Thomas outfishes field on Ohio River - Major League Fishing

Thomas outfishes field on Ohio River

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Boater Jason Thomas of Mount Vernon, Ill., won the July 14 BFL Illini Division tournament on the Ohio River to earn $3,599 plus a $635 Ranger Boat contingency bonus.
July 14, 2007 • MLF • Phoenix Bass Fishing League

GOLCONDA, Ill. – Boater Jason Thomas of Mount Vernon, Ill., won the Wal-Mart Bass Fishing League Illini Division tournament on the Ohio River Saturday with a five-bass catch weighing 11 pounds, 10 ounces. The victory earned Thomas $3,599 plus a $635 Ranger Boat contingency bonus and placed him one step closer to qualifying for the Mississippi River Regional Championship in Fort Madison, Iowa, Oct. 4-6, where he could ultimately win a new 519VX Ranger boat and a Chevy truck.

Thomas pitched shallow lay-downs with a Reaction Innovations Sweet Beaver lure at the lower end of the lake to get his big catches.

Rounding out the top five boaters are Jay Peterson of Clinton, Ill. (five bass, 11-9, $2,118); Bobby McMullin of Pevely, Mo. (five bass, 9-8, $1,413); Larry Frasier of Owensboro, Ky. (five bass, 9-4, $988); Randy Spurlock of Vienna, Ill. (five bass, 9-3, $811); and John W. Wright of Dieterich, Ill. (four bass, 9-3, $811).

Keith Bailey of Simpson, Ill., took home the Boater Division Snickers Big Bass award, earning $590 for a 4-pound, 3-ounce bass.

Scott Ham of Palestine, Ill., earned $2,118 as the co-angler winner Saturday thanks to five bass weighing 9 pounds, 6 ounces that he caught while fishing a jig-and-pig in shallow parts of the creek.

Rounding out the top five co-anglers are Bradley Smith of Troy, Ill. (four bass, 8-5, $1,059); Michael McAtee of Waverly, Ky. (four bass, 8-2, $706); Terry Marucco of Decatur, Ill. (five bass, 7-8, $494); and Randy Schultz of Crescent City, Ill. (five bass, 7-5, $424).

Tom Oxford of Elizabethtown, Ill., earned $295 as the co-angler Big Bass winner after catching a 4-pound, 15-ounce bass.

The Illini Division’s next event will be Aug. 11 on Lake Shelbyville in Findlay, Ill. The final event of the regular season will be a two-day Super Tournament held Sept. 8-9 on the Ohio River in Golconda, Ill.

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 Mississippi 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

For more information about FLW Outdoors and its tournaments, browse or call (270) 252-1000.