TERRELL, N.C. – Boater Cliff Kirby of Catawba, N.C., earned $4,839 Saturday as winner of the Wal-Mart Bass Fishing League North Carolina Division event on Lake Norman. The tournament was the first of five regular-season North Carolina Division events and featured 146 boaters vying for the win, which earned Kirby 200 points in the Boater Division.
Kirby’s winning catch of five bass weighed 15 pounds, 8 ounces. Kirby caught his bass from a deep ledge with a Shakey Head finesse jig and worm.
Rounding out the top five boaters are Maurice Freeze of Concord, N.C. (five bass, 14 pounds, 9 ounces, $2,419); Josh Brady of Rockwell, N.C. (five bass, 14 pounds, 1 ounce, $1,614); Chuck Douthit of Mooresville, N.C. (five bass, 13 pounds, 3 ounces, $1,129) and David Williams of Maiden, N.C. (five bass, 12 pounds, 4 ounces, $968).
Freeze took Boater Division big-bass award honors, earning $730 for 5-pound, 15-ounce bass he caught on a 1/2-ounce jig. He also earned an additional $500 as winner of the Ranger Cup award.
Kris Meredith of Statesville, N.C., bested 146 Co-angler Division competitors to earn $2,419 as the co-angler winner, thanks to four bass weighing 10 pounds, 5 ounces that he caught on a jerkbait and jig.
Rounding out the top five co-anglers are Travis Ruff of Connelly Springs, N.C. (four bass, 9 pounds, 3 ounces, $1,210); Alfred Kiesling Jr. of Mooresville, N.C., (five bass, 9 pounds $807) Jeff Smith of Reidsville, N.C. (three bass, 8 pounds, 6 ounces, $565) and Edward Markham of Statesville, N.C. (four bass, 8 pounds, 4 ounces, $484).
Junior Self of Vale, N.C., earned $365 as the co-angler big-bass award winner, thanks to a 4-pound, 5-ounce bass he caught on a jig.
North Carolina Division anglers will next visit Jordan Lake in Apex, N.C., March 25 for their second regular-season event, followed by an event on Kerr Lake in Henderson, N.C., April 22. The division’s fourth qualifying event will be held at High Rock Lake in Salisbury, N.C., June 10. A two-day Super Tournament, the division’s fifth and final event, will be held at Lake Hickory in Hickory, N.C., Sept. 9-10. For more information or to enter a tournament, call (270) 252-1000 or browse FLWOutdoors.com.
Following the regular season, the North 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 North Carolina Division boaters and co-anglers will advance to the Smith Mountain Regional Championship near Moneta, Va., Oct. 19-21 and will compete against anglers from the Empire, Northeast and Piedmont divisions for an All-American slot. The top 40 anglers from each division may also advance to the Stren Series in 2007.
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.
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.