Lakecaster Online

Plunk wins Boater Division, Strickland takes 1st in Co-Angler at Wal-Mart BFL Cowboy Division
By Patty Lenderman

Twin Dikes Marina, Lake Sam Rayburn

The Spring season brings with it fast changing weather. Thunderstorms, fog, wind - lots of wind. The Wal-Mart BFL anglers, a full field of 200 per division, battled through the rain and pea soup fog on Friday during pre-fishing and then started their competition day with rain and heavy winds. For many, it was impossible to get to their original targeted areas and had to roll the dice hoping that the fish would be where they could get to to fish. At the weigh in, the anglers were exhausted after fighting the winds and the 4-6' swells Rayburn dished out to them and they worked hard for their catches.

This marked the first 2003 event for the Cowboy Division of BFL and the anglers in each division were looking for their share in the 30 places for this $32,850 payday as well as gaining points toward eligibility to advance to the EverStart series.

In the Boater Division Larry Plunk of Beaumont, TX took home a check for $5,000 for his first place stringer weighing 16 lb10 oz. He was one of the very few who went for a wacky worm on this windy day. Fishing a watermelon color in 12' depths in protected grassy coves, most of his catch came after noon. At 2:45 he made his last catch and reeled in his 7-13 lb kicker.

2nd place boater - $2,500 - 13 lb1oz - Dicky Newberry of Houston, TX was quite surprised at his second place finish because of his weight. He knows the kind of stringers Rayburn can produce. As the highest finishing Ranger Cup participant he received an additional $500 from Ranger Boats. He caught his first two fish early on rattle traps, and when that pattern slowed he went to another area to fish Lake Fork Tackle black neon tube baits in the buck brush. It was a tough day for him, not getting very many bites. His sponsors include: Castaway Rods, Dawson Marine and Lake Fork Tackle

3rd place boater - $1,700 - 12 lb12 oz - Kevin Lasyone of Dry Pong, LA pitched a 3/8 oz black/brown/amber (moccasin) jig in the bushes at 4-5' depths. His day started out right, catching his 7 lb 8 oz kicker first. "I had a blast today" Kevin said even though they bounced and speared waves all day. He stated that as far as sponsors, his wife Becky is his best one.

Big Bass (boater) - $1,000 - 10 lb 12 oz - Bob Propst of Cedar Hill, TX only weighed in one fish, but what a fish! He caught this monster on a 3/4 oz chrome/blue rattle trap in a 5' deep grassy drain at mid day. Bob is sponsored by Ranger Boats, All Star rods, Berkley, Abu Garcia and wants to say "thank you" to his co-angler Jim Fortenberry for being a great net man.

In the Co-Angler division it was Craig Strickland of Lumberton, TX who took 1st place with 17 lbs 8 oz, with only four fish earning a check for $2,500. He also won big bass honors with his 8 lb 13 oz kicker for an additional $500. He said his partner, Johnny Fountain advised him that they would be on rattle trap fish. This was not Craig's original fishing plan, but as the boater Johnny got to call the shots. Using a gold rattle trap in 6-8' grassy flats, Craig came out on top and was very appreciative to his pro partner for his rattle trap plan.

2nd place co-angler - $1,250 - 13 lb 13 oz - Steve Strong of Humble, TX also only had four fish in his sack. He used a Carolina rigged a watermelon centipede for his catch. Fishing the inside grass lines in 6-8' depths off of main lake points, his best bites came late in the day. He only had three fish in the boat at 2:30, then he caught his best and last fish of the day weighing 8 lbs even. Due to mechanical problems, they fished in one spot all day. "I had a great partner - Dalton Robins".

3rd place co-angler - $850 - 11 lb 15 oz - Michael Harman of Bastrop, TX used a Carolina rigged watermelon Baby Brush Hog in 10-12' hydrilla off of main lake points. All of his fish came before 12:00 and he was able to cull more than a limit to his final weight. Michael would also like to thank his Pro partner Charlie McGee.

1st - $5,000 - 16 lb 10 oz Larry Plunk Beaumont, TX
2nd - $2,500 - 13 lb 1 oz Dicky Newberry Houston, TX
3rd - $1,700 - 12 lb 12 oz Kevin Lasyone Dry Prong, LA
4th - $1,300 - 12 lb 10 oz Ron Festavan Shreveport, LA
5th - $1,100 - 12 lb 6 oz Marty Sugg Pattonville, TX
Big Bass - $1,000 - 10 lb 12 oz Bob Propst Cedar Hill, TX

1st - $2,500 - 17 lb 8 oz Craig Strickland Lumberton, TX
2nd -$1,250 - 13 lb 13 oz Steve Strong Humble, TX
3rd - $ 850 - 11 lb 15 oz Michael Harman Bastrop, TX
4th - $ 650 - 10 lb 15 oz Steve Wilson Nacogdoches, TX
5th - $ 550 - 9 lb 9 oz Tim Farris Nederland, TX
Big Bass - $500 - 8 lb 13 oz Craig Strickland Lumberton, TX

Whether you're an avid angler or just getting started in the sport of competitive fishing, there's a place for you in the Wal-Mart Bass Fishing League (BFL). The league's boater / co-angler format accommodates the skill levels of all anglers, pitting boaters against boaters and co-anglers against co-anglers. With 120 qualifying vents divided into 24 divisions, the Wal-Mart BFL is the nation's largest tournament circuit. In addition to qualifying events, the 2003 Wal-Mart BFL includes seven postseason regional competitions and one major championship - the Wal-Mart BFL All-American. The next event for the Cowboy division is scheduled for March 29, 2003 at Cypress Bend Park, Toledo Bend. For more information please call 270-252-1000 or visit their website at

Sponsors include: Walmart - EverStart Batteries - Garmin - Faded Glory - Land O Lakes - Lawry's Seasoning - Shop Vac - Fuji Film - Banana Boat - Chevy Trucks - Snickers - Ranger Boats - Rubbermaid - US Bank - Yamaha - 7 UP - Kellogg's - Energizer - Evinrude - Castrol - Stanley - Weed Eater - Minn Kota - BF Goodrich - Frito Lat
Associate Sponsors: Abu Garcia/Berkley - Champion Boats - Dean Foods - Eagle Claw - Hellmann's - Hover-Lure - Lipton Side Dishes - Maxwell House - Palmer & Cay - Plano - Skippy Peanut Butter - Solar Bat - Stratos Boats

Larry Plunk won 1st place in the boater division at his first BFL tournament with 16 lb 10 oz

Dickie Newberry takes 2nd place boater division and earns an extra $500 from Ranger boats for his 13 lb 1 oz catch
< photos by Patty Lenderman >

Bob Propst weighed in this 10 lb 12 oz monster earning a check for $1,000 and Big Bass boater division

Craig Strickland took home 1st place co-angler honors with 17 lb 8 oz and Big Bass honors with his kicker weighing 8 lb 13 oz

2nd/Co-Angler -Steve Strong had a great sack with only four bass weighing 13 lb 13 oz for his 2nd place finish

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