MANNING, S.C. – Boater Casey Ashley of Honea Path earned $4,226 Saturday as winner of the Wal-Mart Bass Fishing League South Carolina Division event on the Santee Cooper lakes. The tournament was the second of five regular-season South Carolina Division events and featured 137 boaters vying for the win, which earned Ashley 200 points in the Boater Division.
Ashley’s winning catch of five bass weighed 21 pounds, 8 ounces. He was flipping around boat docks in the Eutah Creek area when he caught his bass. Ashley earned an additional $1,000 as winner of the Ranger Cup award.
Finishing second was Kent Ware of Wadmalaw Island with five bass weighing 20 pounds, 12 ounces that earned him $2,113. Bradley Gunter of Greenwood claimed $1,382 as the third-place finisher thanks to five bass weighing 19 pounds, 15 ounces. In fourth was Ronald Catoe of Lugoff with five bass weighing 18 pounds, 9 ounces worth $1,076, and finishing fifth and earning $884 was Wayne King of Sumter with five bass weighing 18 pounds, 7 ounces.
Ryan Pardue of Hamptonville, N.C., took Boater Division big-bass award honors, earning $685 for a 9-pound, 3-ounce bass. He caught his big bass on a green pumpkin Senko.
Donnie Rhodes of Laurens earned $1,998 as the co-angler winner, thanks to three bass weighing 11 pounds, 7 ounces.
Rounding out the top five co-anglers are Dan Garner of Goose Creek (four bass, 11 pounds, 1 ounce, $999); Albert Pieper of Summerville (three bass, 9 pounds, 6 ounces, $651); Johnny Crislip of Mt. Pleasant (two bass, 8 pounds, 1 ounce, $509); and Jeff Cantey of Salters (two bass, 7 pounds, 5 ounces, $418).
Rhodes earned an additional $318 as the co-angler big-bass award winner with a 7-pound bass he caught on an 8-inch Dead Ringer.
The South Carolina Division’s next event will be held April 30 on Clarks Hill Lake near Augusta, Ga., followed by an event on Lake Hartwell near Seneca May 21. The South Carolina Division will wrap up its regular season Sept. 24-25 with a two-day Super Tournament on Lake Wylie near York.
Following the regular season, the South Carolina Division boater with the most points will earn $1,000 as the Yamaha “Be the Best” points champion. The co-angler amassing the most points will earn $500 as the Yamaha “Be the Best” points champion 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 40 South Carolina Division boaters and co-anglers based on year-end points standings will advance to the Lake Toho Regional near Kissimmee, Fla., Oct. 4-8 where they will compete against Bama, Bulldog and Seminole Division anglers for one of six slots in the 2006 All-American. With a total purse of $1 million and a potential $140,000 cash prize going to the winning boater and $70,000 going to the winning co-angler, the All-American is one of the most prestigious and lucrative events in bass fishing.
The $8.4 million Wal-Mart Bass Fishing League features 28 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 visit FLWOutdoors.com.
Named after the legendary founder of Ranger Boats, Forrest L. Wood, FLW Outdoors administers the Wal-Mart Bass Fishing League and seven other national tournament circuits offering a combined $30 million in awards through 214 events in 2005. The 27-year-old organization is the purveyor of America’s largest and most prestigious fishing tournaments, including the Wal-Mart FLW Tour, EverStart Series, Wal-Mart Bass Fishing League, Wal-Mart Texas Tournament Trail, Wal-Mart FLW Walleye Tour, Wal-Mart FLW Walleye League, Wal-Mart FLW Kingfish Tour and Wal-Mart FLW Redfish Series.
Wal-Mart and many of America’s largest and most respected companies support FLW Outdoors and its tournament trails. Wal-Mart signed on as title sponsor of the FLW Tour in 1997 and today is the title sponsor of all FLW Outdoors events. For more information on Wal-Mart, visit Wal-Mart.com.