LITTLETON, N.C. – James Henderson Jr. of Evington, Va., topped 200 Wal-Mart Bass Fishing League competitors Saturday on Lake Gaston with five bass weighing 17 pounds, 13 ounces. The catch earned him $5,000 and 200 points in the Boater Division.
Henderson caught his limit on a crankbait in muddy, stained water. His catch topped second-place boater Mark Inman of Henderson by 1 pound, 14 ounces. Inman finished the one-day tournament with a five-bass catch weighing 15 pounds, 15 ounces worth $2,500. Henderson claimed a $1,000 bonus from Garmin for using a fixed-mount Garmin Fishfinder or combination GPS/sounder as well as a $1,000 bonus from Ranger for being the highest-finishing participant in the Ranger Cup incentive program. Ray Winans of Pinewood, S.C., earned $1,000 as the big-bass winner thanks to a 6-pound, 2-ounce bass.
Rodney Sorrell of Stokesdale (four bass, 15 pounds, 9 ounces, $1,700); Jeff Chandler of New London (five bass, 15 pounds, 6 ounces, $1,300); and Anthony Fofi of Spring Lake (five bass, 15 pounds, 3 ounces, $1,100) rounded out the top five boaters.
Mark Finley of Palmyra, Va., claimed first place and $2,500 in the 200-competitor Co-angler Division with five bass weighing 19 pounds, 2 ounces. Finley caught his limit on a Rat-L-Trap in water 3 to 6 feet deep near the dam. He surpassed second-place co-angler Dave Murdock of Florence, S.C., by 6 pounds, 11 ounces. Murdock finished with a five-bass catch weighing 12 pounds, 7 ounces worth $1,250.
Scott Golden of Roanoke Rapids (five bass, 12 pounds, 5 ounces, $850) and Walter Whitman Jr. of Greensboro (three bass, 11 pounds, 7 ounces, $650) rounded out the top four co-anglers. Tied for fifth were Robert Bawcum of Henderson and Steve Lowe of Danville, Va. Each caught three bass weighing 8 pounds, 14 ounces to earn $500.
Mark Finley of Palmyra, Va., earned big-bass honors and $500 in his division with a 6-pound, 14-ounce bass.
The Wal-Mart BFL will visit Kerr Lake May 3 for the second of five Piedmont Division events. The boater with the most points after the division’s season finale, a two-day Super Tournament Oct. 4-5 on Kerr 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 Piedmont Division boaters and co-anglers will advance to regional competition Oct. 21-25 on Clark Hill Lake near Thomson, Ga., where they will go up against top competitors from the Choo Choo, Gator and Mountain 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.