Kotal wins Wal-Mart BFL event on Lake Russell - Major League Fishing
Kotal wins Wal-Mart BFL event on Lake Russell
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Kotal wins Wal-Mart BFL event on Lake Russell

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Boater Jerry Kotal of Elberton, Ga., won the June 16 BFL Savannah River Division tournament on Lake Russell to earn $3,507. Angler: Jerry Kotal.
June 16, 2007 • MLF • Phoenix Bass Fishing League

ELBERTON, Ga. – Boater Jerry Kotal of Elberton, Ga., won the Wal-Mart Bass Fishing League Savannah River Division tournament on Lake Russell Saturday with a five-bass catch weighing 16 pounds, 3 ounces. The victory earned Kotal $3,507 and placed him one step closer to qualifying for the Lake Seminole Regional Championship in Bainbridge, Ga., Oct. 25-27, where he could ultimately win a new 519VX Ranger boat and a Chevy truck.

Rounding out the top five boaters are Trad Whaley of Abbeville, S.C. (five bass, 13-15, $2,064); Rick Steckelberg of Gainesville, Ga. (five bass, 13-9, $1,377); Wendell Ashley of Honea Path, S.C. (five bass, 13-4, $963); and Randy Snider of Laurens, S.C. (five bass, 12-14, $825).

Danny Klein of Anderson, S.C., took home the Boater Division Snickers Big Bass award, earning $575 for a 5-pound, 15-ounce bass.

Tommy Kimbrell of Eastanollee, Ga., earned $2,064 as the co-angler winner Saturday thanks to five bass weighing 10 pounds, 14 ounces that he caught while fishing a Carolina rig and finesse worm.

Rounding out the top five co-anglers are Robert W. Bennett Sr. of Lexington, Ga. (five bass, 9-15, $1,032); John Hyatt of Leicester, N.C. (five bass, 8-14, $688); Derek Lehtonen of Woodruff, S.C. (five bass, 8-11, $482); and Bobby Wade of Gaffney, S.C. (five bass, 8-4, $413).

Eugene Mason of Franklin, N.C., earned $287 as the co-angler Big Bass winner after catching a 4-pound, 11-ounce bass.

The Savannah River Division’s next event will be a two-day Super Tournament held Sept. 29-30 on Clarks Hill Lake in Thomson, Ga.

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 Lake Seminole 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.