Richard Patterson of Windermere, Fla., weighed a five-bass limit totaling 29 pounds, 6 ounces Saturday to win the Walmart Bass Fishing League Gator Division event on Lake Toho. For his victory, Patterson earned $4,948.

The 66-year-old from Windermere Fla., didn’t start bass fishing until he retired in 2002, but since then he has fished 45 FLW events and earned his first win on Saturday.

“I drew boat 144 of about 150 boats on Saturday and knew I had my work cut out for me,” said Patterson. “I was fishing a community hole on Lake Cypress which is on the other side of the locks. When I got there I saw about 10 other boats in the area, so I decided to join in and started fishing.

“I started catching fish right away. I hit this one spot and I knew it was on. My first catch was a 7-pounder, then I caught an 8-pounder and then a 5-pounder, and before you know it, I had 29 pounds from that one hole. I had 24 pounds and had culled a couple of times before my co-angler even had a bite. I was using a different bait and presenting it differently than anyone else in the area.”

Richard Patterson won the Walmart BFL Gator Division tournament on Lake Toho with 29-pounds, 6-ounces to earn $4,948.

Patterson indicated that he had his limit in less than two hours after takeoff. He was using a Texas-rigged Zoom worm with an 1/8-ounce weight. He said that he kept his bait moving, and that action made all the difference in the world. Patterson was fishing a shallow area — about 3 feet deep — that was loaded with hydrilla. He was fishing in front of an area that is typically known for being a spawning area, although he said didn’t see any on beds.

Rounding out the top 10 pros were:

2nd: George Kapiton, Inverness, Fla., five bass, 25-0, $2,474
3rd: Brandon Medlock, Lake Placid, Fla., five bass, 24-12, $1,649
4th: Patrick Layhew, Bradenton, Fla., five bass, 22-10, $1,155 + $300 Evinrude Bonus
5th: Don Demott, Boca Raton, Fla., five bass, 22-6, $990
6th: Keith Fels, Ocala, Fla., five bass, 22-2, $907
7th: Todd Casidy, Kissimmee, Fla., five bass, 20-5, $825
8th: Kenneth (Yogi) Norris, St. Cloud, Fla., five bass, 19-1, $742
9th: Jeremy Smith, Plant City, Fla., five bass, 18-14, $660
10th: John Wayne, Umatilla, Fla., five bass, 18-8, $577

Joe Edwards Jr., of Orlando, Fla., weighed a five-bass limit totaling 28 pounds, 4 ounces Saturday to win the co-angler division. Edwards Jr. earned $2,474 for his victory.

Rounding out the top 10 co-anglers were:

2nd: Kevin Guynn, Ocala, Fla., five bass, 16-15, $1,237
3rd: Ernie Thompson, Anthony, Fla., five bass, 15-6, $824
4th: Brock Stanaland, Okeechobee, Fla., four bass, 15-2, $577
5th: Nik Kayler, Apopka, Fla., five bass, 15-0, $495
6th: Raymond Riendeau, St. Cloud, Fla., five bass, 14-12, $454
7th: Murvin Berry, Sebring, Fla., five bass, 14-11, $412
8th: Glen Cabezas, Boynton Beach, Fla., five bass, 14-4, $371
9th: James Atkins, Okeechobee, Fla., five bass, 13-15, $330
10th: Roger Bohannon, Okeechobee, Fla., five bass, 13-14, $289

The next BFL Gator Division tournament is scheduled for Sept. 21-22 on Lake Okeechobee in Clewiston, Fla. After the last divisional tournament is complete, the top 40 boaters and 40 co-anglers based on point standings will qualify for the Oct. 3-5 Regional Championship on Lake Guntersville in Guntersville, Ala. Boaters will compete for a top award of a Ranger Z518 with a 200-horsepower Evinrude or Mercury outboard and a Chevy Silverado, while co-anglers will fish for a new Ranger Z518 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 40 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 presented by Chevy. The 2013 BFL All-American is being held June 27–29 on the Nickajack Lake in Chattanooga, Tenn. Top winners in the BFL can move up to the EverStart Series or even the Walmart FLW Tour.

Image courtesy FLW Outdoors

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