SUMMERTON, S.C. – Boater Bryan Cook of Summerville, S.C., earned $5,154 Saturday as winner of the Wal-Mart Bass Fishing League South Carolina Division event on the Santee Cooper lakes. The tournament was the first of five regular-season South Carolina Division events and featured 159 boaters vying for the win, which earned Cook 200 points in the Boater Division.
Cook’s winning catch of five bass weighed 26 pounds, 15 ounces. Cook was throwing a Rat-L-Trap in 6 to 8 feet of water when he caught his bass. He earned an additional $1,000 for the Bombardier Bonus award.
Rounding out the top five boaters are Jerry Fowler of Walterboro, S.C. (five bass, 19 pounds, 11 ounces, $2,577); Maurice Freeze of Concord, N.C. (five bass, 19 pounds, 7 ounces, $1,719); Chuck Howard of Elloree, S.C. (five bass, 17 pounds, 4 ounces, $1,203) and Joseph Kastner of Prosperity, S.C. (five bass, 17 pounds $1,031).
Howard won an additional $750 as winner of the Ranger Cup and Powered by Yamaha awards.
Andy Owens of Camden, S.C., took Boater Division big-bass award honors, earning $795 for an 8-pound, 4-ounce bass.
Ryan Small of Lexington, S.C., earned $2,545 as the co-angler winner, thanks to four bass weighing 10 pounds, 4 ounces that he caught throwing a green pumpkin Zoom Brush Hog in the lower lake in 6 to 8 feet of water.
Rounding out the top five co-anglers are Eddie Cook of Clemmons, N.C. (two bass, 9 pounds, 9 ounces, $1,272); James Nunn of Statesville, N.C. (two bass, 8 pounds, 12 ounces, $849) and tying for fourth place were Terry Carteret of Green Sea, S.C., and Tom Turner of Concord, N.C. Both anglers caught two bass weighing 8 pounds worth $551.
Gary Cunningham of Columbia, S.C., earned $392 as the co-angler big-bass award winner with a 7-pound, 3-ounce bass.
The South Carolina Division’s next event will be held March 18 on Lake Murray near Prosperity, S.C., followed by an event on Lake Hartwell near Clemson, S.C., April 8. The fourth event will be held May 13 on Lake Wateree near Camden, S.C., and the South Carolina Division will wrap up its regular season Sept. 30-31 with a two-day Super Tournament on Lake Wylie near Lake Wylie, S.C.
Following the regular season, the South Carolina Division boater with the most points who advances farthest in the Wal-Mart BFL All-American will earn $10,000 as the Yamaha “Be the Best” points champion. The co-angler points champion who advances farthest will earn $5,000 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 Kerr Lake Regional Championship near Henderson, N.C., Oct. 12-14 where they will compete against Gator, Savannah River and Shenandoah division anglers for one of six slots in the 2007 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 $8.8 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, as well as the Wal-Mart FLW Tour, Wal-Mart FLW Series, Stren Series, Wal-Mart Texas Tournament Trail, Stratos Owners’ Tournament Trail, Wal-Mart FLW Walleye Tour, Wal-Mart FLW Walleye League, Wal-Mart FLW Kingfish Tour, Wal-Mart FLW Kingfish Series and Wal-Mart FLW Redfish Series. These circuits offer combined purses exceeding $36.9 million through 241 events in 2006.
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.