Walmart Bass Fishing League - Louisiana/Texas
ATCHAFALAYA BASIN (May 18, 2002)
PORT ALLEN, La. — Michael Staley of Denham Springs, La., topped 54 Wal-Mart Bass Fishing League competitors Saturday on the Atchafalaya Basin with five bass weighing 12 pounds, 7 ounces. The catch earned him $2,045 and 200 points in the Boater Division.
Staley, who also earned a $1,000 bonus from Ranger Boats as the highest-finishing participant in the Ranger Cup incentive program and a $1,000 bonus from GARMIN for using a fixed-mount GARMIN GPS/Sounder, caught his limit on a white and chartreuse spinner bait in Bayou Black. The catch topped second-place boater Chad Collins of Sunset, La., by 1 pound, 3 ounces. Collins finished the one-day tournament with a five-bass catch weighing 11 pounds, 4 ounces worth $1,022.
Conrad Picou of Carencro, La. (five bass, 10 pounds, 3 ounces, $613); Wade Leblanc of Gonzales, La. (five bass, 9 pounds, 10 ounces, $491); and Jamie Laiche of Gonzales, La., (three bass, 8 pounds, 2 ounces, $450) rounded out the top five boaters.
Randy Durand of Saint Martinville, La., earned boater big bass honors and $270 with a 4-pound, 6-ounce bass that he caught on a watermelon colored fluke while fishing Bayou Sally. He finished in sixth place overall with three bass weighing 8 pounds.
Frank Ducote of Livonia, La., claimed first place and $1,022 in the 54-competitor Co-angler Division with two bass weighing 8 pounds, 4 ounces. He surpassed second-place co-angler Donald Corey Jr. of Ethel, La., by 14 ounces. Corey finished with a four-bass catch weighing 7 pounds, 6 ounces worth $511.
Brad Pourciau of Baton Rouge, La. (three bass, 7 pounds, 4 ounces, $307); Dan Thornton of Ventress, La. (three bass, 6 pounds, 8 ounces, $245); and Keith Keele of Center, Texas, (three bass, 6 pounds, $225) rounded out the top five co-anglers.
Ducote earned co-angler big bass honors and $135 with a 6-pound bass.
Overall, four five-bass limits were caught during the tournament.
The Wal-Mart BFL will visit Bayou Black Sept. 21-22 for the Louisiana Division's season finale, a two-day Super Tournament, after which the boater with the most points 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 Louisiana Division boaters and co-anglers will advance to regional competition Oct. 29-Nov. 2 on Lake Hamilton near Hot Springs, Ark., where they will go up against top competitors from the Okie, Ozark and Gulf Coast 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.