KISSIMMEE, Fla. – Boater Roland Smith of Land O’Lakes, Fla., won the Wal-Mart Bass Fishing League Gator Division tournament on Lake Toho Saturday with a five-bass catch weighing 17 pounds, 9 ounces. The victory earned Smith $5,100 and placed him one step closer to qualifying for the Clarks Hill Lake Regional Championship in Appling, Ga., Oct. 11-13, where he could ultimately win a new 519VX Ranger boat and a Chevy truck.
Smith was sight-fishing with an array of soft plastics to catch his quality sized, tournament limit of bass.
Rounding out the top five boaters are Kyle Walters of Palm Bay, Fla. (five bass, 17-5, $3,000); Robert Beatty of Clermont, Fla. (five bass, 17-3, $2,000); Kurtis Michaux of Clermont, Fla. (five bass, 16-7, $1,400) and Kyle Fox of Lakeland, Fla. (five bass, 15-9, $1,200).
Walters won an additional $500 as the highest-finishing participant in the Ranger Cup program. Beatty took home the Boater Division Snickers Big Bass award, earning $1,000 for a 9-pound, 6-ounce bass.
William Wood of West Palm Beach, Fla., earned $3,000 as the co-angler winner Saturday thanks to five bass weighing 12 pounds, 10 ounces that he caught while fishing a rattle trap in deeper water to catch his bass.
Rounding out the top five co-anglers are Chris Prowant of Gainesville, Fla. (five bass, 11-6, $1,500); Dean Jackson of High Springs, Fla. (two bass, 11-4, $1,000); Steve Coleman of Frostproof, Fla. (five bass, 11-1, $700) and Joe Ventrello of Orlando, Fla. (five bass, 10-8, $600).
Jackson also earned an additional $500 as the co-angler Big Bass winner after catching a 9-pound, 12-ounce bass.
The Gator Division’s next event will be Feb. 17 on the Harris Chain of Lakes in Tavares, Fla., followed by an event March 17 on Lake Kissimmee in Kissimmee, Fla. The division’s fourth event will be held May 5 on Lake Kissimmee in Kissimmee, Fla., and the final event of the regular season will be a two-day Super Tournament held Sept. 15-16 on the Harris Chain of Lakes in Tavares, Fla.
Following the end of regular-season competition, the top 40 boaters and 40 co-anglers based on year-end points standings in the division will advance to the no-entry-fee Clarks Hill Lake Regional Championship where they will compete against top qualifiers from three other BFL divisions. At the Regional Championship boaters will fish for a new Ranger boat and Chevy truck and co-anglers will fish for a new Ranger boat. The top six boaters and top six co-anglers at the Regional Championship will also advance to the 2008 All-American presented by Chevy. With a total purse of $1 million, a potential $140,000 cash prize going to the winning boater and as much as $70,000 going to the winning co-angler, the All-American is one of the most prestigious and lucrative events in bass fishing. The winning boater and winning co-angler at the All-American also advance to the no-entry-fee $2 million 2008 Forrest Wood Cup. This event, featuring a top award of $1 million, is the sport’s biggest championship.
The $8.8 million Wal-Mart Bass Fishing League features 28 divisions nationwide. In BFL competition, boaters and co-anglers are randomly paired. Boaters supply the boat and fish from the front deck against other boaters while co-anglers compete 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 FLW Tour, Wal-Mart FLW Series, Stren Series, Wal-Mart Bass Fishing League, Wal-Mart Texas Tournament Trail presented by Abu Garcia, Ranger Owners Tournament Championship Series, 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 will offer combined purses of nearly $43 million through 238 events in 2007.
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.
For more information about FLW Outdoors and its tournaments, browse FLWOutdoors.com or call (270) 252-1000.