TICONDEROGA, N.Y. – Boater James Fleming of Lockport earned $5,011 Saturday as winner of the Wal-Mart Bass Fishing League Northeast Division event on Lake Champlain. The tournament was the second of five regular-season Northeast Division events and featured 199 boaters vying for the win, which earned Fleming 200 points in the Boater Division.
Fleming’s winning catch of five bass weighed 21 pounds, 2 ounces, and he caught them on a flipping tube along an outside weed edge. He also earned a $1,000 bonus from Ranger Boats as the highest-finishing participant in the Ranger Cup incentive program. He brought to the scales a 6-pound, 2-ounce bass that earned Boater Division big-bass honors; he claimed $995 for the big bass.
Finishing second was Mark Fann of Clewiston, Fla., with five bass weighing 18 pounds, 3 ounces that earned him $2,506. Pete Hettenbaugh of Lima claimed $1,704 as the third-place finisher thanks to five bass weighing 18 pounds. In fourth was Ron Blajda of Hadley, Mass., with five bass weighing 17 pounds, 14 ounces worth $1,303, and finishing fifth and earning $1,102 was John Lorenzo of Kane, Pa., with five bass weighing 17 pounds, 2 ounces.
Donald Fontaine of Upper Marlboro, Md., bested 199 Co-angler Division competitors to earn $2,505 as the co-angler winner, thanks to five bass weighing 17 pounds, 12 ounces that he caught on a plastic in the grass.
Rounding out the top five co-anglers are Scott Mitchell of Hawthorne, N.J. (five bass, 17 pounds, 6 ounces, $1,253); Ed Carroll of Altamont (five bass, 17 pounds, 5 ounces, $852); Keith Robitaille of Chicopee, Mass. (five bass, 16 pounds, 10 ounces, $651); and Mike Davidson of Cortland (five bass, 16 pounds, 9 ounces, $551).
Randy Izer of Hadley, Mass., earned $498 as the co-angler big-bass award winner with a 5-pound, 7-ounce bass he caught on a Scum Frog on braided line around weeds and milfoil.
The Northeast Division’s next event will be held July 31 on Cayuga Lake near Seneca Falls, followed by an event on Thousand Islands in Clayton Aug. 21. The Northeast Division will wrap up its regular season Sept. 11-12 with a two-day Super Tournament on Chautauqua Lake near Bemus Point.
Following the regular season, the Northeast Division boater with the most points will earn $1,000 as the Yamaha “Be the Best” points leader. The co-angler amassing the most points will earn $500 as the Yamaha “Be the Best” points leader in the Co-angler Division.
Every angler who receives weight credit in a tournament earns points, with 200 points going 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. The top 30 Northeast Division boaters and co-anglers based on year-end points standings will advance to the Kerr Lake regional near Henderson, N.C., Oct. 5-9, where they will compete against Buckeye, Carolina and Savannah River division anglers for one of six slots in the 2005 All-American. With a $100,000 cash prize going to the winning boater and $50,000 going to the winning co-angler, the All-American is one of the most prestigious and lucrative events in bass fishing.
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.