SPRING CITY, Tenn. – Tim Smiley, White Pine, Tenn., topped 181 Wal-Mart Bass Fishing League competitors Saturday on Watts Bar with five bass weighing 11 pounds, 15 ounces. The catch earned him $4,633 and 200 points in the Boater Division.
Smiley caught his limit on a ¼-ounce green jig that he was fishing around stumps and lay downs in 5 feet of water. The catch topped second-place boater Mark Mauldin, Cleveland, Tenn., by 1 ounce. Mauldin finished the one-day tournament with a four-bass catch weighing 11 pounds, 14 ounces worth $2,316.
Jeffery Lewis, East Bernstadt, Ky. (four bass, 11 pounds, 5 ounces, $1,390); Richard Littlepage, Cincinnati, Ohio (four bass, 10 pounds, 10 ounces, $1,112); and James King, Monroe, Tenn., (three bass, 10 pounds, 4 ounces, $1,019) rounded out the top-five boaters. Littlepage also received a $500 bonus from Ranger Boats as the highest finishing participant in the Ranger Cup incentive program.
Carl Maxfield, Bristol, Tenn., earned boater big bass honors and $905 with a 6-pound, 7-ounce bass that he caught on a black and silver Rouge. He finished in 15th place overall thanks to the one bass.
Teddy Willett, Greeneville, Tenn., claimed first place and $2,304 in the 180-competitor Co-angler Division with three bass weighing 12 pounds, 11 ounces. He surpassed second-place co-angler John LeMaster, Hager Hill, Ky., by 2 pounds, 4 ounces. LeMaster finished with a three-bass catch weighing 10 pounds, 7 ounces worth $1,152.
Derrick Stafford, Kingston, Tenn. (two bass, 7 pounds, 11 ounces, $691); Randy Stinnett, Dayton, Tenn. (four bass, 7 pounds, 10 ounces, $553); and Jacob Cross, Byrdstown, Tenn., (two bass, 6 pounds, 14 ounces, $507) rounded out the top-five co-anglers.
Co-angler Daryl Wagner, Knoxville, Tenn., earned big bass honors and $450 in his division with a 6-pound, 11-ounce bass. He finished sixth thanks to the one bass.
Just one five-bass limit was caught during the tournament.
The Wal-Mart BFL will visit Dale Hollow April 6 for the second of five Mountain Division events. The boater with the most points after the division’s season finale, a two-day Super Tournament Sept. 14-15 on Cherokee Lake will be declared the Yamaha “Be the Best” Points Leader and awarded $1,000. The co-angler amassing the most points by the end of the season will receive $500.
The top-30 Mountain Division boaters and co-anglers will advance to regional competition Oct. 15-19 on Kerr Lake near Henderson, N.C., where they will go up against top competitors from the Buckeye, Northeast and Savannah River divisions for a shot at qualifying for the Wal-Mart BFL All-American – one of the most lucrative post-season tournaments in competitive angling.
2002 BFL awards could reach $7 million based on full fields.