing wood cover.
Overall, 525 bass weighing 1,021 pounds, 15 ounces were caught during the tournament, including 20 five bass limits.
On March 24, the BFL will visit Wheeler Lake for the second of five events in the Choo Choo Division. The boater with the most points after the division's season finale, a two-day Super Tournament Sept. 15-16 on Neely Henry 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 Choo Choo Division will advance to regional competition Oct. 9-13 on Weiss Lake near Cedar Bluff, Ala., where they will go up against top competitors from the Carolina, Ozark and Illini 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.