HULBERT, Okla. – Boater Division competitor Blake Ellison of Inola earned $3,309 Saturday as winner of the Wal-Mart Bass Fishing League Okie Division event on Fort Gibson Lake in Hulbert. The tournament was the fourth of five regular-season Okie Division events. The regular season will wrap up Oct. 2-3 with a two-day Super Tournament on Grand Lake in Grove.
Ellison bested 111 Boater Division competitors with a five-bass catch weighing 14 pounds, 14 ounces. He caught his tournament-winning bass flipping a jig to rocky points midlake.
Rounding out the top five boaters are Gil Keener Jr. of Muskogee (five bass, 14 pounds, 8 ounces, $1,654); Andy Carroll of Fort Smith, Ark. (four bass, 11 pounds, 15 ounces, $1,125); Charles Lane of Cushing (five bass, 11 pounds, 1 ounce, $860); and Allen Head of Pryor (five bass, 10 pounds, 13 ounces, $728).
Carroll earned a $500 bonus from Ranger Boats as the highest-finishing participant in the Ranger Cup incentive program. Keener earned $555 as the Boater Division big-bass award winner with a 5-pound, 5-ounce bass that he caught on a black/neon tube.
Joel Jacobs of Oklahoma City won the 105-competitor Co-angler Division with a four-bass catch weighing 13 pounds, 11 ounces. He caught his tournament-winning bass on a finesse jig and earned $1,600 for the win.
Rounding out the top five co-anglers are Mark Leach of Bartlesville (three bass, 11 pounds, 1 ounce, $800); Brady Meador of Tulsa (three bass, 8 pounds, 13 ounces, $544); Jeff Peterson of Jay (three bass, 6 pounds, 13 ounces, $416); and Wade Garcia of Alma, Ark. (two bass, 6 pounds, 1 ounce, $352).
Randy Smith of Joplin, Mo., caught a 5-pound, 4-ounce bass to win Co-angler Division big-bass honors and $263. He caught his big bass on a spinnerbait.
Following the regular season, the top 30 Okie Division boaters and co-anglers based on year-end points standings will advance to the Toledo Bend regional near Many, La., Oct. 12-16. They will compete against qualifying anglers from the Arkie, Louisiana and Ozark divisions for one of six slots in the 2005 All-American, one of competitive bass fishing’s most prestigious events. The winning boater at the All-American will take home $100,000 cash, and the winning co-angler will earn $50,000 cash.
Every angler who receives weight credit in a tournament earns points, with 200 points awarded to the winner, 199 for second, 198 for third, and so on, except for Super Tournaments, which award 300 points to the winner, 299 for second, 298 for third, and so on. These points determine angler standings. The Okie Division boater who amasses the most points at the end of the regular season will earn $1,000 as the Yamaha “Be the Best” points leader, and the co-angler earning the most points will earn $500 as the Yamaha “Be the Best” points leader in the Co-angler Division.
Anglers who compete in all five regular-season events within a division but do not advance to regional competition are eligible to fish the Chevy Trucks Wild Card for an All-American berth. Six nationwide regionals plus the Wild Card will each send six boaters and six co-anglers to the All-American for a total field of 84 competitors.
The $6.3 million Wal-Mart Bass Fishing League features 24 divisions nationwide. In BFL competition, boaters and co-anglers are randomly paired, with boaters supplying the boat and fishing against other boaters and co-anglers fishing from the back deck against other co-anglers. For more information or to enter a tournament, call (270) 252-1000 or browse this Web site.
Wal-Mart and many of America’s most respected companies support FLW Outdoors and its six tournament trails. Wal-Mart has been the title sponsor of FLW Outdoors since 1997. For a complete list of FLW Outdoors sponsors and for more information about the premier products and services they offer, please visit FLWOutdoors.com’s sponsor page.