Kersey Wins Wal-Mart Bass Fishing League Opener on Lake Okeechobee
Okeechobee, Fla., (Feb. 5, 2001) - Todd Kersey of Ft. Lauderdale, Fla.,
out-paced 180 competitors Saturday with five bass weighing 20 pounds, 13
ounces to win $5,587 and 200 points on the boater side of the Wal-Mart Bass
Fishing League (BFL) Gator Division opener on Lake Okeechobee.
Kersey edged out Chuck Crow of Winter Garden, Fla., by 8 ounces in the
one-day event hosted by the city of Okeechobee. Crow finished with a
five-bass catch weighing 20 pounds, 5 ounces to win $2,784.
Bill Weston of Plantation, Fla., took third place and collected $1,392 with
five bass weighing 18 pounds, 8 ounces. Mike Childers of Winter Haven, Fla.,
placed fourth and earned $1,206 with five bass weighing 18 pounds, 3 ounces,
while Mark Rogers of Naples, Fla., placed fifth and earned $1,114 with five
bass weighing 17 pounds, 12 ounces.
Gary Simpson of Gainesville, Fla., won the boater Big Bass Award and
collected $1,000 with a 7-pound, 9-ounce largemouth.
First place in the Co-Angler Division and $2,784 went to Jeff DeFranco of
Penfield, N.Y., who topped 180 competitors with five bass weighing 15-12.
DeFranco, who normally competes in the BFL's Northeast Division as a boater,
was vacationing on Lake Okeechobee for the weekend and decided to enter the
tournament as a co-angler.
Second place in the Co-Angler Division and $1,397 went to Van Jackson of
Youngsville, N.C., with five bass weighing 14-15, while Gary Rucks of
Okeechobee, Fla., took third place and $696 with five bass weighing 14-10.
Austin Chapman, Bass N Edge.com CIO,
managed a Co-Angler 9th place
finish on his first BFL tournament.
Don Peavy of Ocala, Fla., and Gregory Gooden of Miami, Fla., tied for the
co-angler Big Bass Award. Each man received $225 thanks to a 7-pound,
Boater Don Elerby of Arcadia, Fla., won $500 for his participation in the
Ranger cup incentive program. Elerby's catch weighed 11 pounds, 10 ounces
On Feb. 24 the BFL will visit Lake Toho near Kissimmee, Fla., for the second
of five events in the Gator Division. The boater with the most points after
the division's season finale, a two-day Super Tournament Oct. 6-7 on Lake
Okeechobee, will be declared the Divisional Points Champion and awarded
$1,000. The co-angler amassing the most points by the end of the season will
The top 30 boaters and top 30 co-anglers in the Gator Division will advance
to regional competition Oct. 23-27 on Wateree Lake near Camden, S.C., where
they will go up against top competitors from the Bulldog, Mountain and Bama
divisions for a shot at qualifying for the $250,000 All-American.
Awards for the 2001 BFL season could reach $5.7 million based on full fields
at each tournament.
Sponsors of the 2001 Wal-Mart BFL are ALPO Pet Foods, BC Powder, BFGoodrich
Tires, Black & Decker, Chevy Trucks, CITGO, Coleman, Energizer, EverStart
Batteries, Frito-Lay, FujiFilm, Garmin, Kellogg's, Land O'Lakes, Mercury
Marine, Minn Kota, Pepsi, Poulan, Pure Fishing, Ranger Boats, Snickers
Cruncher Bar, Stren, Shop-Vac, Timex, US Bank, Visa, Weed Eater, Wrangler
and Yamaha Outboards. ACDelco is an associate sponsor of the Wal-Mart BFL.
For complete results, visit www.operationbass.com.