SENECA, S.C. – Craig Johnson of Martinez, Ga., topped 130 Wal-Mart Bass Fishing League competitors Saturday on Lake Keowee with five bass weighing 12 pounds, 8 ounces. The catch earned him $3,668 and 200 points in the Boater Division.
Johnson caught his limit on a June bug colored 8-inch Zoom lizard while targeting fish in 6 to 8 feet of water. The catch topped second-place boater Steven James of Pickens, S.C., by 9 ounces. James finished the one-day tournament with a five-bass catch weighing 11 pounds, 15 ounces worth $1,834.
Ronald Wolfarth of Locust, N.C. (five bass, 11 pounds, 14 ounces, $1,101); Tony Smith of Auburn, Ga. (five bass, 11 pounds, 11 ounces, $880); and James Crider of Taylors, S.C., (five bass, 11 pounds, 3 ounces, $807) rounded out the top five boaters.
Tony Christian of Hull, Ga., earned boater big bass honors and $650 with a 6-pound, 3-ounce bass that he caught on a shad colored Zoom fluke while fishing stumps. He finished in 35th place overall with four bass weighing 8 pounds, 3 ounces.
Kim Carver of Milledgeville, Ga., received a $500 bonus from Ranger Boats as the highest finishing participant in the Ranger Cup incentive program. He finished sixth place with a five-bass catch weighing 10 pounds, 15 ounces.
Randy Snider of Simpsonville, S.C., claimed first place and $1,723 in the 120-competitor Co-angler Division with five bass weighing 9 pounds. He surpassed second-place co-angler Joe Hightower of Seneca, S.C., by 3 ounces. Hightower finished with a five-bass catch weighing 8 pounds, 13 ounces worth $862.
J.D. Hughes of Westminster, S.C. (five bass, 8 pounds, 12 ounces, $517); Charles Pruitt of Greenwood, S.C. (four bass, 8 pounds, 9 ounces, $414); and Don Shelley of Aiken, S.C., (four bass, 8 pounds, 4 ounces, $379) rounded out the top five co-anglers.
Co-angler Phil Parten of Carnesville, Ga., earned big bass honors and $300 in his division with a 4-pound, 10-ounce bass. He finished 39th thanks to the one bass.
Overall, 85 five-bass limits were caught during the tournament.
The Wal-Mart BFL will visit Lake Hartwell April 20 for the third of five Savannah River Division events. The boater with the most points after the division’s season finale, a two-day Super Tournament Sept. 21-22 on the Potomac River 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 Savannah River 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, Mountain and Northeast 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.
Sponsors of the 2002 Wal-Mart BFL are Wal-Mart, ALPO Pet Foods, BC Powder, BFGoodrich Tires, Castrol, Chevy Trucks, Coleman, Conseco, Energizer, EverStart Batteries, Evinrude, Faded Glory, Frito-Lay, FujiFilm, Garmin, Kellogg’s, Land O’Lakes, Maxwell House, Minn Kota, Newell Rubbermaid, Pepsi, Poulan, Ranger Boats, Shop-Vac, Snickers, Stanley Works, Stren, US Bank, Weed Eater and Yamaha Outboards. Associate sponsors are Abu Garcia, Berkley, Eagle Claw, Laker, Plano and Solar Bat.