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    Walmart Bass Fishing League - Choo Choo

    LAKE NEELY HENRY (June 15, 2002)


    Belyeu wins Wal-Mart BFL Choo Choo Division tournament

    Johnny Belyeu of Gadsden, Ala., (left) topped 143 Wal-Mart Bass Fishing League competitors June 15 on Lake Neely Henry. Jay Brewer (right) of Collinwood, Tenn., claimed first place the 138-competitor Co-angler Division.

    GADSDEN, Ala. — Johnny Belyeu of Gadsden, Ala., topped 143 Wal-Mart Bass Fishing League competitors Saturday on Lake Neely Henry with five bass weighing 14 pounds, 3 ounces. The catch earned him $3,911 and 200 points in the Boater Division as well as a $1,000 bonus from Ranger Boats as the highest-finishing participant in the Ranger Cup incentive program.

    Belyeu caught his limit on a green finesse worm that he was casting near the dam in 10 to 12 feet of water.

    The catch topped second-place boater Marty Brown of Dalton, Ga., by 6 ounces. Brown finished the one-day tournament with a five-bass catch weighing 13 pounds, 13 ounces worth $1,956.

    Edward Ricklefs of Jasper, Tenn. (five bass, 13 pounds, $1,173); Gurnie Ghrigsby of Moulton, Ala. (five bass, 12 pounds, 14 ounces, $939); and A.B. Battles of Southside, Ala., (five bass, 12 pounds, 4 ounces, $860) rounded out the top five boaters.

    Eddie Jackson of Trussville, Ala., earned boater big bass honors and $715 with a 5-pound, 7-ounce bass that he caught up river with a blue and black jig in shallow wood. He finished in 39th place overall with three bass weighing 8 pounds, 7 ounces.

    Jay Brewer of Collinwood, Tenn., claimed first place and $1,916 in the 138-competitor Co-angler Division with five bass weighing 12 pounds, 9 ounces. He surpassed second-place co-angler Greg Watson of Kimberly, Ala., by 5 ounces thanks to 1/2-ounce jigs fished mainly in riprap. Watson finished with a five-bass catch weighing 12 pounds, 4 ounces worth $958. He also earned big bass honors and $345 in his division with a 5-pound bass.

    Russ Ritter of Lexington, Ala. (five bass, 12 pounds, 2 ounces, $575); Stephen Thompson of Muscle Shoals, Ala. (five bass, 10 pounds, 12 ounces, $460); and Kelly Marchal of Alexandria, Ala., (five bass, 9 pounds, 5 ounces, $421) rounded out the top five co-anglers.

    Overall, 118 five-bass limits were caught during the tournament.

    The Wal-Mart BFL will visit Lake Guntersville for Choo Choo Division's season finale Sept. 28-29. The boater with the most points after the two-day Super Tournament 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 Choo Choo Division boaters and co-anglers 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, Gator and Piedmont 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.

    Sponsors of the 2002 Wal-Mart BFL are Wal-Mart, ALPO Pet Foods, BC Powder, BFGoodrich Tires, Castrol, Chevy Trucks, Coleman, 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, US Bank, Weed Eater and Yamaha Outboards. Associate sponsors are Abu Garcia, Berkley, Eagle Claw, Hover-Lure, Laker, Maxwell House, Plano and Solar Bat.