DAVENPORT, Iowa – Adam Wagner of Cookeville, Tenn., increased his lead in the $1 million Walmart Bass Fishing League All-American presented by Chevy on the Mississippi River with a five-bass limit weighing 9 pounds, 10 ounces in the Boater Division. He holds a lead of 5 pounds, 13 ounces over Steve Wagner of New Kent, Va., who is currently in second place with a total of nine bass weighing 19-6.
They are vying for the all important win, where they could earn as much as $140,000 and qualify for the $2 million Forrest Wood Cup presented by Castrol and BP, which will be held July 30-Aug. 2 on the Three Rivers in Pittsburgh, Pa., where they could win as much as $1 million – the sport’s biggest award.
“Where I was fishing today, you have to fish fast and hard,” said Adam Wagner. “I am going with the same game plan tomorrow.”
“I caught 14 fish today the same as yesterday, flipping wood with a 3/8-ounce beaver. I locked through to (Pool) 13 and it got a lot tougher and I tried swimming my jig and it didn’t work for me. So I put on a senko and just slowed down a little bit and caught three keepers on that senko.”
Wagner said he will employ the same tactic he has used the first two days on the final day Saturday. “I’m going to do the exact same thing. I’m going to have to. It is all I got. I have to catch them and work hard tomorrow. I am going to just have to go fishing and see what happens.”
Rounding out the top 10 boaters were Russ Moran of Manchester, Tenn. (eight bass, 17-9); Mike Devere of Berea, Ky. (eight bass, 15-14); Gary Edwards of Milton, Ky. (seven bass, 15-11); Chris Baldwin of Lexington, N.C. (eight bass, 15-7); Edward Gettys of Scottsboro, Ala. (six bass, 15-2); David Lowery of Milledgeville, Ga. (seven bass, 15-2); Jeff Holder of Bossier City, La. (five bass, 14-14); and Larry Neal of Piney Flats, Tenn. (seven bass, 14-12).
Wesley Harris of Rustburg, Va., caught a 4 pounds, 7 ounce bass to take home $500 for the Folgers Big Bass on the boater side Friday. Overall there were 111 bass weighing 225 pounds, 11 ounces caught in the Boater Division Friday. The catch included five five-bass limits caught by 46 anglers.
Dickson Adams of Woodstock, Ga., held on to his lead in the Co-angler Division weighing in one bass at 1 pound, 15 ounces, giving him a two-day total of six bass weighing 13 pounds, 13 ounces. He holds a lead of 1 pound, 12 ounces over David Deciucis of Richmond, Va., in second place with a two-day total of seven bass weighing 12-1.
“I tried the same pattern today and could not catch a fish,” said Adams. “I caught that fish on my last cast of the day, on a jig in about 10 foot of water.”
Adams is optimistic about the final day, but said a lot will depend on his boater and said he would like to fish Pool 14 following his success there on Day One. “I am going to just go out and play it by ear. If I go to Pool 13, I think it might be more difficult for the co-angler, but I might be able to stick it out. I will wait and see, and hopefully end up in Pool 14.”
Rounding out the top 10 co-anglers are Elzie Dorman of Charlottesville, Va. (six bass, 11-10); Tommy Milligan of Seneca, S.C. (five bass, 11-7); Danny Robinson of Fairland, Ind. (four bass, 9-12); Jade Keeton of Florence, Ala. (five bass, 9-11); John Hyatt of Leicester, N.C. (five bass, 9-9); Ron Jackups of Fairfield, Ohio (four bass, 8-10); Terry Olmstead of Lock Haven, Pa. (four bass, 7-14) and Andy Houston of Baldwyn, Miss. (three bass, 7-7).
For the first time in the 25-year history of the BFL All-American, a woman qualified. Belinda Lewis of Lawrenceburg, Tenn., qualified through the Bama Division, finished in 43rd place with one fish weighing 1-13 and earning $1,500.
“It was a great experience fishing with all the other anglers,” said Lewis. “Everybody got along and it felt like family out there fishing. I am definitely going to try and get back here again.”
Following Lewis’ weigh-in on Saturday, her boyfriend, Scott Towry, went on stage and asked her to marry him, capping off a great weekend for Lewis and her family. “That moment topped it all,” said Lewis.
Woody Parks of Lincolnton, Ga., caught the Folgers Big Bass on Friday in the co-angler division with a 3 pound, 14 ounce bass earning $500. Overall there were 60 bass weighing 126 pounds caught in the Co-angler Division Friday. The catch included one five-bass limit by 33 anglers.
Coverage of the BFL All-American tournament, hosted by the Quad Cities Convention & Visitors Bureau, will be broadcast in high-definition (HD) on VERSUS, the network which brings anglers the best fishing programming on television featuring the most-trusted authorities on the water. The Emmy-nominated “FLW Outdoors,” will air Aug 23 from 12:30 p.m. to 1:30 p.m. ET. “FLW Outdoors,” hosted by Jason Harper, is broadcast to approximately 500 million households worldwide, including internationally through agreements with WFN (World Fishing Network) and Matchroom Sport to such countries as Canada, Germany, China, South Africa, Australia, Malaysia, Russia, Hungary and the United Kingdom, making it the most widely distributed weekly outdoor-sports television show in the world.
The 108 anglers from 27 states will take off at 7:00 a.m. Saturday from Sunset Park Marina in Rock Island, Ill. The final weigh-in will be held at the RiverCenter located at 136 E. 3rd St. in Davenport beginning at 4 p.m.
In conjunction with the weigh-in Saturday, FLW Outdoors will host a free Family Fun Zone and Outdoor Show at the RiverCenter beginning at Noon. The Family Fun Zone offers fans a chance to review the latest products from Berkley, Lowrance, Ranger, Evinrude, Yamaha and other sponsors while children are treated to giveaways, fishing themed games and rides like the Ranger Boat simulator. Children 14 and under visiting the Family Fun Zone on Saturday will receive a free rod and reel combo while supplies last. One lucky person will even win a new entertainment package. For complete rules and more information, visit flwoutdoors.com/allamerican.
Because BFL competitors are weekend anglers, the All-American and its lucrative cash awards and international media exposure present a unique opportunity for qualifiers who will be fishing for top awards of $140,000 in the Boater Division and $70,000 in the Co-angler Division. Additionally, the winning boater and winning co-angler will advance to the $2 million Forrest Wood Cup presented by Castrol and BP, which will be held July 30-Aug. 2 on the Three Rivers in Pittsburgh, Pa., where they could win as much as $1 million – the sport’s biggest award.
Each year more than 34,000 BFL anglers and 20,000 TBF anglers nationwide compete in the hope of becoming one of just 54 boaters and 54 co-anglers who qualify for the All-American and fish for a share of $1 million.
As the nation’s leading weekend tournament circuit, the $6.7 million Walmart Bass Fishing League and its 28 divisions nationwide are widely credited with opening competitive bass fishing to the masses. The BFL also serves as a steppingstone for anglers who wish to advance to the Stren Series, Walmart FLW Series and ultimately the FLW Tour.
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.