Coates Wins WAL-MART Bass Fishing League Event On Sandusky Bay

Category: Tournament

 Jul 21st, 2008 by OutdoorsFIRST 

Modified Jul 21st, 2008 at 12:00 AM

Boater Bryan Coates of Amherst, Ohio., won the Wal-Mart Bass Fishing League® Michigan Division tournament on Sandusky Bay Saturday with a five-bass catch weighing 22 pounds, 14 ounces. The victory earned Coates $2,946 plus a $519 Ranger bonus and placed him one step closer to qualifying for the Cherokee Lake Regional Championship in Morristown, Tenn., Oct. 16-18, where he could ultimately win a new 198VX Ranger boat and a Chevy truck.

"This is my fourth BFL win," said Coates, who has won more than $120,000 in FLW Outdoors events. "FLW Outdoors has been so good to me, especially with the Ranger Cup program. It's a great feeling and worth every ounce of effort."

Coates said his day started off slow with no bites after almost two hours of competition. Coates said he relocated and caught three fish quickly on a 4-inch green pumpkin Berkley Gulp! Sinking Minnow. Coates said he later filled his limit despite losing a few quality fish.

"When you're fishing a tournament, you don't really realize that you've got the winning bag," Coates said. "At the time, you're always worried."

Rounding out the top five boaters are Todd Schmitz of Goshen, Ind. (five bass, 20-03, $1,733); Mike Crisp of Union Grove, Wisc. (five bass, 19-14, $1,155); Brent Dunmyer of Weston, Ohio (five bass, 19-10, $809) and Stephen Roth of Syracuse, Ind. (five bass, 18-02, $693).

Mark Frickman of Grand Ledge, Mich., and Roth split the Boater Division Snickers Big Bass award, each earning $217.50 for a pair of 5-pound bass they caught.

James Buhrke of Chicago, Ill., earned $1,733 as the co-angler winner Saturday thanks to five bass weighing 22 pounds, 1 ounce that he caught on a drop-shot rig.

Rounding out the top five co-anglers are Eric Penn of East Tawas, Mich. (five bass, 18-12, $866); Peter Sagartz of Roselle, Ill. (five bass, 17-06, $577); William Schwartz of Avon Lake, Ohio (five bass, 17-05, $404) and Joseph Nega of Chicago, Ill. (five bass, 17-01, $347).

Duane Mayhew of Warsaw, Ind., earned $217 as the co-angler Big Bass winner after catching a 5-pound bass on a black leech.
Michigan Division anglers will visit Lake St. Clair in Harrison Township, Mich., Aug. 9, followed by an event on the Detroit River in Trenton, Mich., Aug. 30. A two-day Super Tournament, the division's fifth and final event, will be held on the Detroit River in Trenton, Mich., Sept. 27-28.

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 Cherokee 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 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 Forrest Wood Cup. This event, featuring a top award of $1 million, is the sport's biggest championship.

Tournament anglers aren't the only ones winning big this season. With the introduction of FLW Fantasy Fishing™, FLW Outdoors® offers anyone the opportunity to enter for their chance to land the catch of a lifetime with the opportunity to win $7.3 million in cash and prizes. Players can become a virtual pro angler by signing up for Player's Advantage, providing them with exclusive insider information that could guide them to a $100,000 victory at every Wal-Mart FLW Tour® stop and the Forrest Wood Cup. Player's Advantage will give them an edge over the competition and increase their shot for a $1 million cash grand prize that will be awarded to the FLW Fantasy Fishing cumulative points winner. Those who visit FantasyFishing.com today can sign up for Player's Advantage and FLW Outdoors will include a $15 Wal-Mart gift card.

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.

FLW Outdoors, named after Forrest L. Wood, the legendary founder of Ranger Boats, is the largest fishing tournament organization in the world. In 2008 alone the organization is offering more than 90,000 anglers the chance to win over $40 million through 230 tournaments in 10 circuits targeting bass, walleye, redfish, kingfish and striped bass. FLW Outdoors is also taking fishing mainstream with the largest cash awards in the history of fantasy sports, $7.3 million.

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.

Total awards are based on a full field of 200 boats in every tournament.

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