BEMUS POINT, N.Y. – Boater William McKelvey of Belfast earned $7,248 Sunday as winner of the two-day, season-ending Wal-Mart Bass Fishing League Northeast Division Super Tournament on Chautauqua Lake. His two-day total of 26 pounds, 14 ounces topped 129 fellow competitors in the Boater Division.
McKelvey caught 11 pounds, 12 ounces Saturday to advance to Sunday’s competition, where he caught 15 pounds, 3 ounces to post the heaviest two-day weight and claim the win. He also earned a $1,000 bonus from Ranger Boats as the highest-finishing participant in the Ranger Cup incentive program. McKelvey earned another $1,290 as the Boater Division big-bass winner, thanks to a 5-pound, 11-ounce bass.
Rounding out the top five boaters are Michael Beebe of Conneautville, Pa. (25 pounds, 14 ounces, $3,624); Christopher Hall of Clarks Summit, Pa. (25 pounds, 11 ounces, $1,963); J.T. Kenney of Frostburg, Md. (23 pounds, 5 ounces, $1,661); and Bud Schosger of Painted Post (22 pounds, 7 ounces, $1,359).
John Fenstermacher of Bloomsburg, Pa., earned $3,624 as winner of the Co-angler Division with a two-day total of 16 pounds, 10 ounces. This is his second Northeast Division win of the season – he also claimed victory on Cayuga Lake in July.
Rounding out the top five co-anglers are Chad Shutty of Northern Cambria, Pa. (16 pounds, 6 ounces, $1,812); Clyde Britt of Hewitt, N.J. (15 pounds, 2 ounces, $981); Jora Airapetyan of North Babylon (12 pounds, 6 ounces, $830); and Mike Henry of Venetia, Pa. (11 pounds, 7 ounces, $679).
Fenstermacher claimed co-angler big-bass honors with a 5-pound, 1-ounce bass that earned him $645.
Each of the BFL’s 24 nationwide divisions features four one-day tournaments and one two-day Super Tournament within the regular season. In Super Tournament competition, the entire field competes on day one and the top 20 percent advances to day two, with the winners determined by the heaviest two-day catch weights. More money is awarded at Super Tournaments as well as more points that count toward year-end angler standings. In a Super Tournament, 300 points are awarded for first place, 299 for second, 298 for third, and so on.
Lynn Baciuska of Afton earned $1,000 as the Yamaha “Be the Best” boater points champion in the Northeast Division with 1,015 points for the season. Richard French of Newfield earned Yamaha “Be the Best” points champion honors and $500 in the Co-angler Division. He earned 987 points this season.
The top 30 boaters and co-anglers in the Northeast Division will advance to the Kerr Lake regional, which will be held Oct. 5-9 in Henderson, N.C. There they will compete against qualifying anglers from the Buckeye, Carolina and Savannah River divisions for one of six slots in the 2005 All-American. The All-American awards a $100,000 cash prize to the winning boater and $50,000 to the winning co-angler, making it one of the most prestigious and lucrative events in competitive bass fishing.
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.