MARBURY, Md. – James Dudley of Lynchburg, Va., topped 199 Wal-Mart Bass Fishing League competitors Saturday on the Potomac River with five bass weighing 19 pounds, 5 ounces. The catch earned him $5,011 and 200 points in the Boater Division.
Dudley’s catch topped second-place boater J.T. Kenney of Frostburg by 1 pound. Kenney finished the one-day tournament with a five-bass catch weighing 18 pounds, 5 ounces worth $2,506. Kenney also earned a $500 bonus from Ranger Boats for being the highest-finishing participant in the Ranger Cup incentive program.
Dudley’s son, Castrol pro David Dudley of Manteo, N.C., scored his first-ever victory in the EverStart Series on the same day his father scored his second BFL win. David, who also fishes the Wal-Mart FLW Tour, won the EverStart Series Northern Division opener Saturday on Minnesota’s Lake Vermilion. The father-son victories appropriately came on Take a Kid Fishing day, a national initiative sponsored by Wal-Mart that inspires children to get involved in the lifelong sport of fishing.
Skip Sjobeck of Randolph Center, Vt. (five bass, 17 pounds, 13 ounces, $1,704); Dennis Krell Jr. of Palmerton, Pa. (five bass, 17 pounds, 6 ounces, $1,303); and Sean Stepp of Dumfries, Va. (five bass, 16 pounds, 15 ounces, $1,102) rounded out the top five boaters.
Kevin Martin of East Earl, Pa., topped 199 Co-angler Division competitors with a five-bass catch weighing 17 pounds, 3 ounces to earn $2,505. He surpassed second-place co-anglers Ronald Crochetiere of Springfield, Mass., and Kurt Von Brandt of Middletown, Del., by 10 ounces. Crochetiere and Von Brandt finished with a five-bass catch weighing 16 pounds, 9 ounces. Each earned $1,052 for their catch.
Finishing in fourth place was Joseph Henry Jr. of Cherry Hill, N.J., with a five-bass catch weighing 15 pounds that earned him $651. Fifth place was Chad Shutty of Barnesboro, Pa., with a five-bass catch weighing 14 pounds, 10 ounces that earned him $551.
Bob Mellinger of Narvon, Pa., earned $995 as the big-bass winner in the Boater Division, thanks to a 6-pound, 9-ounce bass. Douglas Baker of Carlisle, Pa., earned big-bass honors and $498 in his division with a 6-pound, 2-ounce bass.
The Wal-Mart BFL will visit Lake Champlain in Plattsburgh, N.Y., July 12 for the second of five Northeast Division events. The boater with the most points after the division’s season finale, a two-day Super Tournament Sept. 20-21 on Cayuga 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 Northeast Division boaters and co-anglers will advance to regional competition Oct. 7-11 on Lake Chautauqua near Jamestown, N.Y., where they will go up against top competitors from the Buckeye, Michigan and Shenandoah 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.