LAKE WALES, Fla. – Lee McCracken of Ocala, Fla., earned $4,686 Saturday as winner of the Wal-Mart Bass Fishing League Gator Division event on Kissimmee River. The tournament was the fourth of five regular-season Gator Division events and earned McCraken 200 points in the Boater Division.
McCracken’s winning catch of five bass weighed 24 pounds, 11 ounces. McCracken flipped a black-and-blue Gitem Sugar creature bait with a 1 1/2-ounce weight on 65-pound braided line in and around grass to catch his bass. McCracken also took home an additional $1,000 for winning the Ranger Cup contingency award and $690 for taking big bass honors with a 9-pound, 15-ounce bass.
Rounding out the top five boaters are Steve Hatler of Lakeland, Fla. (five bass, 22 pounds, 5 ounces, $2,343); Mike Reed of Dade City, Fla. (five bass, 21 pounds, 9 ounces, $1,562); Darrell Davis of Dover, Fla. (five bass, 18 pounds, 12 ounces, $1,093) and Troy Oliver of Lakeland, Fla. (five bass, 17 pounds, 10 ounces, $937).
Jeff Sullivan of Frostproof, Fla., bested won the Co-angler Division to earn $2,343, thanks to five bass weighing 18 pounds, 5 ounces he caught while throwing a Zoom Fluke in and around submerged grass.
Rounding out the top five co-anglers are Jesse Windsor of Orlando, Fla. (four bass, 13 pounds, 13 ounces, $1,172); Wyatt Boyd of Winter Haven, Fla., and Charles Gomez III tied for third place, (five bass, 13 pounds, 7 ounces, $664) and Joe Ventrello of Orlando, Fla. (five bass, 13 pounds, 1 ounces, $469).
Kenneth Bankhead of Auburndale, Fla., earned $345 as the co-angler big-bass award winner with a 8-pound, 12-ounce bass.
The Gator Division’s next event will be held Sept. 9-10 on Lake Toho near Kissimmee, Fla., for the divisions two-day Super Tournament.
Following the regular season, the Gator 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 Gator 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 Savannah River, Shenandoah and South Carolina 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.