Walmart Bass Fishing League - Illini
Shelbyville (April 23, 2005)
FINDLAY, Ill. — Boater Ray Arning Jr. of Walnut Hill earned $3,762 Saturday as winner of the Wal-Mart Bass Fishing League Illini Division event on Shelbyville Lake. The tournament was the first of five regular-season Illini Division events and featured 117 boaters vying for the win, which earned Arning 200 points in the Boater Division.
Arning’s winning catch of four bass weighed 8 pounds, 6 ounces. Arning was fishing a jig and Zoom chunk around standing timber in 4-6 feet of water when he caught his bass. He earned an additional $1,000 as winner of the Garmin Grand award and another $1,500 as winner of the Ranger Cup and Powered by Yamaha awards.
Finishing second was Kent Reagan of Kinmundy with three bass weighing 7 pounds, 14 ounces that earned him $1,881. Michael Black of Toledo claimed $1,229 as the third-place finisher thanks to three bass weighing 7 pounds, 10 ounces. In fourth was John Wright of Shelbyville with three bass weighing 7 pounds, 7 ounces worth $958, and finishing fifth and earning $787 was Colby Schrumpf of Highland with three bass weighing 7 pounds, 5 ounces.
Bill Leasher of Neoga took Boater Division big-bass award honors, earning $585 for a 6-pound, 15-ounce bass. He caught his big bass on a 4-inch finesse worm.
Gary Bettis of Olney bested 117 Co-angler Division competitors to earn $1,881 as the co-angler winner, thanks to three bass weighing 7 pounds, 5 ounces that he caught on a Rat-L-Trap.
Rounding out the top five co-anglers are Donnie Brown Jr. of Steger (two bass, five pounds, 15 ounces, $941); Randy Spurlock of Vienna (one bass, 5 pounds, 12 ounces, $615); Brian Futch of Goreville (two bass, 4 pounds, 4 ounces, $479); and George Osha of Steger (one bass, 4 pounds, $393).
Spurlock earned $293 as the co-angler big-bass award winner with his 5-pound, 12-ounce bass he caught on a jig.
The Illini Division’s next event will be held May 14 on Rend Lake near Benton, followed by an event on Kentucky/Barkley Lakes near Gilbertsville, Ky., June 4. The fourth-qualifying event will be held on the Ohio River near Paducah, Ky., July 9. The Illini Division will wrap up its regular season Sept. 10-11 with a two-day Super Tournament on Shelbyville Lake near Findlay.
Following the regular season, the Illini 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 Illini Division boaters and co-anglers based on year-end points standings will advance to the Lake Cherokee Regional near Morristown, Tenn., Oct. 4-8 where they will compete against LBL, Buckeye, and Piedmont 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.