Walmart Bass Fishing League - Buckeye
GRAND LAKE (April 27, 2002)
CELINA, Ohio — Wayne Donovan of Celina, Ohio, topped 175 Wal-Mart Bass Fishing League competitors Saturday on Grand Lake with two bass weighing 5 pounds, 3 ounces. The catch earned him $4,520 and 200 points in the Boater Division.
Donovan caught his bass on crankbaits while fishing clear water. The catch topped second-place boater Mike Howard of New Lebanon, Ohio, by 7 ounces. Howard finished the one-day tournament with a two-bass catch weighing 4 pounds, 12 ounces worth $2,260.
Mick Eymer of Saint Marys, Ohio (one bass, 4 pounds, 9 ounces, $1,356); Gerald Thomas of Lancaster, Ohio (two bass, 4 pounds, 8 ounces, $1,085); and Randy Weaver of Piqua, Ohio (three bass, 4 pounds, 4 ounces, $994) rounded out the top five boaters.
Eymer earned boater big bass honors and an $875 bonus for his catch. Jeff Hahn of Atwater, Ohio, received a $500 bonus from Ranger Boats as the highest finishing participant in the Ranger Cup incentive program. He finished seventh with a two-bass catch weighing 4 pounds, 1 ounce.
Bill Gray of Troy, Ohio, claimed first place and $2,203 in the 169-competitor Co-angler Division with three bass weighing 6 pounds, 4 ounces. He surpassed second-place co-angler Sam Melish of Troy, Ohio, by 1 pound, 14 ounces. Melish finished with one bass weighing 4 pounds, 6 ounces worth $1,102. Melish also earned big bass honors and $422 with the fish.
Blake Birt of Greenville, Ohio (two bass, 3 pounds, 11 ounces, $661); Billy Crider Jr. of Kettering, Ohio (one bass, 3 pounds, 5 ounces, $529); and Nicholas McCullough of Grove City, Ohio, (two bass, 3 pounds, 2 ounces, $485) rounded out the top five co-anglers.
The Wal-Mart BFL will visit Lake Erie June 1 for the second of five Buckeye Division events. The boater with the most points after the division's season finale, a two-day Super Tournament Sept. 7-8 on the Ohio River, 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 Buckeye Division boaters and co-anglers will advance to regional competition Oct. 15-19 on Kerr Lake near Henderson, N.C., where they will go up against top competitors from the Mountain, Northeast and Savannah River 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.