Walmart Bass Fishing League - Regional
GASTON LAKE (Oct. 15-17, 2002)
LITTLETON, N.C. — Tony Christian of Hull, Ga., topped 120 competitors on Lake Gaston this weekend at the Wal-Mart Bass Fishing League Lake Gaston Regional. The postseason tournament featured the top 30 boaters from the Buckeye, Mountain, Northeast and Savannah River divisions. Christian, who qualified for the regional through the Savannah River Division, won a new Ranger boat powered by Evinrude or Yamaha and a new Chevy truck. He also earned a berth in the prestigious 2003 All-American, where he will vie for a top boater award of $100,000 cash.
Christian caught four bass weighing 15 pounds, 14 ounces Saturday to lead the regional field. He caught his bass in partly cloudy, cool conditions using a Hog Caller spinner bait and a Stanley jig. His jigs were rigged with a Zoom Swimming Chunk. On Thursday's opening day, he hauled in five bass weighing 13 pounds, 10 ounces to place first and followed that up Friday with five more bass weighing 12 pounds, 2 ounces to lead the field again. His win Saturday marks his fifth BFL tournament win in an impressive season. He will compete in his first All-American.
The full field of anglers competed for two days to determine which six would advance to Saturday's final day of competition. The final six started at zero Saturday, competing for position and prize money, having secured their All-American berth.
Rounding out the All-American qualifiers are David Wright of Lexington, N.C. (four bass, 11 pounds, 10 ounces, $5,000); Rodney Bell of Salisbury, N.C. (three bass, 6 pounds, 9 ounces, $2,500); Butch Kartesz of Wilcox, Pa. (two bass, 6 pounds, 8 ounces); John Lorenzo of Kane, Pa. (two bass, 5 pounds, 11 ounces); and J.T. Kenney of Frostburg, Md., (one bass, 1 pound, 8 ounces).
William Bryant of Rochester, N.Y., led the Co-angler Division despite bringing no bass to the scales Saturday. His victory earned him an Evinrude- or Yamaha-powered Ranger boat and a spot in the All-American, where he will compete for a top prize of $50,000 cash. Bryant, who qualified for the regional via the Northeast Division, caught most of his bass during the tournament using spinner baits and Senkos.
Rounding out the co-angler All-American qualifiers are Dustin Clontz of Albemarle, N.C.; Scott Sevier of Corbin, Ky.; Kenny Strunk of Monticello, Ky.; Sandy Thornton of Elberton, Ga.; and Jared Carpenter of Berea, Ky.
Anglers advanced to this weekend's regional competition by placing in the top 30 in the points standings within their respective divisions. Every angler who receives weight credit during the season earns points. Six regionals will each advance six boaters and six co-anglers to the All-American, while a seventh regional will send three boaters and three co-anglers. Another six boaters and six co-anglers will advance to the All-American from the Chevy Trucks Wild Card, which will be held Nov. 5-9 on Georgia's West Point Lake. Anglers who fished all five regular-season tournaments within a division but did not advance to the regional can enter the Wild Card for a chance to compete in the All-American. The All-American is one of the most prestigious and lucrative events in bass fishing. The site for the 2003 event will be announced next month.
Sponsors of the 2002 Wal-Mart BFL are Wal-Mart, Alpo Pet Foods, BC Powder, BFGoodrich Tires, Castrol, Chevy Trucks, 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, U.S. Bank, Weed Eater and Yamaha Outboards.