LAKE WALES, Fla. – Boater Billy Bowen Jr. of Ocala, Fla., won the Wal-Mart Bass Fishing League Gator Division tournament on Lake Kissimmee Saturday with a five-bass catch weighing 25 pounds, 5 ounces. The victory earned Bowen $4,205 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.
Bowen was pitching the lily pads with topwater baits to catch his five-bass limit.
Rounding out the top five boaters are Bill Rucker of Cocoa, Fla. (five bass, 24-14, $2,474); Micah Silverman of Orlando, Fla. (five bass, 22-1, $1,649); Wayne Yohn of Polk City, Fla. (five bass, 21-12, $1,155); and Donald Dwayne Davis of Summerfield, Fla. (five bass, 20-15, $990).
David Givens of Hernando, Fla., and Wayne Yohn of Polk City, Fla., split the Boater Division Snickers Big Bass award, earning $377 each with a pair of 7-pound, 15-ounce bass.
Robert Moore of Pinellas Park, Fla., earned $2,469 as the co-angler winner Saturday thanks to five bass weighing 16 pounds, 7 ounces.
Rounding out the top five co-anglers are Brian Malys of Bartow, Fla. (five bass, 15-5, $1,235); David Iglesias of Crystal River, Fla. (five bass, 13-0, $823); Adam Trott of Lakeland, Fla. (five bass, 11-3, $576); and Scott Fannon of Oldsmar, Fla. (five bass, 10-4, $494).
Tracy Sloan of Apopka, Fla., earned $372 as the co-angler Big Bass winner after catching an 8-pound, 5-ounce bass.
The Gator Division’s next event will be the final event of the regular season a two-day Super Tournament held Sept. 15-16 on 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 241 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 Walmart.com.
For more information about FLW Outdoors and its tournaments, browse FLWOutdoors.com or call (270) 252-1000.