FORT MADISON, Iowa – On Saturday, Richie Eaves of Nauvoo, Ill., won the Walmart Bass Fishing League Fort Madison Regional Championship on the Mississippi River with a three-day, 12-bass catch weighing 28 pounds, 2 ounces.
The victory earned Eaves a Ranger 198VX boat with a choice of a 200 horsepower Evinrude or Yamaha motor and a Chevrolet 1500 Silverado. The win also helped him qualify for the 2010 BFL All-American to be held in Davenport, Iowa, May 27-30, 2010, on the Mississippi River where he could ultimately win a top prize of $140,000 and a trip to the 2010 Forrest Wood Cup.
“It was a cold and miserable weekend,” said Eaves. “It was hard staying out there fishing all day and staying confident with conditions the way they were. I fished the areas I knew fish lived and slowed way down. Other anglers fished the same area and said they couldn’t believe how slow I actually fished; but I think that is how I was able to win.
“I was very fortunate to draw great partners each day. None of them complained about sitting in the same spot, and they all really allowed me to fish my game. I think I had about 40 people in the crowd cheering me on, and to have their support was really something special,” added Eaves.
Rounding out the top five boaters are Michael Black of Toledo, Ill. (12 bass, 23-9, $3,000); Brian Tschudy of Mascoutah, Ill. (12 bass, 22-11, $1,500); Daniel Ehmen of Rockford, Ill. (12 bass, 22-11, $1,200); and Steven Johnson of Lake Villa, Ill. (7 bass, 21-14, $1,100).
Ben Due of Mauston, Wis., won a Ranger 198VX boat with a choice of a 200 horsepower Evinrude or Yamaha motor as the co-angler winner Saturday thanks to a total of nine bass weighing 18 pounds, 5 ounces.
Rounding out the top five co-anglers are Brett Rudy of Burlington, Iowa (6 bass, 15-2, $1,500); Rollie Truehl of Deforest, Wis. (8 bass, 14-9, $750); Brett Haake of Joliet, Ill. (7 bass, 14-3, $600); and Aaron Arning of Walnut Hill, Ill. (5 bass, 12-3, $550).
The top 40 boaters and 40 co-anglers in BFL’s LBL, Great Lakes, Illini, and Michigan divisions advanced to this no-entry-fee Fort Madison Regional Championship. All seven of the BFL 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 Forrest Wood Cup in Atlanta in 2010. This event 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. 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.
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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.