SANDUSKY, Ohio – Boater Bryan Coates of Amherst, Ohio, won the Wal-Mart Bass Fishing League Buckeye Division tournament on Sandusky Bay Saturday with a five-bass catch weighing 21 pounds, 6 ounces. The victory earned Coates $2,912 plus a $513 Ranger contingency bonus and placed him one step closer to qualifying for the Kentucky Lake Regional Championship in Gilbertsville, Ky., Oct. 18-20, where he could ultimately win a new 519VX Ranger boat and a Chevy truck.
Coates caught his bass using a Berkley Gulp Minnow on a drop-shot rig to catch his limit.
Rounding out the top five boaters are Chris King of South Amherst, Ohio (four bass, 19-5, $1,713); Don Roberts of Bellville, Ohio (five bass, 19-3, $1,141); Jared Rhode of Port Clinton, Ohio (five bass, 19-1, $799); and Sean Wieda of Erlanger, Ky. (four bass, 16-15, $685).
King took home the Boater Division Snickers Big Bass award, earning $430 for a 5-pound, 6-ounce bass.
Scott Clark of Thornville, Ohio, earned $1,713 as the co-angler winner Saturday thanks to five bass weighing 13 pounds, 11 ounces that he caught while fishing a jig off riprap.
Rounding out the top five co-anglers are Joel Staudter of Russells Point, Ohio (five bass, 12-5, $856); Andrew Helton of Lucasville, Ohio (three bass, 11-12, $571); Shirley Richardson of Harrison, Ohio (five bass, 11-11, $400); and Mark Saunders of Wellington, Ohio (five bass, 11-9, $343).
Helton earned $215 as the co-angler Big Bass winner after catching a 5-pound, 13-ounce bass.
The final event of the regular season will be a two-day Super Tournament held Sept. 22-23 on Sandusky Bay in Sandusky.
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 Kentucky 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.