MT. IDA, Ark. – Steve Howard of Conway topped 150 Wal-Mart Bass Fishing League competitors Saturday on Lake Ouachita with five bass weighing 17 pounds. The catch earned him $4,042 and 200 points in the Boater Division.
Howard’s catch topped second-place boater Mike Mobley of Benton by 4 pounds, 8 ounces. Mobley finished the one-day tournament with a four-bass catch weighing 12 pounds, 8 ounces worth $2,021. Howard claimed a $1,000 bonus from Garmin for using a fixed-mount Garmin Fishfinder or combination GPS/sounder, while Mobley earned a $500 bonus from Ranger for being the highest-finishing participant in the Ranger Cup incentive program. Howard also earned $750 as the big-bass winner, thanks to a 4-pound, 5-ounce bass.
Tommie Reed of Monticello (four bass, 10 pounds, 6 ounces, $1,374) finished third, and Ricky McLemore of Hot Springs (four bass, 9 pounds, 15 ounces, $1,051) finished fourth. Tied for fifth were Jack Wood of Benton (three bass, 9 pounds, 6 ounces, $808) and Larry Gragg Jr. of Pine Bluff (three bass, 9 pounds, 6 ounces, $808).
Todd Davis of Mountain Pine claimed first place and $1,994 in the 146-competitor Co-angler Division with two bass weighing 6 pounds, 15 ounces. He surpassed second-place co-angler Jeff Cox of Pearcy by 12 ounces. Cox finished with a three-bass catch weighing 6 pounds, 3 ounces worth $997.
Peter Johanson of Jacksonville (two bass, 5 pounds, 7 ounces, $678); Herman Poteete of Clarksville (two bass, 5 pounds, 2 ounces, $518); and Mark Piffee of Hot Springs (one bass, 4 pounds, 15 ounces, $439) rounded out the top five co-anglers.
Piffee earned big-bass honors and $365 in his division with a 4-pound, 15-ounce bass.
The Wal-Mart BFL will visit Lake Hamilton March 22 for the second of five Arkie Division events. The boater with the most points after the division’s season finale, a two-day Super Tournament Sept. 27-28 on Beaver 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 Arkie Division boaters and co-anglers will advance to regional competition Oct. 21-25 on the Red River near Natchitoches, La., where they will go up against top competitors from the Bama, Cowboy and Gulf Coast divisions for a shot at qualifying for the Wal-Mart BFL All-American – one of the most lucrative postseason tournaments in competitive angling.
As much as $6 million will be awarded in the 2003 Wal-Mart BFL.
For more information or to enter a tournament, call (270) 252-1000 or browse this Web site.
Editor’s Note: Ranger Cup award winners are pending verification by Ranger Boats and thus are unofficial at this time.