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Walmart Bass Fishing League - Everglades
Okeechobee (Feb. 25, 2006)
Niemi on top after BFL event on Lake Okeechobee
CLEWISTON, Fla. — Boater Gary Niemi of Lake Placid, Fla., earned $4,235 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 Division events and earned Niemi 200 points in the Boater Division.
Niemi’s winning catch of five bass weighed 32 pounds, a testament to the continued big-fish productivity of the Big O. Niemi was flipping a Gambler Ugly Otter with a 1/2-ounce weight to get his bites.
Rounding out the top five boaters are Don Demott of Boca Raton, Fla. (five bass, 29 pounds, 14 ounces, $2,118); Brian Prowant of Moore Haven, Fla. (five bass, 22 pounds, 15 ounces, $1,413); John Pemberton Jr. of Loxahatchee, Fla. (five bass, 22 pounds, 9 ounces, $988) and Jim Hurlock Jr. of Lake Worth, Fla. (five bass, 22 pounds, 8 ounces, $847).
Hurlock took Boater Division big-bass award honors, earning $590 for an 8-pound, 12-ounce bass he caught on a Reaction Innovations Sweet Beaver.
Pemberton earned an additional $500 as winner of the Ranger Cup award.
David Veale of Clewiston, Fla., earned $2,118 as the co-angler winner, thanks to five bass weighing 17 pounds, 4 ounces that he caught while fishing a Yamamoto Senko around isolated cover.
Rounding out the top five co-anglers are Tony Devoss of Okeechobee, Fla. (five bass, 15 pounds, 12 ounces, $1,059); Michael Cass of Lake Worth, Fla., (five bass, 13 pounds, 15 ounces, $706) Jim Lanza of Boca Raton, Fla., (five bass, 13 pounds, 10 ounces, $494) and Greg Caldwell of Okeechobee (five bass, 12 pounds, 13 ounces, $424).
Linda Paul of Cape Coral, Fla., earned $295 as the co-angler big-bass award winner with an 8-pound, 2-ounce bass she caught on a plastic jerk bait.
All Everglades Division events are held on Lake Okeechobee. The final three events will launch from Okee-Tantie ramp in Okeechobee March 18, April 22, and a two-day Super Tournament Sept. 30-31.
Following the regular season, the Everglades 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 Everglades Division boaters and co-anglers based on year-end points standings will advance to the Lake Demopolis Regional Championship near Demopolis, Ala., Oct. 19-21 where they will compete against Choo Choo, Mississippi and Seminole 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.