MAYSVILLE, Ky. – Gary Dees of Hamilton, Ohio, topped 120 Wal-Mart Bass Fishing League competitors Saturday on the Ohio River with four bass weighing 7 pounds. The catch earned him $3,447 and 200 points in the Boater Division.
Dees received a $1,000 bonus from Ranger Boats as the highest-finishing participant in the Ranger Cup incentive program. He also received a $1,000 bonus from GARMIN for using a fixed-mount GARMIN GPS/Sounder.
Dees caught his bass casting a jig to isolated creeks. The catch topped second-place boater Greg Hawk of Vandalia, Ohio, by 1 pound, 5 ounces. Hawk finished the one-day tournament with a five-bass catch weighing 5 pounds, 11 ounces worth $1,723.
Kenneth Meek of Barlow, Ohio (four bass, 5 pounds, 4 ounces, $1,034); Dick Shaffer of Celina, Ohio (five bass, 4 pounds, 13 ounces, $827); and Jeff Coots of Milford, Ohio, (two bass, 4 pounds, 11 ounces, $758) rounded out the top five boaters.
Phil Bogart of Cridersville, Ohio, earned boater big bass honors and $600 with a 3-pound, 8-ounce bass that he caught flipping a ringworm to logs. He finished in sixth place overall with two bass weighing 4 pounds, 9 ounces.
Billy Crider Jr. of Kettering, Ohio, claimed first place and $1,727 in the 118-competitor Co-angler Division with three bass weighing 5 pounds, 5 ounces. He surpassed second-place co-angler Justin Williams of Peebles, Ohio, by 5 ounces thanks to a green pumpkin crankbait that he was throwing over wood in 4 to 5 feet of water. Williams finished with a two-bass catch weighing 5 pounds worth $864.
Donald Meachem Sr. of Marion, Ohio, and James Richardson Sr. of Harrison, Ohio, tied for third place in the Co-angler Division with catches of 4 pounds, 8 ounces that netted each of them $467. Richardson caught four bass, and Meachem tied his weight with one 4-pound, 8-ounce bass that earned him big bass honors and $295 in his division. Ed Shannon of Cincinnati finished fifth with a two-bass catch weighing 4 pounds, 3 ounces worth $380.
Overall, two five-bass limits were caught during the tournament.
The Wal-Mart BFL will visit Lake Erie Aug. 20 for the fourth of five Buckeye Division events. The boater with the most points after the division’s season finale, a two-day Super Tournament Sept. 7-8 on the Ohio 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 Buckeye 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 Mountain, 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.
Sponsors of the 2002 Wal-Mart BFL are Wal-Mart, ALPO Pet Foods, BC Powder, BFGoodrich Tires, Castrol, Chevy Trucks, Conseco, Energizer, EverStart Batteries, Evinrude, Faded Glory, Frito-Lay, FujiFilm, GARMIN, Kellogg’s, Land O’Lakes, Minn Kota, Newell Rubbermaid, Pepsi, Poulan, Ranger Boats, Shop-Vac, Snickers, Stanley Works, Stren, US Bank, Weed Eater and Yamaha Outboards.