LA CROSSE, Wis. (May 22, 2006) – Boater Jason Skutt of Roberts, Wis., earned $5,057 Saturday as winner of the Wal-Mart Bass Fishing League Great Lakes Division event on the Mississippi River. The tournament was the first of five regular-season Great Lakes Division and earned Skutt 200 points in the Boater Division.

Skutt’s winning catch of five bass weighed 16 pounds, 15 ounces. He was slow rolling a spinnerbait over milfoil to catch his bass.

Rounding out the top five boaters are Clayton Reitz of Morton, Ill. (five bass, 16 pounds, 4 ounces, $2,528); Chase Gillette of Rock Falls, Ill. (five bass, 16 pounds, 2 ounces, $1,685); Heath Ahnen of Westby, Wis. (five bass, 16 pounds, $1,180) and Larry Pennekamp of Black River Falls, Wis. (five bass, 15 pounds, 15 ounces, $1,011).

Pennekamp also took home an additional $500 for being the highest placing Ranger Cup participant.

Michael Luther of Wisconsin Dells, Wis., took Boater Division big-bass award honors, earning $780 for a 4-pound, 15-ounce bass. He caught his big bass on a swimming jig.

Michael O’tool Jr. of Ft. Madison, Iowa, bested Co-angler Division competitors to earn $2,528 thanks to five bass weighing 15 pounds that he caught on a Sweet Beaver.

Rounding out the top five co-anglers are Kevin Whitaker of West Chicago, Ill. (five bass, 13 pounds, 14 ounces, $1,264); Chris Pennybacker of Racine, Wis. (five bass, 13 pounds, 4 ounces, $845); Ronald Syverson of La Crosse, Wis. (five bass, 12 pounds, 9 ounces, $590); and Kyle Vonruden of La Crosse, Wis. (five bass, 12 pounds, 7 ounces, $506).

Whitaker earned an additional $390 as the co-angler big-bass award winner with a 4-pound, 6-ounce bass he caught on a spinnerbait.

The Great Lakes Division’s next event will be held June 17 on the Wolf River Chain near Winneconne, Wis., followed by an event on the Mississippi River near Prairie Du Chien, Wis., July 15. The division’s fourth event will be held on the Mississippi River near Clinton, Iowa. The Great Lakes Division will then wrap up its regular season Sept. 16-17 with a two-day Super Tournament on the Mississippi River near La Crosse.

Following the regular season, the Great Lakes Division boater with the most points who advances farthest in the Wal-Mart BFL All-American will earn $10,000 as the Yamaha “Be the Best” points champion. The co-angler points champion who advances farthest will earn $5,000 as the Yamaha “Be the Best” points champion in the Co-angler Division.

Every angler who receives weight credit in a tournament earns points, with 200 points going to the winner, 199 for second, 198 for third, and so on except for Super Tournaments, which award 300 points to the winner, 299 for second, 298 for third, and so on. The top 40 Great Lakes Division boaters and co-anglers based on year-end points standings will advance to the Fort Madison Regional near Fort Madison, Iowa, Oct. 5-7, where they will compete against Illini, Michigan and Ozark anglers for one of six slots in the 2007 All-American. With a total purse of $1 million and a potential $140,000 cash prize going to the winning boater and $70,000 going to the winning co-angler, the All-American is one of the most prestigious and lucrative events in bass fishing.

The $8.8 million Wal-Mart Bass Fishing League features 28 divisions nationwide. In BFL competition, boaters and co-anglers are randomly paired, with boaters supplying the boat and fishing against other boaters and co-anglers fishing from the back deck against other co-anglers. For more information or to enter a tournament, call (270) 252-1000 or visit

Named after the legendary founder of Ranger Boats, Forrest L. Wood, FLW Outdoors administers the Wal-Mart Bass Fishing League and nine other national tournament circuits offering a combined $35.5 million in awards through 235 events in 2006. The 27-year-old organization is the purveyor of America’s largest and most prestigious fishing tournaments, including the Wal-Mart FLW Tour, Wal-Mart FLW Series, Stren Series, Wal-Mart Bass Fishing League, Wal-Mart Texas Tournament Trail, Wal-Mart FLW Walleye Tour, Wal-Mart FLW Walleye League, Wal-Mart FLW Kingfish Tour, Wal-Mart FLW Kingfish Series and Wal-Mart FLW Redfish Series.

Wal-Mart and many of America’s largest and most respected companies support FLW Outdoors and its tournament trails. Wal-Mart signed on as title sponsor of the FLW Tour in 1997 and today is the title sponsor of all FLW Outdoors events. For more information on Wal-Mart, visit