Walmart Bass Fishing League - Empire
Champlain (June 18, 2005)
TICONDEROGA, N.Y. – Boater Jim Sweeney of West Dover, Vt., earned $5,338 Saturday as winner of the Wal-Mart Bass Fishing League Empire Division event on Lake Champlain. The tournament was the first of five regular-season Empire Division events and featured 191 boaters vying for the win, which earned Sweeney 200 points in the Boater Division.
Sweeney’s winning catch of five bass weighed 19 pounds, 8 ounces. Sweeney was fishing tubes around shallow wood when he caught his bass.
Sweeney earned an additional $1,000 as winner of the Garmin Grand award.
Finishing second was Thomas Lavictoire of West Rutland, Vt., with five bass weighing 17 pounds, 11 ounces that earned him $2,669. Curt Tindall of Brandon, Vt., claimed $1,744 as the third-place finisher thanks to five bass weighing 17 pounds, 3 ounces. In fourth was Dennis Sikorski of Taftville, Conn., with five bass weighing 17 pounds, 2 ounces worth $1,359, and finishing fifth and earning $1,116 was Christopher Hall of Summit, Pa., with five bass weighing 16 pounds, 8 ounces.
Tindall earned an additional $500 as winner of the Ranger Cup award.
Mark Stolgitis of Rutland, Mass., took Boater Division big-bass award honors, earning $955 for a 5-pound, 3-ounce bass.
Jim Hodge of Corning bested 191 Co-angler Division competitors to earn $2,669 as the co-angler winner, thanks to five bass weighing 14 pounds, 7 ounces that he caught on a crankbait.
Rounding out the top five co-anglers are Steve Pierson of Windsor (five bass, 13 pounds, 10 ounces, $1,334); Robert Secrist of Caneadea (five bass, 13 pounds, 9 ounces, $873); and Bob Laughran of Windsor Locks, Conn. (five bass, 13 pounds, 2 ounces, $679). Marty Riegal of Cortland and Tony Dorman of Springville, Pa., tied for fifth place. Each co-angler caught five bass weighing 13 pounds worth $509.
Peter Muse of Meredith, N.H., and Brian Keister of Sicklerville, N.J., each received big-bass award honors in the Co-angler Division. Each co-angler earned $239 with a 5-pound bass.
The Empire Division’s next event will be held July 9 on Lake Cayuga near Seneca Falls, followed by an event on Seneca Lake near Romulus July 30. The fourth qualifying event will be held at 1,000 Islands near Clayton. The Empire Division will wrap up its regular season Sept. 24-25 with a two-day Super Tournament on Lake Champlain near Ticonderoga.
Following the regular season, the Empire 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 Empire Division boaters and co-anglers based on year-end points standings will advance to the Kerr Lake Regional near Henderson, N.C., Oct. 18-22 where they will compete against Mountain, Northeast and Music City 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 visit FLWOutdoors.com.
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.