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Zack Birge of Blanchard, Okla., sacked 29 pounds, 1 ounce on Grand Lake to win the first Okie Division event of the season. Birge was awarded a check worth $7,000 for his efforts. (FLW)

Fielder wins co-angler title
GROVE, Okla. (March 16, 2015) – Zack Birge of Blanchard, Oklahoma, weighed a five-bass limit totaling 29 pounds, 1 ounce Saturday to win the first Walmart Bass Fishing League Okie Division tournament of 2015 on Grand Lake. For his victory, Birge earned $7,000.
“It feels good to grab a win between Tour events,” said Birge, who is fishing his rookie season at the sport’s top level – the Walmart FLW Tour. “I like these one-day Saturday BFL tournaments. They’re a lot of fun and there is some very good local competition.”
Birge built a winning stringer by returning to a practice spot he had explored earlier in the week. He found warmer water in a pocket and figured the big females he caught in practice would be moving in there. He was right.
“I caught every one of my fish in that spot,” said Birge. “I stayed in there all day and netted 20 to 25 fish in two or three feet of water.”
Birge’s key bait was a Chrome Sexy Shad-colored Rat-L-Trap crankbait. It was the only bait he used for the duration of the tournament.
“Everyone else was throwing umbrella rigs and jerkbaits,” said Birge. “I threw the Rat-L-Trap because nobody else was, so I figured the fish hadn’t seen it. It worked out well.”
The top 10 boaters finished the tournament in:
1st:          Zack Birge, Blanchard, Okla., five bass, 29-1, $6,000 + $1,000 Mercury Bonus
2nd:         Cade Alsbury, Cave Springs, Ark., five bass, 23-6, $3,000
3rd:          Jeff Dobson, Ponca City, Okla., five bass, 21-9, $2,000
4th:          Earl Clinton, Stilwell, Okla., five bass, 20-4, $1,400
5th:          Jeremy Lawyer, Sarcoxie, Mo., five bass, 20-2, $1,200
6th:          Shawn Kowal, Linn Creek, Mo., five bass, 18-1, $1,100
7th:          Ed Barton, Vian, Okla., five bass, 17-13, $1,000
8th:          B.J. Miller, Adams, Neb., five bass, 17-8, $900
9th:          John Shore, Owasso, Okla., five bass, 16-1, $800
10th:        Rick Kelley, Ada, Okla., five bass, 15-6, $700
Complete results can be found at
Clinton caught the biggest bass of the tournament in the pro division and earned the day’s Big Bass award of $1,000.
Fred Fielder of Vian, Oklahoma, weighed in a five-bass limit totaling 17 pounds, 8 ounces Saturday to win $3,000 in the co-angler division.
The top 10 co-anglers were:
1st:          Fred Fielder, Vian, Okla., five bass, 17-8, $3,000
2nd:         William Hudson, Norman, Okla., five bass, 16-8, $1,500
3rd:          Jamie Eynard, Holts Summit, Mo., five bass, 15-5, $1,000
4th:          Brian Garner, Tulsa, Okla.,  five bass, 15-4, $700
5th:          Michael Fontenot, Fort Gibson, Okla., four bass, 14-13, $600
6th:          Bob Keeth, Dixon, Mo., five bass, 13-9, $550
7th:          Don Gable, Stillwater, Okla., four bass, 10-9, $500
8th:          Dalton Ross, Rogers, Ark., three bass, 10-0, $450
9th:          Brian Gibler, Baldwin City, Kan., three bass, 9-15, $400
10th:        David Hamilton, Rogers, Ark., three bass, 9-12, $350
Fontenot caught the biggest bass of the tournament in the co-angler division and earned the day’s Big Bass award of $500.
The top 50 boaters and 50 co-anglers based on point standings will qualify for the Oct. 22-24 Regional Championship on Lake of the Ozarks in Osage Beach, Missouri. Boaters will compete for a top award of a Ranger Z518C with a 200-horsepower Evinrude or Mercury outboard and $20,000, while co-anglers will fish for a new Ranger Z518C with a 200-horsepower Evinrude or Mercury outboard.
The BFL is a 24-division circuit devoted to weekend anglers, with 120 tournaments throughout the season, five in each division. The top 50 boaters and co-anglers from each division qualify for a regional tournament and compete to finish in the top six, which then qualifies them for one of the longest-running championships in all of competitive bass fishing – the Walmart BFL All-American. Top winners in the BFL can move up to the Rayovac FLW Series or even the Walmart FLW Tour.


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