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Walmart Bass Fishing League - Everglades
Okeechobee/Okee-Tantie (Feb. 26, 2005)
Beatty bests BFL boaters at Lake Okeechobee
OKEECHOBEE, Fla. — Boater Robert Beatty of Clermont earned $4,195 Saturday as winner of the Wal-Mart Bass Fishing League Everglades Division event on Lake Okeechobee. The tournament was the second of five regular-season Everglades Divsion events and featured 136 boaters vying for the win, which earned Beatty 200 points in the Boater Division.
Beatty’s winning catch of five bass weighed 26 pounds, 8 ounces. He was flipping a Gambler Cricket in the Tin House Cove area. Beatty won an additional $1,500 as the recipient of the Ranger Cup and Powered by Yamaha awards.
Finishing second was Roger Crafton of Boca Grande with five bass weighing 23 pounds, 14 ounces that earned him $2,097. Casey Gonzalez of Tampa claimed $1,373 as the third-place finisher thanks to five bass weighing 22 pounds, 7 ounces. In fourth was Patrick Layhew of Bradenton with five bass weighing 22 pounds, 2 ounces worth $1,068, and finishing fifth and earning $877 was John Bitter of Maitland with five bass weighing 22 pounds even.
In addition, Gonzalez took Boater Division big-bass award honors, earning $680 for a 9-pound, 13-ounce bass. He caught his big bass on a War Eagle spinnerbait.
Alan Williams of Hollywood bested 136 Co-angler Division competitors to earn $2,097 as the co-angler winner, thanks to four bass weighing 20 pounds, 11 ounces that he caught on a Horny Toad spinner bait in the Monkey Box area. Williams won an additional $340 as the co-angler big-bass award winner with a 7-pound, 3-ounce bass.
Rounding out the top five co-anglers are Greg Sorrell of South Fort Myers (five bass, 17 pounds, 12 ounces, $1,049); Michael D. McCoy of Jupiter (five bass, 16 pounds, 1 ounce, $685); Bruce Greer of Lake Worth (five bass, 14 pounds, 14 ounces, $534); and Anthony Valachovic of Coral Springs (five bass, 14 pounds, 10 ounces, $439).
The Everglades Division’s next two events will be held March 19 and April 16 on Lake Okeechobee near Okeechobee. The Everglades Division will wrap up its regular season Oct. 1-2 with a two-day Super Tournament on Lake Okeechobee near Clewiston.
Following the regular season, the Everglades 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 Everglades Division boaters and co-anglers based on year-end points standings will advance to the Lake Martin Regional near Alexander City, Ala., Oct. 18-22 where they will compete against Gator, Mississippi 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.