PLATTSBURGH — Thomas LaVictoire, of West Rutland, Vt., and Dennis Rhodes, of Philadelphia in Jefferson County, were the big winners Saturday on Lake Champlain in the first of five Empire Division tournaments in the $8.8 million Wal-Mart Bass Fishing League.

LaVictoire, in winning the Boater Class, earned $4,105 for his catch of five bass weighing 16 pounds, 13 ounces. He beat out a field of 144 in the boater class. The class produced 95 limits and a total weight of 1,336 pounds, 7 ounces. All but one of the 584 fish weighed was alive.

Simon Morgan, Mansfield, Pa., won the Big Bass Award and $1,000 for his 5-pound catch.

In the Co-Angler Class, Rhodes, of Philadelphia near Watertown actually produced the catch of the day. He hauled in five bass with a total weight of 18 pounds, 15 inches, good for $2,343.

Dennis Snyder, Millville, N.J., had the Big Bass of the Day for Co-Anglers with a 4-pound, 5-ounce catch that earned him $500.

The Co-Angler competition featured 138 participants with 55 catching their five-bass limit. Only one of the 421 weighed in was not alive and the total weight for the co-anglers was 836 pounds, 8 ounces.

Joel Palmer, of Saint Regis Falls, was the top Northern New York angler in the Boater Class. He came in 12th with a catch of 15 pounds, 1 ounce, which earned $467.

James Jeffries, Rouses Point, also landed in the money with his haul of 13 pounds, 1 ounce, which was good for $258 and 28th place.

Two North Country co-anglers were in the money. Larry LaClair of Churubusco placed 12th with a catch of 11 pounds, 14 ounces. He netted $226.

Plattsburgh’s Casey Casamento finished in a three-way tie for 14th at 11 pounds, 9 ounces. He picked up $196.33.

Empire Division anglers will visit Oneida Lake in Brewerton, N.Y., July 14 for their second regular-season event.

A two-day Super Tournament, the division’s fifth and final event, will be held on Lake Champlain in Plattsburgh, Sept. 22-23.

For a list of anglers who finished in the money and all area fishermen involved in Saturday’s tournament, see Page B3.

gional Championship in Marbury, Md., Oct. 11-13 and will compete against anglers from the Northeast, Piedmont and Shenandoah divisions for an All-American berth.

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.

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