HENDERSON, N.C. – Boater Rodney Bell of Salisbury, N.C., earned a fully rigged Ranger 519VX and a new Chevy truck Saturday as winner of the Wal-Mart Bass Fishing League Regional Championship on Kerr Lake. The top 40 boaters and the top 40 co-anglers from the Gator, Savannah River, Shenandoah and South Carolina divisions competed in the three-day event.
Bell’s winning three-day catch of 12 bass weighed 34 pounds, 1 ounce. In addition to the new truck and boat, Bell also earned a $1,000 Ranger Cup bonus and a ticket to compete in the 2007 $1 million Wal-Mart Bass Fishing League All-American, one of the most prestigious tournaments in bass fishing, where the winning boater will earn as much as $140,000 and the winning co-angler will earn as much as $70,000.
The top six boaters and the top six co-anglers at the regional championship earned a spot to compete in the All-American. Rounding out the top six boaters were James Edwards of Greenville, S.C. (eight bass, 23 pounds, $4,000); David Wright of Lexington, N.C. (11 bass, 22 pounds, 11 ounces, $2,000); Richard Heath Jr. of Beaverdam, Va. (nine bass, 22 pounds, 1 ounce, $1,600); Ricky Shumpert of Lexington, S.C. (nine bass, 22 pounds, 1 ounce, $1,200); and Jim Folks of Melbourne, Fla. (10 bass, 21 pounds, 8 ounces, $1,000).
Mark Robertson of Henderson, N.C., earned a new Ranger boat as the co-angler winner, thanks to a three-day total of eight bass weighing 18 pounds, 14 ounces.
Rounding out the top six co-anglers were Clint Sterling of Oakland, Fla. (six bass, 15 pounds, 9 ounces, $2,000); Joe Bridges of Robbinsville, N.C. (six bass, 14 pounds, 11 ounces, $1,000); Steve Hoffman of Simpsonville, S.C. (four bass, 13 pounds, 4 ounces, $800); Billy Reed of Yorktown, Va. (six bass, 12 pounds, 5 ounces, $600); and Dennis Medlin of Anderson, S.C. (five bass, 11 pounds, 10 ounces, $500).
As the nation’s leading provider of affordable, close-to-home weekend tournaments, the BFL is widely credited with opening competitive bass fishing to the masses. It also serves as a steppingstone for anglers who wish to advance to the Stren Series and ultimately the Wal-Mart FLW Tour – bass fishing’s most lucrative tournament series. Former BFL anglers who have become fishing superstars on the Wal-Mart FLW Tour include Kellogg’s pro Clark Wendlandt, Ranger pro Tommy Biffle and four-time FLW Tour champion David Fritts.
Named after the legendary founder of Ranger Boats, Forrest L. Wood, FLW Outdoors administers the Wal-Mart FLW Tour, Wal-Mart FLW Series, Stren Series, Wal-Mart Bass Fishing League, Wal-Mart Texas Tournament Trail presented by Abu Garcia, Stratos Owners’ Tournament Trail, Wal-Mart FLW Walleye Tour, Wal-Mart FLW Walleye League, Wal-Mart FLW Kingfish Tour, Wal-Mart FLW Kingfish Series, Wal-Mart FLW Redfish Series and Wal-Mart FLW Striper Series. These circuits offer combined purses exceeding $37.9 million through 249 events in 2006.
For more information about FLW Outdoors and its tournaments, browse FLWOutdoors.com or call (270) 252-1000.
Wal-Mart and many of America’s largest and most respected companies support FLW Outdoors and its tournament trails. Wal-Mart signed on as an FLW Outdoors sponsor in 1997 and today is the world’s leading supporter of tournament fishing. For more information about Wal-Mart, visit Wal-Mart.com.