SANDUSKY, Ohio – Boater James Vitaro of Wooster earned $3,112 Saturday as winner of the Wal-Mart Bass Fishing League Buckeye Division event on Lake Erie. The tournament was the fourth of five regular-season Buckeye Division events and earned Vitaro 200 points in the Boater Division.
Vitaro’s winning catch of five bass weighed 23 pounds, 12 ounces. Vitaro threw a watermelon Phoenix tube on a 3/8-ounce jighead to catch his bass. Vitaro won an additional $450 for the Boater Division Big Bass award, thanks to a 6-pound bass. He earned another $1,000 as winner of the Ranger Cup award.
Finishing second was Donald Sibley of Strasburg with five bass weighing 21 pounds, 7 ounces that earned him $1,556. Craig Ambos of Botkins claimed $1,019 as the third-place finisher thanks to five bass weighing 21 pounds, 6 ounces. In fourth was Jeff Melsop of East Liberty with five bass weighing 20 pounds, 7 ounces worth $792, and finishing fifth and earning $651 was Grant Hatfield of Wadsworth with four bass weighing 16 pounds, 12 ounces.
William Redmond of Sciotoville earned $1,556 as the co-angler winner, thanks to five bass weighing 22 pounds, 1 ounce that he caught on a Mizmo grub. Redmond also earned $225 as the co-angler Big Bass award winner, thanks to a 6-pound, 10-ounce bass.
Rounding out the top five co-anglers are Larry Emerick of Canton (five bass, 18 pounds, 9 ounces, $778); Steve Sorrell of Dayton (four bass, 17 pounds, 15 ounces, $510); Jordan Cline of Hicksville (four bass, 15 pounds, 15 ounces, $396); and Brandon Good of Ft. Jennings (four bass, 14 pounds, 9 ounces, $325).
The Buckeye Division will wrap up its regular season Sept. 10-11 with a two-day Super Tournament on Lake Erie near Sandusky.
Following the regular season, the Buckeye 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 Buckeye Division boaters and co-anglers based on year-end points standings will advance to the Lake Cherokee Regional near Morristown, Tenn., Oct. 4-8 where they will compete against Illini, LBL and Piedmont 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 browse 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.