Cooper wins Wal-Mart Bass Fishing League tournament on Table Rock Lake

KIMBERLING CITY, Mo. - Mike Cooper of Branson, Mo., outpaced 105 competitors Saturday with five bass weighing 13 pounds, 7 ounces to win $3,848 and 200 points on the boater side of the Wal-Mart Bass Fishing League (BFL) Ozark Division tournament on Table Rock Lake.

Cooper edged out Terry Cole of Springfield, Mo., by 11 ounces in the one-day event that set out from Kimberling Inn Resort. Cole finished with a five-bass catch weighing 12 pounds, 12 ounces to win $1,924. Cooper caught his limit off of steep rocky banks in the James River while using a crawdad-colored crankbait.

Ricky Scott of Van Buren, Ark., took third place and collected $962 with five bass weighing 12 pounds, 10 ounces. Danny Jones of Springdale, Ark., placed fourth and earned $834 with five bass weighing 11 pounds, 14 ounces, while Danny Barnes of Webb City, Mo., placed fifth and earned $770 with five bass weighing 11 pounds, 10 ounces. Barnes also won an additional $500 as the highest finishing participant in the Ranger Cup incentive program.

Robert Walla of Ceresco, Neb., won the boater Big Bass Award and collected $520 with a 3-pound, 14-ounce bass that he caught on a chartreuse and white Terminator spinnerbait.

First place in the Co-Angler Division and $1,924 went to Tom Mason of Cabool, Mo., who topped 105 competitors with five bass weighing 12 pounds, 6 ounces. Second place in the division and $962 went to Larry Graddy of Harrison, Ark., with five bass weighing 12 pounds, 3 ounces, while Scott Bell of Lineville, Iowa, took third place and $481 with four bass weighing 9 pounds, 5 ounces.

Kevin Polcyn of Lenexa, Kan., won the co-angler Big Bass Award of $260 with a 4-pound bass that he caught on a clown-colored rogue while fishing rocks in the James River.

Overall, 206 bass weighing 481 pounds, 7 ounces were caught during the tournament, including 10 five bass limits.

On April 21, the BFL will visit Lake Stockton for the third of five events in the Ozark Division. The boater with the most points after the division's season finale, a two-day Super Tournament Sept. 22-23 on Bull Shoals Lake, 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 receive $500.

The top 30 boaters and top 30 co-anglers in the Ozark Division will advance to regional competition Oct. 9-13 on Weiss Lake near Cedar Bluff, Ala., where they will go up against top competitors from the Carolina, Choo Choo and Illini 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.

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