Walmart Bass Fishing League - Great Lakes
Lake Winneconne-Wolf River Chain (June 7, 2008)
WINNECONNE, Wis. — Boater Mike Gabel of Woodridge, Ill., won the Wal-Mart Bass Fishing League Great Lakes Division tournament on Lake Winneconne-Wolf River Chain Saturday with a five-bass catch weighing 13 pounds, 12 ounces. The victory earned Gabel $3,531 and placed him one step closer to qualifying for the Kentucky-Barkley Lake Regional Championship in Gilbertsville, Ky., Oct. 2-4, where he could ultimately win a new 198VX Ranger boat and a Chevy truck.
“I’ve fished for 12 years, and to win this is like no other feeling in the world,” said Gabel, who won in his BFL debut. “I didn’t think I could compete at this level. I just have so much respect for the guys who fish the BFLs.”
Gabel said he had a productive practice period before the event, but realized he needed to change his approach during the tournament.
“I was fishing kind of fast working down a bank when I realized I needed to slow up,” Gabel said. “Also, I found the fish were hanging in deeper water.”
Gabel said he caught a couple of fish on a soft jerkbait then switched to a jig that he flipped along shorelines. The jig produced his largest smallmouth in his limit.
With bad weather approaching, Gabel started his hour-long ride to the check-in site, but stopped at a rock point he was familiar with. The stop paid off for Gabel, who pulled two fish off of the point in the last 30 minutes of the tournament.
“I set the hook on that last fish, and when I did that, the reel came loose from the rod,” Gabel said. “I threw the rod down and started cranking on the reel and cranked the fish in without the rod. My partner scooped the fish up and got him in the boat.”
Rounding out the top five boaters are Joshua Duggan of Lodi, Wis. (five bass, 13-5, $2,078); Bill Sepke of Indian Head Park, Ill. (five bass, 12-13, $1,383); Wayne Meetz of Neenah, Wis. (five bass, 12-11, $970); Curtis Samo of Rochelle, Ill. (five bass, 12-5, $796); and Nick Schroeder of Oshkosh, Wis., (five bass, 12-5, $796).
Duggan took home the Boater Division Snickers Big Bass award, earning $570 for a 4-pound, 7-ounce bass he caught.
John Fischer of Adams, Wis., and Michael Gray of Stoddard, Wis., each earned $1,558 as the co-angler winners tied Saturday after they each caught five bass weighing 10 pounds, 5 ounces.
Rounding out the top five co-anglers are Rory Ohse of Crestwood, Ill. (five bass, 9-13, $691); Ben Due of Mauston, Wis. (five bass, 9-12, $485); and Ronald Syverson of La Crosse, Wis. (four bass, 7-14, $416).
Glenn Walker of Verona, Wis., earned $285 as the co-angler Big Bass winner after catching a 3-pound, 12-ounce bass on a green pumpkin tube.
Great Lakes Division anglers will visit the Mississippi River at Wabasha, Minn., July 19, followed by a stop at the Mississippi River at Prairie Du Chien, Wis. A two-day Super Tournament, the division’s fifth and final event, will be held at the Mississippi River at La Crosse, Wis., Sept. 13-14.
Following the end of regular-season competition, the top 40 boaters and 40 co-anglers based on year-end points standings in the division will advance to the no-entry-fee Kentucky-Barkley Lake Regional Championship where they will compete against top qualifiers from three other BFL divisions. At the Regional Championship boaters will fish for a new Ranger boat and Chevy truck and co-anglers will fish for a new Ranger boat. The top six boaters and top six co-anglers at the Regional Championship will also advance to the All-American presented by Chevy. With a total purse of $1 million, a potential $140,000 cash prize going to the winning boater and as much as $70,000 going to the winning co-angler, the All-American is one of the most prestigious and lucrative events in bass fishing. The winning boater and winning co-angler at the All-American also advance to the no-entry-fee $2 million Forrest Wood Cup. This event, featuring a top award of $1 million, is the sport’s biggest championship.
Tournament anglers aren’t the only ones winning big this season. With the introduction of FLW Fantasy Fishing, FLW Outdoors offers anyone the opportunity to enter for their chance to land the catch of a lifetime with the opportunity to win $7.3 million in cash and prizes. Players can become a virtual pro angler by signing up for Player’s Advantage, providing them with exclusive insider information that could guide them to a $100,000 victory at every Wal-Mart FLW Tour stop and the Forrest Wood Cup. Player’s Advantage will give them an edge over the competition and increase their shot for a $1 million cash grand prize that will be awarded to the FLW Fantasy Fishing cumulative points winner. Those who visit FantasyFishing.com today can sign up for Player’s Advantage and FLW Outdoors will include a $15 Wal-Mart gift card.
The $8.8 million Wal-Mart Bass Fishing League features 28 divisions nationwide. In BFL competition, boaters and co-anglers are randomly paired. Boaters supply the boat and fish from the front deck against other boaters while co-anglers compete from the back deck against other co-anglers.
FLW Outdoors, named after Forrest L. Wood, the legendary founder of Ranger Boats, is the largest fishing tournament organization in the world. In 2008 alone the organization is offering more than 90,000 anglers the chance to win over $40 million through 230 tournaments in 10 circuits targeting bass, walleye, redfish, kingfish and striped bass. FLW Outdoors is also taking fishing mainstream with the largest cash awards in the history of fantasy sports, $7.3 million.
For more information about FLW Outdoors and its tournaments, browse FLWOutdoors.com or call (270) 252-1000. For more information about FLW Fantasy Fishing and Player's Advantage, visit FantasyFishing.com.
Total awards are based on a full field of 200 boats in every tournament.