Weekend Wrap-Up - Major League Fishing

Weekend Wrap-Up

BFL action heating up across the country
Image for Weekend Wrap-Up
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. Angler: Zack Birge.
March 16, 2015 • Kyle Wood • Archives

This past weekend the Walmart Bass Fishing League season kicked into high gear with six events – three of them were season openers (LBL, Okie and Volunteer divisions).

A recent warming trend and resulting rising water temperatures across the country had many anglers targeting fish that were moving back into spawning areas. Both the LBL and Okie division tournaments proved that the big girls are moving shallow.

Here’s a recap of the weekend.

Starting Out with a Bang

Kentucky Lake has been stingy as of late, with numerous reports of tough fishing resulting from the harsh winter that Kentucky has endured. Expectations for the BFL event were marginal until local ace Craig Hipsher of Benton, Ky., blew the doors off the tournament with a 24-pound, 4-ounce limit. His winning margin was more than 10 pounds thanks to three 6-pound bites.

Hipsher utilized three dynamite baits for prespawn action: A Rapala Shad Rap, Rat-L-Trap and Accent Lures spinnerbait (which is what produced his 6-10 kicker) were all used to do some damage.

Meanwhile, over in Oklahoma, Walmart FLW Tour rookie and reigning Rayovac FLW Series champion Zack Birge was also taking advantage of warming waters to produce his 29-1 monster bag at Grand Lake in the Okie Division.

Birge took time out of his schedule while preparing for the upcoming Tour event on Lewis Smith Lake to practice on Grand, which is his home fishery. He found an isolated pocket with warmer water that ended up being the key. Birge spent his entire day fishing the area, knowing that the big females would eventually make their way to him.

While most of the field was throwing jerkbaits and umbrella rigs, Birge opted to keep it simple with a chrome sexy shad Rat-L-Trap. His persistence paid off in a big way.

Slow and Steady

The rest of the BFL tournaments weren’t as heavy-hitting but still showcased the same types of patterns, with the winners targeting fish that seemed eager to storm the banks.

William Hugan of Little Rock, Ark., took top honors in the Arkie Division event on Greers Ferry with a winning weight of 14-4. In the Volunteer Division, Jason Bridwell of Gray, Tenn., claimed the hardware with a 17-7 limit on Cherokee Lake.

Over on the famous Dale Hollow Lake, Charles Morrison of Georgetown, Ky., grabbed the win with a football jig, which he used to sack up 20-11 worth of bass. Morrison departed from the shallow prespawn theory and focused on deeper drops for his catch.

Lastly, Lake Russell was the host of the Savannah River Division tournament, where Bo Price of Westminster, S.C., hauled in 17 pounds to net a victory. Like Hipsher, Price also got his two best bites (a 5- and 6-pounder) on a spinnerbait.

The Week Ahead

This coming weekend features both FLW College Fishing and Rayovac FLW Series action. Both tournaments will be worth watching closely.

The Rayovac FLW Series will be taking on Lake Guntersville in what is shaping up to be an absolute slugfest. If BFL results from Guntersville two weeks ago are any indication of the bite (five limits of more than 30 pounds were caught) then this one could be one for the record books.

Kentucky Lake will host the first ever FLW College Fishing Open on Friday and Saturday. Any eligible college team can compete for one of 10 slots in the 2016 FLW College Fishing National Championship. The winning team takes home a Ranger Z117 and 90-hp motor.

The action is heating up on both Tennessee River impoundments, so expect to see big weights this weekend. Follow along with FLW’s full coverage at FLWFishing.com.

Lastly, BFL action will continue to roll along with four events taking place:

Mississippi Division – Ross Barnett

Mountain Division – Dale Hollow

Shenandoah Division – Smith Mountain

South Carolina Division – Santee Cooper