HIXSON, Tenn. – Boater Thomas Southern of Sylacauga, Ala., earned a fully rigged Ranger 519VX and a new Chevy truck Saturday as winner of the Wal-Mart Bass Fishing League Regional Championship on Lake Chickamauga. The top 40 boaters and the top 40 co-anglers from the Bulldog, Dixie, LBL and Music City divisions competed in the three-day event.
Southern’s winning three-day catch of 15 bass weighed 38 pounds, 7 ounces. In addition to the new truck and boat, Southern also earned 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.
Southern caught his winning bass by fishing humps near creek channel swings in 12 to 15 feet of water. He was throwing a green pumpkin Davis Paca Series jig in 3/8- to 1/2-ounce sizes.
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 Billy Schroeder of Paducah, Ky. (13 bass, 32 pounds, 10 ounces, $4,000); Jay McMillon of Dayton, Tenn. (12 bass, 31 pounds, 9 ounces, $2,000); LeRoy McDuffie of McLeansboro, Ill. (15 bass, 29 pounds, 15 ounces, $1,600); Brian Hickey of Cadiz, Ky. (12 bass, 29 pounds, 6 ounces, $1,200); and Michael Conley of Bainbridge, Ga. (12 bass, 28 pounds, 7 ounces, $1,000).
Morgan Brown of Stockton, Ala., earned a new Ranger boat as the co-angler winner, thanks to a three-day total of 11 bass weighing 21 pounds, 3 ounces.
Rounding out the top six co-anglers were Marty Everson of Albany, Ga. (seven bass, 19 pounds, 12 ounces, $2,000); Eric Peeler of Calhoun, Ga. (seven bass, 17 pounds, 2 ounces, $1,000); Mike Williams of Lancaster, Ky. (seven bass, 16 pounds, 2 ounces, $800); Lowell Johnson of Woodstock, Ga. (10 bass, 15 pounds, 1 ounce, $600); and Craig Allen of Lebanon, Tenn. (six bass, 13 pounds, 4 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 tournament programs, 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.