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    Walmart Bass Fishing League - Buckeye

    Erie/Sandusky (Aug. 7, 2004)


    Coates wins Lake Erie BFL event

    Boater Division competitor Bryan Coates of Amherst, Ohio, earned $3,330 Aug. 7 as winner of the BFL Buckeye Division event on Lake Erie in Sandusky, Ohio.

    SANDUSKY, Ohio — Boater Division competitor Bryan Coates of Amherst earned $3,330 Saturday as winner of the Wal-Mart Bass Fishing League Buckeye Division event on Lake Erie in Sandusky. The tournament was the fourth of five regular-season Buckeye Division events. The regular season will wrap up Sept. 11-12 with a two-day Super Tournament that will also be held on Lake Erie in Sandusky.

    Coates bested 114 Boater Division competitors with a five-bass catch weighing 22 pounds. He caught his tournament-winning bass on a watermelon and green pumpkin tube. Coates also earned a $1,000 bonus from Ranger Boats as the highest-finishing participant in the Ranger Cup incentive program, and he earned another $500 from Yamaha because his boat is powered by a Yamaha outboard. Garmin also awarded him $1,000 for using only Garmin electronics during the event.

    Rounding out the top five boaters are James Vitaro of Wooster (five bass, 21 pounds, 4 ounces, $1,665); Joe Balog of Harrison Township, Mich. (five bass, 20 pounds, 1 ounce, $1,132); Christopher King of South Amherst (five bass, 19 pounds, 1 ounce, $866); and Kevin Spears of New Boston (five bass, 17 pounds, 1 ounce, $732).

    Gary Becker of St. Marys earned $570 as the Boater Division big-bass award winner with a 5-pound, 11-ounce bass.

    Rob Sierschula of Huber Heights won the 110-competitor Co-angler Division with a five-bass catch weighing 16 pounds, 8 ounces. He caught his tournament-winning bass on tube jigs and earned $1,639 for the win.

    Rounding out the top five co-anglers are Billy Crider Jr. of Kettering (four bass, 16 pounds, 2 ounces, $820); Tad Bosley of Glenmont (five bass, 15 pounds, 9 ounces, $557); Gary Hoffman of Circleville (five bass, 15 pounds, 4 ounces, $426); and Steve Sorrell of Dayton (four bass, 14 pounds, 8 ounces, $361).

    Eddie Frye of Gallipolis caught a 5-pound bass to win Co-angler Division big-bass honors and $275. He caught his big bass on a watermelon goby drop-shot.

    Following the regular season, the top 30 Buckeye Division boaters and co-anglers based on year-end points standings will advance to the Kerr Lake regional near Henderson, N.C., Oct. 5-9. They will compete against qualifying anglers from the Carolina, Northeast and Savannah River 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 Buckeye 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’s sponsor page.