Walmart Bass Fishing League - Gator
LAKE OKEECHOBEE (Oct. 5-6, 2002)
CLEWISTON, Fla. — Mike Gough of Gainesville, Fla., topped 164 Boater Division competitors on Lake Okeechobee this weekend with a five-bass catch weighing 20 pounds, 11 ounces. He earned $8,422 and 300 points for the win at the Wal-Mart Bass Fishing League Gator Division season finale.
After qualifying for the final round of the two-day Super Tournament in seventh place with an opening-day catch of five bass weighing 19 pounds, 1 ounce, Gough out-fished runner-up John Bitter of Maitland, Fla., by 2 pounds, 7 ounces to take the win. Gough caught his limit on day two using a Gambler Bacon Rind.
Bitter qualified for the final round in 32nd place with five bass weighing 12 pounds, 10 ounces and finished up with a four-bass catch weighing 18 pounds, 4 ounces to win $4,211.
John Huls of Lakeland, Fla. (five bass, 18 pounds, 1 ounce, $2,281); Mark Lamb of West Palm Beach, Fla. (five bass, 17 pounds, 11 ounces, $1,930); and Greg Sorrell of Fort Myers, Fla., (five bass, 17 pounds, 10 ounces, $1,579) rounded out the top five boaters.
Robert Peifer of Lake Placid, Fla., took boater big-bass honors and $1,640 for an 8-pound, 8-ounce bass he caught on a Gambler worm. Lamb earned a $500 bonus as the highest-finishing participant in the Ranger Cup incentive program.
Randy Vriesman of Orlando, Fla., topped 155 competitors in the Co-angler Division to take first place and $4,024 thanks to a final-round catch of five bass weighing 19 pounds, 15 ounces. Second place in the division and $2,012 went to Red Downey of Fort Myers, Fla., with a five-bass catch weighing 14 pounds, 9 ounces, followed by Patrick Layhew of Bradenton, Fla., in third place with five bass weighing 12 pounds, 1 ounce worth $1,090.
Bruce Bozman of St. Cloud, Fla., won the co-angler big-bass award of $775 with a 9-pound, 2-ounce bass he caught using a worm.
Billy Bowen Jr. of Ocala, Fla., is the Gator Division's Yamaha “Be the Best” points leader, winning $1,000 for the 952 points he earned during five regular-season tournaments. Mike Woodham of Clewiston, Fla., is the Yamaha “Be the Best” points leader in the Co-angler Division. He earned $500 for his division-leading 987 points.
The top 30 boaters and top 30 co-anglers in the Gator Division will advance to regional competition Oct. 22-26 on Lake Seminole near Bainbridge, Ga., where they will go up against top competitors from the Carolina, Choo Choo and Piedmont divisions for a shot at qualifying for the BFL All-American, one of the most lucrative postseason tournaments in competitive angling.
2002 BFL awards could reach $7 million based on full fields.
Sponsors of the 2002 Wal-Mart BFL are Wal-Mart, ALPO Pet Foods, BC Powder, BFGoodrich Tires, Castrol, Chevy Trucks, Conseco, Energizer, EverStart Batteries, Evinrude, Faded Glory, Frito-Lay, FujiFilm, GARMIN, Kellogg's, Land O'Lakes, Minn Kota, Newell Rubbermaid, Pepsi, Poulan, Ranger Boats, Shop-Vac, Snickers, Stanley Works, Stren, U.S. Bank, Weed Eater and Yamaha Outboards.