TUNICA, Miss. – Ricky Smith of Collinsville, Miss., outpaced 89 competitors Saturday with four bass weighing 7 pounds, 14 ounces to win $3,526 and 200 points on the boater side of the Wal-Mart Bass Fishing League (BFL) Mississippi Division tournament on Tunica Lake.
Smith edged out Mark Rose of Marion, Ark., by 14 ounces in the one-day event that set out from Nina’s Bait Shop. Rose finished with a two-bass catch weighing 7 pounds to win $1,763. Rose also won the boater Big Bass Award and collected an additional $445 with a 5 pound, 7 ounce bass that he caught on a Strike King spinnerbait.
Smith, who also earned a $1,000 bonus from Ranger for his participation in the Ranger Cup incentive program, caught his limit near port of Helena using a spinnerbait.
Geoffrey King of Southhaven, Miss., took third place and collected $881 with three bass weighing 5 pounds, 8 ounces. Larry Perrin of Blytheville, Ark., placed fourth and earned $764 with one bass weighing 4 pounds, 10 ounces, while Keith Moore of Olive Branch, Miss., placed fifth and earned $705 with two bass weighing 3 pounds, 11 ounces.
First place in the Co-Angler Division and $1,763 went to Bobby Bales of Jackson, Miss., who topped 89 competitors with two bass weighing 8 pounds, 6 ounces. Second place in the division and $881 went to Jimmy Ford of Purvis, Miss., with three bass weighing 7 pounds, 7 ounces, while Wade Spears of Collinsville, Miss., took third place and $441 with three bass weighing 5 pounds, 10 ounces.
Bales also won the co-angler Big Bass Award of $222 with a 5-pound, 13-ounce bass.
Only 40 bass were caught during the rain-plagued tournament and there were no limits brought to the scales.
The BFL will visit Lake Ferguson Sept. 22-23 for the Mississippi Division Super Tournament. The boater with the most points for the season following the event will be declared the Divisional Points Champion and awarded $1,000. The co-angler amassing the most points by the end of the season will receive $500.
The top 30 boaters and top 30 co-anglers in the Mississippi Division will advance to regional competition Oct. 16-20 on the Red river near Shreveport, La., where they will go up against top competitors from the Cowboy, Okie and Arkie divisions for a shot at qualifying for the $250,000 All-American.
Awards for the 2001 BFL season could reach $5.7 million based on full fields at each tournament.