Walmart Bass Fishing League - Everglades
Okeechobee/Okee-Tantie (April 16, 2005)
OKEECHOBEE, Fla. — Boater Gary Niemi of Lake Placid earned $3,996 Saturday as winner of the Wal-Mart Bass Fishing League Everglades Division event on Lake Okeechobee. The tournament was the fourth of five regular-season Everglades Division events and featured 127 boaters vying for the win, which earned Niemi 200 points in the Boater Division.
Niemi’s winning catch of five bass weighed 22 pounds, 7 ounces. Niemi was fishing a 7-inch Gambler junebug worm in the North Shore area when he caught his bass. He said he caught 35 keepers and 50 fish over the course of the day.
Finishing second was Jim Hurlock Jr. of Lake Worth with five bass weighing 21 pounds, 7 ounces that earned him $1,998. Travis Brannen of Fort Pierce claimed $1,309 as the third-place finisher thanks to five bass weighing 20 pounds, 7 ounces. In fourth was Paul Dominguez of Port Saint Lucie with five bass weighing 20 pounds, 1 ounce worth $1,017, and finishing fifth and earning $836 was Daryl Deka of Wellington with five bass weighing 19 pounds, 10 ounces.
Dave Cramer of Cape Coral took Boater Division big-bass award honors, earning $635 for a 9-pound, 3-ounce bass.
Mark Fann of Clewiston earned $500 as winner of the Ranger Cup award.
Greg Sorrell of Fort Myers earned $1,998 as the co-angler winner, thanks to five bass weighing 16 pounds, 15 ounces that he caught on a flipping pattern.
Rounding out the top five co-anglers are Brandon McMillan of Belle Glade (five bass, 16 pounds, $999); Kenneth Petitti of Palm Bay (five bass, 14 pounds, 2 ounces, $651); Anthony Valachovic of Coral Springs (four bass, 13 pounds, 11 ounces, $509); and Bryan Westrick of Myakka City (five bass, 13 pounds, 8 ounces, $418).
Randy Marrs of Palm Bay earned $318 as the co-angler big-bass award winner with a 8-pound, 1-ounce bass he caught on a spinnerbait.
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.