Walmart Bass Fishing League - Bulldog
LAKE OCONEE (April 6, 2002)
BUCKHEAD, Ga. — Jim Murray Jr. of Arabi, Ga., topped 200 Wal-Mart Bass Fishing League competitors Saturday on Lake Oconee with five bass weighing 18 pounds, 2 ounces. The catch earned him $5,000 and 200 points in the Boater Division.
Murray caught his limit on a ¼-ounce Strike King jig and a green Zoom tube while fishing docks in Richland Creek. The catch topped second-place boater H. N. Edge of Buckhead, Ga., by 2 pounds, 5 ounces. Edge finished the one-day tournament with a five-bass catch weighing 15 pounds, 13 ounces worth $2,500.
Mike Cleveland of Covington, Ga. (five bass, 14 pounds, 12 ounces, $1,500); Jim Beavers of Manchester, Ga. (five bass, 14 pounds, 8 ounces, $1,200); and Scott Hayes of Palmetto, Ga., (five bass, 14 pounds, 3 ounces, $1,100) rounded out the top five boaters.
Brian Christian of Comer, Ga., earned boater big bass honors and $1,000 with an 8-pound, 4-ounce bass. He finished tied with Barry Stokes of Covington, Ga., for sixth place. Christian caught three bass weighing 14 pounds, 1 ounce, while Stokes caught five bass.
Brent Deal of Lithia Springs, Ga., received a $500 bonus from Ranger Boats as the highest-finishing participant in the Ranger Cup incentive program. He finished in 20th place with a five-bass catch weighing 10 pounds, 9 ounces.
Gary Thacker of Covington, Ga., claimed first place and $2,500 in the 200-competitor Co-angler Division with four bass weighing 13 pounds. He surpassed second-place co-angler Douglas Swanson Jr. of Hogansville, Ga., by 2 ounces. Swanson finished with a five-bass catch weighing 12 pounds, 14 ounces worth $1,250.
Bart Baxley of Tallahassee, Fla. (five bass, 11 pounds, 12 ounces, $750); Larry Stower of Stockbridge, Ga. (five bass, 11 pounds, 2 ounces, $600); and Michael Stewart of Moultrie, Ga., (five bass, 10 pounds, 15 ounces, $550) rounded out the top five co-anglers.
Co-angler Randy Cottrell of Madison, Ga., earned big bass honors and $500 in his division with a 5-pound bass. He finished 37th overall thanks to the one bass.
Overall, 36 five-bass limits were caught during the tournament.
The Wal-Mart BFL will visit Lake Sinclair May 11 for the third of five Bulldog Division events. The boater with the most points after the division's season finale, a two-day Super Tournament Oct. 5-6 on Lake Eufaula, will be declared the Yamaha “Be the Best” Points Leader and awarded $1,000. The co-angler amassing the most points by the end of the season will receive $500.
The top 30 Bulldog Division boaters and co-anglers will advance to regional competition presented by BC Powder Oct. 29-Nov. 2 on Wheeler Lake near Rogersville, Ala., where they will go up against top competitors from the LBL, Music City and Shenandoah divisions for a shot at qualifying for the Wal-Mart BFL All-American — one of the most lucrative post-season tournaments in competitive angling.
2002 BFL awards could reach $7 million based on full fields.