Blankenship wins BFL Super Tournament on Smith Mountain Lake - Major League Fishing

Blankenship wins BFL Super Tournament on Smith Mountain Lake

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Craig Blankenship of Beckley, W. Va., caught seven bass weighing 12 pounds, 11 ounces to win the BFL Shenandoah Division Super Tournament, held Sept. 27-28 on Smith Mountain Lake near Moneta, Va. Angler: Craig Blankenship.
September 28, 2003 • MLF • Archives

MONETA, Va. – Craig Blankenship of Beckley, W. Va., caught seven bass weighing 12 pounds, 11 ounces to win $6,371 at the Wal-Mart Bass Fishing League Shenandoah Division Super Tournament, held this weekend on Smith Mountain Lake near Moneta. Blankenship bested 106 Boater Division competitors and earned 300 points at the tournament, which was the fifth and final Shenandoah Division event of the regular season.

Blankenship caught four bass Saturday weighing 7 pounds and caught another three weighing 5 pounds, 11 ounces Sunday to win the event. He caught his tournament-winning bass fishing run-and-gun style with a spinner bait.

Rounding out the top five boaters are Ray Armes of Concord (four bass, 11 pounds, 8 ounces); Jacob Powroznik of Prince George (four bass, 11 pounds, 1 ounce); Butch Thorp of Forest (four bass, 10 pounds, 13 ounces); and Rory Dunn of Rustburg (four bass, 10 pounds).

Armes earned $500 from Ranger Boats as the highest-finishing participant in the Ranger Cup incentive program. Steve Miller of Mechanicsville claimed $1,060 as the Boater Division big-bass award winner with a 5-pound, 11-ounce bass.

Marty Sparger of Reston led 106 Co-angler Division competitors on day two to claim $3,185 as the Super Tournament co-angler winner. He caught two bass Saturday weighing 7 pounds, 3 ounces and followed that up Sunday with one bass weighing 2 pounds, 5 ounces to earn the win with a two-day total of three bass weighing 9 pounds, 8 ounces. He caught his tournament-winning bass in the lower and upper parts of the main lake on a Senko and a Spook.

Rounding out the top five co-anglers are Jeff Lugar of McGaheysville (five bass, 7 pounds, 11 ounces); Walter Whitman Jr. of Greensboro, N.C. (two bass, 6 pounds, 8 ounces); Mike Orbell of Silver Spring, Md. (two bass, 6 pounds, 6 ounces); and Nancy Zeigler of York, Pa. (two bass, 5 pounds, 14 ounces).

Scott Roberts of Lynchburg took co-angler big-bass honors and $530 with a 5-pound, 6-ounce bass.

Marty Schray of Sterling is the Shenandoah Division’s Yamaha “Be the Best” points leader, winning $1,000 for the 964 points he earned during five regular-season tournaments. James Seay of Richmond is the Yamaha “Be the Best” points leader in the Co-angler Division. He earned $500 for his division-leading 940 points.

The top 30 boaters and top 30 co-anglers in the Shenandoah Division will advance to regional competition Oct. 7-11 on Chautauqua Lake near Jamestown, N.Y., where they will go up against top competitors from the Buckeye, Michigan and Northeast divisions for a shot at qualifying for the BFL All-American, one of the most lucrative postseason tournaments in competitive angling.

The BFL comprises 24 divisions nationwide, each featuring five regular-season events that lead to one of six regionals. Four of the regular-season tournaments are one-day events, while the final event, a Super Tournament, is a two-day tournament that will award as much as $70,950 to participating anglers. Anglers who enter all five regular-season events in a division but do not advance to a regional may enter the Chevy Trucks Wild Card for a shot at qualifying for the All-American. The All-American field comprises 84 competitors – six boaters and six co-anglers from six regionals plus six boaters and six co-anglers from the Wild Card.

As the nation’s leading provider of affordable, close-to-home weekend tournaments, the BFL is widely credited with opening competitive bass fishing to the masses. It also serves as a steppingstone for anglers who wish to advance to the EverStart Series and ultimately the Wal-Mart FLW Tour – bass fishing’s most lucrative tournament series. Each year the top 30 boaters and co-anglers from each BFL division are eligible to advance to the EverStart Series, and the All-American champions are eligible for Wal-Mart FLW Tour competition. The top 15 pros and co-anglers from the Central, Eastern and Northern divisions of the EverStart Series (top 10 from the Western Division) are eligible to advance to the Wal-Mart FLW Tour. Former BFL anglers who have become fishing superstars on the Wal-Mart FLW Tour include Kellogg’s pro Clark Wendlandt, Chevy pro Tommy Biffle and four-time FLW Tour champion David Fritts.