Walmart Bass Fishing League - Gator
Okeechobee (April 3, 2004)
OKEECHOBEE, Fla. — Boater Division competitor James Medlin of West Palm Beach earned $5,000 Saturday as winner of the Wal-Mart Bass Fishing League Gator Division event on Lake Okeechobee in Okeechobee. The tournament was the fourth of five regular-season Gator Division events. The regular season will wrap up Sept. 25-26 with a two-day Super Tournament that will also be held on Lake Okeechobee in Okeechobee.
Medlin bested 200 Boater Division competitors with a five-bass catch weighing 26 pounds, 7 ounces. He caught his tournament-winning bass on a Gambler lure.
Rounding out the top five boaters are John Peters of Boynton Beach (five bass, 26 pounds, 3 ounces, $2,500); Richard Held of Lake Worth (five bass, 25 pounds, $1,700); Bobby Lane of Lakeland (five bass, 22 pounds, 9 ounces, $1,300); and Joseph Kremer of Osteen (five bass, 21 pounds, 12 ounces, $1,100).
Held earned $500 from Ranger Boats as the highest-finishing participant in the Ranger Cup incentive program. John Hendry of Lakeland earned $1,000 as the Boater Division big-bass award winner with an 8-pound, 8-ounce bass.
Chuck Hyer of Clermont won the 200-competitor Co-angler Division with a five-bass catch weighing 17 pounds, 11 ounces. He caught his tournament-winning bass casting worms on 15-pound-test Trilene. He earned $2,500 for the win.
Rounding out the top five co-anglers are Mark Brader of Loxahatchee (five bass, 16 pounds, $1,250); Randy Vriesman of Oviedo (five bass, 14 pounds, 5 ounces, $850); Lloyd Meyers Jr. of Jacksonville (five bass, 14 pounds, 1 ounce, $650); and Mark Linn of Sarasota (five bass, 14 pounds, $550).
Brader caught a 6-pound, 8-ounce bass to win Co-angler Division big-bass honors and $500.
Following the regular season, the top 30 Gator Division boaters and co-anglers based on year-end points standings will advance to the Lake Seminole regional near Bainbridge, Ga., Oct. 5-9. They will compete against qualifying anglers from the Bama, Mississippi and Piedmont divisions for one of six slots in the 2005 All-American, one of competitive bass fishing’s most prestigious events. The winning boater at the All-American will take home $100,000 cash, and the winning co-angler will earn $50,000 cash.
Every angler who receives weight credit in a tournament earns points, with 200 points awarded to the winner, 199 for second, 198 for third, and so on, except for Super Tournaments, which award 300 points to the winner, 299 for second, 298 for third, and so on. These points determine angler standings. The Gator Division boater who amasses the most points at the end of the regular season will earn $1,000 as the Yamaha “Be the Best” points leader, and the co-angler earning the most points will earn $500 as the Yamaha “Be the Best” points leader in the Co-angler Division.
Anglers who compete in all five regular-season events within a division but do not advance to regional competition are eligible to fish the Chevy Trucks Wild Card for an All-American berth. Six nationwide regionals plus the Wild Card will each send six boaters and six co-anglers to the All-American for a total field of 84 competitors.
The $6.3 million Wal-Mart Bass Fishing League features 24 divisions nationwide. In BFL competition, boaters and co-anglers are randomly paired, with boaters supplying the boat and fishing against other boaters and co-anglers fishing from the back deck against other co-anglers. For more information or to enter a tournament, call (270) 252-1000 or browse this Web site.
Wal-Mart and many of America’s most respected companies support FLW Outdoors and its six tournament trails. Wal-Mart has been the title sponsor of FLW Outdoors since 1997. For a complete list of FLW Outdoors sponsors and for more information about the premier products and services they offer, please visit FLWOutdoors.com’s sponsor page.