Walmart Bass Fishing League - Gator
Harris Chain (Feb. 18, 2006)
TAVARES, Fla. — Boater Oscar Jackson of Anthony, Fla., earned $4,981 Saturday as winner of the Wal-Mart Bass Fishing League Gator Division event on the Harris Chain of Lakes. The tournament was the second of five regular-season Gator Division events and featured 152 boaters vying for the win, which earned Jackson 200 points in the Boater Division.
Jackson’s winning catch of five bass weighed 32 pounds, 13 ounces. That weight is the biggest one-day weight of 2006 and ties for the sixth largest in FLW Outdoors history. Jackson caught one lunker weighing 9 pounds, 11 ounces and two more weighing more than 8 pounds.
“I’ve got a grin I can’t get rid of,” Jackson said. “I had found seven bass on the bed in practice. I was lucky that three of them were still on the bed, although I didn’t know they were as big as they were. Two of them bit pretty quickly, but I had to finesse the third one for about 20 minutes before it hit.”
The bedded bass, which were in 3 to 5 feet of water, came on a white Mad Man Craw Worm rigged with a 3/16-ounce weight and a 5/0 hook. Jackson went on to catch and cull a few more smaller bass while flipping a black and red flake Gambler BB Cricket and throwing a spinnerbait.
Rounding out the top five boaters are Allan Cagle of Deltona, Fla. (five bass, 19 pounds, 9 ounces, $2,490); J. Nobel Willits of Altamonte Springs, Fla. (four bass, 16 pounds, 10 ounces, $1,662); Paul Lott of Windermere, Fla. (five bass, 13 pounds, 14 ounces, $1,162) and Don Waldrop of Winter Garden, Fla. (five bass, 13 pounds, 5 ounces, $996).
Charles Cash of Sarasota, Fla., took Boater Division big-bass award honors, earning $760 for a 9-pound, 15-ounce bass.
Cagle earned an additional $500 as winner of the Ranger Cup award.
Brad Copponex of Lakeland, Fla., bested 152 Co-angler Division competitors to earn $2,490 as the co-angler winner, thanks to five bass weighing 14 pounds, 3 ounces that he caught fishing a Rapala crankbait in 6 to 7 feet of water. One of Copponex’s bass, a 7-pound, 6-ounce largemouth, earned him $380 for the big-bass award in the Co-angler Division.
Rounding out the top five co-anglers are Eddie Fullbright of Ocala, Fla. (five bass, 13 pounds, 4 ounces, $1,245); Rick Wright of Lakeland, Fla., (five bass, 12 pounds, 5 ounces, $829) Joe Ventrello of Orlando, Fla., (five bass, 11 pounds, 15 ounces, $581) and Roy Henry of Vineland, N.J. (five bass, 11 pounds, 13 ounces, $498).
The Gator Division’s next event will be held March 25 on the Kissimmee River near Lake Wales, Fla., followed by another event on the Kissimmee River May 6. The Gator Division will wrap up its regular season Sept. 9-10 with a two-day Super Tournament on Lake Toho near Kissimmee, Fla.
Following the regular season, the Gator Division boater with the most points who advances farthest in the Wal-Mart BFL All-American will earn $10,000 as the Yamaha “Be the Best” points champion. The co-angler points champion who advances farthest will earn $5,000 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 Gator Division boaters and co-anglers based on year-end points standings will advance to the Kerr Lake Regional Championship near Henderson, N.C., Oct. 12-14 where they will compete against Savannah River, Shenandoah and South Carolina division anglers for one of six slots in the 2007 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 $8.8 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 FLWOutdoors.com.
Named after the legendary founder of Ranger Boats, Forrest L. Wood, FLW Outdoors administers the Wal-Mart Bass Fishing League, as well as the Wal-Mart FLW Tour, Wal-Mart FLW Series, Stren Series, Wal-Mart Texas Tournament Trail, Stratos Owners’ Tournament Trail, Wal-Mart FLW Walleye Tour, Wal-Mart FLW Walleye League, Wal-Mart FLW Kingfish Tour, Wal-Mart FLW Kingfish Series and Wal-Mart FLW Redfish Series. These circuits offer combined purses exceeding $36.9 million through 241 events in 2006.
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.