KISSIMMEE, Fla. – Boater Jim Murray Jr. of Arabi, Ga., earned a fully rigged Ranger 519VX and a new Chevy truck Saturday as winner of the Wal-Mart Bass Fishing League Regional event on Lake Toho. The top 40 boaters and the top 40 co-anglers from the Bama, Bulldog, Seminole and South Carolina divisions competed in the three-day event.
Murray’s winning three-day catch of 15 bass weighed 46 pounds. In addition to the new truck and boat, Murray earned a ticket to the 2006 $1 million Wal-Mart Bass Fishing League All-American, one of the most prestigious tournaments in bass fishing, where the winning boater will earn up to $140,000 and the winning co-angler will earn up to $70,000.
Having qualified through the Bulldog Division, Murray found his bass piled up along grass points in south Kissimmee Lake. The bass were staging in 4 to 5 feet of water and hit best on topwater offerings. “I threw Zoom Horny Toads 90 percent of the day, everyday,” Murray said. “During the other 10 percent of the time, I flipped a Zoom Ultra-vibe Craw to catch them.
“I only pre-fished during the designated two days,” Murray continued. “I just caught two bass, but they pretty well told me what I needed to be doing during the tournament. After that, I just put my trolling motor down and fished.”
The top six boaters and the top six co-anglers fishing the event also earned a berth into the All-American. Rounding out the top six boaters were Gary Simpson of Gainesville (15 bass, 44 pounds, 15 ounces, $6,000); Jason McKinnie of Umatilla (13 bass, 38 pounds, 7 ounces, $3,000); Allan Cagle of Deltona (15 bass, 38 pounds, 1 ounce, $2,500); Kip Carter of Oxford, Ga. (13 bass, 36 pounds, 11 ounces, $2,000); and Chad Dorland of Ocala (11 bass, 31 pounds, 8 ounces, $1,800).
McKinnie earned an additional $500 as winner of the Ranger Cup award.
Ashley Newell of Fitzgerald, Ga., earned a new Ranger boat as the co-angler winner, thanks to a three-day total of 10 bass weighing 28 pounds, 14 ounces. Similar to Murray’s winning pattern, Newell also threw Zoom Horny Toads to catch most of his bass, though he did switch to a green-pumpkin Texas-rigged Zoom Ultra-Vibe Craw to flip and pitch into the grass on the last day to catch two more bass, including a 5-pounder.
Rounding out the top six co-anglers were Kevin Botdorf of Albany, Ga. (nine bass, 21 pounds, 12 ounces, $3,000); Michael Wright of Covington, Ga. (12 bass, 20 pounds, 14 ounces, $1,500); Roger Smart of Woodville, Ala. (12 bass, 20 pounds, 8 ounces, $1,250); Tracy Wallace of Lithia Springs, Ga. (10 bass, 19 pounds, 4 ounces, $1,000); and Joel Naramore of Parrish, Ala. (10 bass, 17 pounds, 5 ounces, $900).
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.