Walmart Bass Fishing League - Mississippi
Ross Barnett (March 5, 2005)
BRANDON, Miss. — Boater Kenny Churchill of Jackson earned $4,446 Saturday as winner of the Wal-Mart Bass Fishing League Mississippi Division event on Ross Barnett Lake. The tournament was the first of five regular-season Mississippi Division events and featured 147 boaters vying for the win, which earned Churchill 200 points in the Boater Division.
Churchill’s winning catch of five bass weighed 24 pounds, 1 ounce. He fished 3-foot deep wood ledges with spinnerbait to catch his limit. He won an additional $1,000 as the Ranger Cup award winner and another $500 as the powered by Yamaha award winner.
Finishing second was Jason Cordell of Pelahatchie with five bass weighing 17 pounds, 2 ounces that earned him $2,223. Charles F. Jones of Jackson, Tenn., claimed $1,455 as the third-place finisher thanks to four bass weighing 16 pounds, 2 ounces. Art Hicks of Carrollton and Chad Hall of Pinson, Ala., tied for fourth, each catching a five-bass limit weighing 15 pounds, 9 ounces worth $1,031.
Johnny Price Jr. of Brookwood, Ala., took Boater Division big-bass award honors, earning $735 for an 8-pound, 9-ounce bass. He caught his big bass on a 1/4-ounce spinnerbait.
Justin Sward of Vancleave bested 147 Co-angler Division competitors to earn $2,199 as the co-angler winner, thanks to four bass weighing 11 pounds, 6 ounces that he caught on a brush hog.
Rounding out the top five co-anglers are Wayne Branton of Memphis, Tenn. (3 bass, 9 pounds, 11 ounces, $1,100); Brandon Bolton of West Point (3 bass, 9 pounds, 10 ounces, $717); Murphy Downing of Hernando (1 bass, 8 pounds, 3 ounces, $560); and Jeff Johnston of Marion Ark., (3 bass, 7 pounds, 14 ounces, $460).
Downing’s 8-pound, 3-ounce bass that he caught on a 1/4-ounce spinnerbait earned him $360 for the co-angler big-bass award.
The Mississippi Division’s next event will be held April 2 on Pickwick Lake near Pickwick Dam, Tenn., followed by an event on Columbus Pool Lake near Columbus April 30. The fourth qualifying event will also be held on Columbus Pool Lake near Columbus June 25. The Mississippi Division will wrap up its regular season Sept. 17-18 with a two-day Super Tournament on Ross Barnett Lake near Brandon.
Following the regular season, the Mississippi Division boater with the most points will earn $1,000 as the Yamaha “Be the Best” points champion. The co-angler amassing the most points will earn $500 as the Yamaha “Be the Best” points champion in the Co-angler Division.
Every angler who receives weight credit in a tournament earns points, with 200 points going 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. The top 40 Mississippi Division boaters and co-anglers based on year-end points standings will advance to the Lake Martin Regional near Alexander City, Ala., where they will compete against Everglades, Gator, and Savannah River Division anglers for one of six slots in the 2006 All-American. With a total purse of $1 million and a potential $140,000 cash prize going to the winning boater and $70,000 going to the winning co-angler, the All-American is one of the most prestigious and lucrative events in bass fishing.
The $8.4 million Wal-Mart Bass Fishing League features 28 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.
Named after the legendary founder of Ranger Boats, Forrest L. Wood, FLW Outdoors administers the Wal-Mart Bass Fishing League and seven other national tournament circuits offering a combined $30 million in awards through 214 events in 2005. The 27-year-old organization is the purveyor of America’s largest and most prestigious fishing tournaments, including the Wal-Mart FLW Tour, EverStart Series, Wal-Mart Bass Fishing League, Wal-Mart Texas Tournament Trail, Wal-Mart FLW Walleye Tour, Wal-Mart FLW Walleye League, Wal-Mart FLW Kingfish Tour and Wal-Mart FLW Redfish Series.
Wal-Mart and many of America’s largest and most respected companies support FLW Outdoors and its tournament trails. Wal-Mart signed on as title sponsor of the FLW Tour in 1997 and today is the title sponsor of all FLW Outdoors events. For more information on Wal-Mart, visit Wal-Mart.com.