UPCOMING EVENT: FLW SERIES - 2020 - Toledo Bend Lake

Niemi wins Walmart BFL event on Kissimmee River

Niemi wins Walmart BFL event on Kissimmee River
Boater Gary Niemi of Lake Placid, Fla., won the Oct. 3-4 BFL Gator Division tournament on the Kissimmee River to earn $4,732.

LAKE WALES, Fla. - Gary Niemi of Lake Placid, Fla., won the Walmart Bass Fishing League Gator Division tournament on the Kissimmee River Sunday with a two-day 10-bass catch weighing 33 pounds, 14 ounces. The victory earned Niemi $4,732.

Anglers were competing to qualify for the Clarks Hill Lake Regional Championship in Appling, Ga., Oct. 15-17, where they could ultimately win a new Ranger boat and Chevy truck.

"My biggest challenge for this tournament was how to manage the fish," said Niemi. "I had so many spots to fish that I needed to decide if I should run the lake or stay put. I stayed close and fished three of my 12 holes. I saw a lot of guys out there running the lake, but after seeing the weights from day one come in low, I decided to bear down and fish; I think that was the difference in the tournament for me. I only used a half-tank of gas all weekend!"

Niemi was mostly fishing in pads that were about 4 1/2 feet deep. Using a 7-inch June-bug worm, Niemi was able to catch his largest fish including a 6- and 4-pounder. Ironically, he said that the hole he normally caught his "limit fish" in yielded his "big fish," and the hole he normally caught his "big fish" in yielded his "little fish."

Rounding out the top five boaters are Al Ridgeway of Lake Wales, Fla. (10 bass, 33-3, $2,366); Jim Folks of Melbourne, Fla. (10 bass, 31-11, $1,577); Tommy Hatfield of Kissimmee, Fla. (10 bass, 30-10, $1,104); and Rodney Glunt of Orlando, Fla. (10 bass, 30-5, $946).

Tommy Hatfield took home the Boater Division Folgers Big Bass award, earning $555 for a 6-pound, 5-ounce bass he caught using a Gambler Sweebo Worm in June-bug color.

Joe Edwards Jr. of Kissimmee, Fla., earned $2,366 as the co-angler winner Sunday thanks to nine bass Joe Edwards Jr. of Kissimmee, Fla., earned $2,366 as the co-angler winner of the Oct. 3-4 BFL Gator Division event.weighing 30 pounds, 4 ounces that he caught using Sweet Beavers.

Rounding out the top five co-anglers are Derek Savage of Port St. Lucie, Fla. (10 bass, 29-15, $1,833); Raymond Trudeau of St. Cloud, Fla. (10 bass, 28, $790); George Myers of Green Cove Springs, Fla. (10 bass, 22-4, $552); and Bo Boyles of Deltona, Fla. (10 bass, 21-1, $473).

Clint Sterling of Winter Garden, Fla., earned $277 as the co-angler Folgers Big Bass winner after catching an 8-pound, 13-ounce bass.

The top 40 boaters and 40 co-anglers in each of the BFL's 28 divisions at the end of the season advance to a no-entry-fee Regional Championship where boaters fish for a new Ranger boat and a Chevy truck and co-anglers fish for a new Ranger boat. Seven 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, featuring a top award of $1 million, 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 with total cash awards exceeding $3.5 million. 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.

FLW Outdoors, named after Forrest L. Wood, the legendary founder of Ranger Boats, is the largest fishing tournament organization in the world. FLW Outdoors has also taken fishing mainstream with FLW Fantasy Fishing, offering the largest awards possible in the history of fantasy sports. Sign up for Player's Advantage 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.

Tags: press-release  2009-10-03-kissimmee-river 

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