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    Walmart Bass Fishing League - Piedmont

    Gaston (March 12, 2005)


    Sykes wins Wal-Mart Bass Fishing League event on Lake Gaston

    Boater Phillip Sykes Jr. of Enfield, N.C., earned $4,766 as winner of the Wal-Mart Bass Fishing League Piedmont Division event on Lake Gaston.

    ROANOKE RAPIDS, N.C. — Boater Phillip Sykes Jr. of Enfield earned $4,766 Saturday as winner of the Wal-Mart Bass Fishing League Piedmont Division event on Lake Gaston. The tournament was the first of five regular-season Piedmont Division events and featured 162 boaters vying for the win, which earned Sykes 200 points in the Boater Division.

    Syke’s winning catch of five bass weighed 22 pounds, 10 ounces. Sykes fished a Shad Rap along pockets and points in 4-8 feet of water to catch his bass.

    Finishing second was Ray Griffin of Henderson with four bass weighing 22 pounds, 1 ounce that earned him $2,383. Griffin earned an additional $750 as winner of the Ranger Cup award and the Powered by Yamaha award. Rodney Sorrell of Stokesdale claimed $1,558 as the third-place finisher thanks to five bass weighing 16 pounds. In fourth was Greg Stallings of Dry Fork, Va., with five bass weighing 15 pounds, 15 ounces worth $1,213, and finishing fifth and earning $996 was David Galloway of Raleigh with four bass weighing 15 pounds, 3 ounces.

    Lucas Duncan of Riner, Va., took Boater Division big-bass award honors, earning $810 for a 7-pound, 7-ounce bass. He caught his big bass on a Shad Rap.

    James Therrell of North Augusta, S.C., bested 162 Co-angler Division competitors to earn $2,383 as the co-angler winner, thanks to three bass weighing 12 pounds, 8 ounces that he caught on a Rat-L-Trap. Therrell won an additional $405 as the Co-Angler Division big-bass award winner with a 7-pound, 3-ounce bass.

    Rounding out the top five co-anglers are Gerry Burchfield of Thomasville (two bass, 10 pounds, 15 ounces, $1,191); Jack Markham III of Durham (two bass, 8 pounds, 5 ounces, $779); John Hampton of Suffolk, Va. (three bass, 7 pounds, 12 ounces, $607); and Steve Lowe of Danville, Va. (three bass, 7 pounds, 9 ounces, $498).

    The Piedmont Division’s next event will be held April 16 on Kerr Lake near Henderson, followed by another event on Kerr Lake near Henderson May 21. The fourth-qualifying event will be held July 23 on the Chickahominy River near Williamsburg, Va. The Piedmont Division will wrap up its regular season Sept. 17-18 with a two-day Super Tournament on Kerr Lake near Henderson.

    Following the regular season, the Piedmont 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 Piedmont 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 Buckeye, Illini and LBL 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