HENDERSON, N.C. – Thomas Wilkinson Jr. of Oxford claimed $5,000 as the winner of the Wal-Mart Bass Fishing League Piedmont Division’s second regular-season stop, held Saturday on Kerr Lake near Henderson. Wilkinson led the field of 204 boaters with a five-bass catch weighing 18 pounds, 1 ounce.
Finishing second was Flash Butts of Roanoke Rapids with five bass weighing 17 pounds, 11 ounces worth $2,500. Larry Ellis of Bahama finished third with five bass weighing 17 pounds, 9 ounces that earned him $1,700. Tied for fourth place were Jim Paulakuhn of Wake Forest and Sammy Creech of Kenly with a five-bass catch weighing 16 pounds, 6 ounces. Each received $1,097 for their catch.
Butts also claimed a $500 bonus from Ranger Boats as the highest-finishing participant in the Ranger Cup incentive program.
Kevin Narron of Princeton topped 205 Co-angler Division competitors with a four-bass catch weighing 14 pounds, 15 ounces. Narron earned $2,500 for the win.
Rounding out the top five co-anglers are Jeremy Talbert of Albemarle (five bass, 14 pounds, 1 ounce, $1,250); Jason Barnes of Concord (five bass, 13 pounds, 15 ounces, $850); Mark Robertson of Henderson (five bass, 13 pounds, 8 ounces, $650); and Chris Whittaker of Ruther Glen, Va. (five bass, 13 pounds, 3 ounces, $550).
James Baxley of Hope Mill and David Patton of Greensboro each earned co-angler big-bass honors and $250 in his division with a 5-pound, 4-ounce bass.
The Piedmont Division will make its third regular-season stop June 28 on Kerr Lake in Henderson followed by an event on the Neuse River in New Bern July 19. The final regular-season event, a two-day Super Tournament, will be held Oct. 4-5 on Kerr Lake in Henderson. Following the regular season, the boater with the most points will be declared the Yamaha “Be the Best” points leader and awarded $1,000. The co-angler with the most points following the regular season will earn $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, Mountain and Gator 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.
Editor’s Note: Ranger Cup award winners are pending verification by Ranger Boats and thus are unofficial at this time.