FLORENCE, Ala. – Brian Tatum of Muscle Shoals, Ala., won the Walmart Bass Fishing League Bama Division tournament on Pickwick Lake Saturday with a five-bass catch weighing 24 pounds, 15 ounces. The victory earned Tatum $3,963 and placed him one step closer to qualifying for the Lake Seminole Regional Championship in Bainbridge, Ga., Oct. 22-24, where he could ultimately win a new Ranger boat and a Chevy truck.
“It’s one of the best feelings I’ve ever had,” said Tatum. “This is the first BFL I’ve ever entered, so to win this one is just incredible.”
Tatum said he caught his fish on a 1/2-ounce double willow blade BOOYAH spinnerbait while targeting prespawn smallmouth staging on rock piles on the upper end of the lake.
“Pickwick Lake is my home lake, so I knew how I needed to fish,” Tatum said. “I still can’t believe I did as well as I did.”
Rounding out the top five boaters are Nicholas Reeves of Moulton, Ala. (five bass, 22-2, $1,981); Jason Lambert of Pickwick Dam, Tenn. (five bass, 22-1, $1,322); Mike Lemmond of Waterloo, Ala. (five bass, 21-2, $925) and Randy Haynes of Counce, Tenn. (five bass, 20-2, $793).
Ty Hester of Russellville, Ala., took home the Boater Division Big Bass award, earning $535 for a 7-pound, 9-ounce bass.
Randy Duncan of Killen, Ala., earned $1,981 as the co-angler winner Saturday thanks to five bass weighing 21 pounds, 15 ounces.
Rounding out the top five co-anglers are Josh Fordham of Glencoe, Ala. (five bass, 16-13, $991); Ryan Salzman of Florence, Ala. (five bass, 16-6, $662); Zach Elliott of Trussville, Ala. (five bass, 15-5, $462); and Eric Knight of Moulton, Ala. (five bass, 14-14, $396).
Duncan earned $267 as the co-angler Big Bass winner after catching a 7-pound, 4-ounce bass.
The next Bama Division event will be held on Lake Guntersville in Scottsboro, Ala., March 21.
The top 40 boaters and 40 co-anglers in each of the BFL’s 28 divisions at the end of the season advance to a no-entry-fee Regional Championship where boaters fish for a new Ranger boat and a Chevy truck and co-anglers fish for a new Ranger boat. Seven regional championships will each send six boaters and six co-anglers to the no-entry-fee Walmart BFL All-American presented by Chevy, which features a $1 million purse and a top award of $140,000 in the Boater Division and $70,000 in the Co-angler Division. Anglers who compete in all five regular-season events within a division but do not advance to a Regional Championship are eligible to compete in the Chevy Wild Card, which will also send six boaters and six co-anglers to the All-American for a total of 48 boaters and 48 co-anglers advancing through BFL competition.
The winning boater and winning co-angler at the All-American will advance to the no-entry-fee 2010 Forrest Wood Cup in Atlanta in 2010. This event, featuring a top award of $1 million, is the most lucrative tournament in all of competitive bass fishing. In all, the BFL offers weekend anglers the opportunity to qualify for three no-entry-fee championships with total cash awards exceeding $3.5 million. Plus, the top 40 boaters and 40 co-anglers from each BFL division may move up to the Stren Series™ for 2010 while All-American champions have the option to advance directly to the Walmart FLW Tour®.
In BFL competition, boaters supply the boat and compete from the front deck against other boaters. Co-anglers compete from the back deck against other co-anglers.
As the nation’s leading provider of affordable, close-to-home weekend tournaments, the BFL is widely credited with opening competitive bass fishing to the masses. It also serves as a steppingstone for anglers who wish to advance to the Stren Series and ultimately the FLW Tour – bass fishing’s most lucrative tournament circuit.
Total awards are based on a full field of 200 boats in every tournament.
FLW Outdoors, named after Forrest L. Wood, the legendary founder of Ranger Boats, is the largest fishing tournament organization in the world. FLW Outdoors also is taking fishing mainstream with FLW Fantasy Fishing, offering the largest awards possible in the history of fantasy sports, $10 million in cash and prizes. Sign up for Player’s Advantage for only $10 to get your edge and win.
For more information about FLW Outdoors and its tournaments, visit FLWOutdoors.com or call (270) 252-1000. For more information about FLW Fantasy Fishing and Player’s Advantage, visit FantasyFishing.com.