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Walmart Bass Fishing League - Western
LAKE OROVILLE (Feb. 16, 2002)
Gutierrez wins Wal-Mart BFL Western Division opener
OROVILLE, Calif. — Greg Gutierrez, Red Bluff, Calif., topped 89 Wal-Mart Bass Fishing League competitors Saturday on Lake Oroville with five bass weighing 10 pounds, 8 ounces. The catch earned him $2,940 and 200 points in the Boater Division.
Gutierrez caught his limit, which included a 3-pound, 15-ounce bass that earned him big bass honors and a $445 bonus, using a drop-shot rig with a brown and green worm in the lake's north fork. The catch topped second-place boater Brad Taggart, Oroville, Calif., by 13 ounces. Taggart finished the one-day tournament with a five-bass catch weighing 9 pounds, 11 ounces worth $1,470.
Ed Zinda, Sacramento, Calif. (five bass, 9 pounds, 3 ounces, $882); Charles Almassey, Oakley, Calif. (five bass, 8 pounds, 14 ounces, $676); and Mike Hanson, Oroville, Calif., (five bass, 8 pounds, 14 ounces, $676) rounded out the top-five boaters. Almassey also earned a $500 bonus from Ranger Boats as the highest finishing participant in the Ranger Cup incentive program.
Steve Fredrick, Jackson, Calif., claimed first place and $1,389 in the 79-competitor Co-angler Division with five bass weighing 8 pounds, 9 ounces. He squeaked by second-place co-anglers Dink Mendez, Campbell, Calif., and Dallas Merrick, Hayward, Calif., by 7 ounces thanks to a ¼-ounce white gitzit that he was fishing drop-shot style in the lake's middle fork. Mendez and Merrick finished with identical five-bass limits weighing 8 pounds, 2 ounces worth $555.
Ron Owen, Roseville, Calif., (five bass, 8 pounds, 1 ounce, $333) and Jesse Hoover, San Leandro, Calif. (five bass, 7 pounds, 15 ounces, $305) rounded out the top-five co-anglers.
Co-angler Dave Newton, Antioch, Calif., earned big bass honors and $197 in his division with a 3-pound, 6-ounce bass.
Overall, 103 five-bass limits were caught during the tournament.
The Wal-Mart BFL will visit Folsom Lake March 23 for the second of five Western Division events. The boater with the most points after the division's season finale, a two-day Super Tournament Oct. 12-13 on Clear Lake 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 Western Division boaters and co-anglers will advance to regional competition Nov. 12-16 on Lake Havasu near Lake Havasu City, Ariz., where they will go up against top competitors from the Colorado River Division 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.