In a couple weeks, Terry Bolton will be competing in the 2019 FLW Cup at Lake Hamilton with $300,000 on the line. This weekend, however, Terry and his wife, Dacy, are celebrating getting the win in the 2019 FLW Foundation Benefit Tournament on Kentucky Lake. The Boltons weighed in a three-bass limit worth 12 pounds, 2 ounces to win the $2,000 top prize plus an additional $500 for being the highest-finishing team in the bonus family category.
“We caught every one of them on a jig,” says Terry. “We threw a worm just a little bit, but everything we caught was on the jig. They were in about, I’d say, 8 to 13 feet of water. We just fished shallow ledges with brush piles.
“That was our initial plan, and that’s normally what I like to do this time of year. The first brush pile I stopped on this morning I caught a 4-pounder, and I thought, OK, this is going to be easy. And about an hour later she caught another one, and then we went about four hours without a bite.”
With less than an hour left until check-in time, Terry and Dacy ran to a spot where Terry found a school of bass a few weeks ago. He idled over them, and only saw a couple fish.
“It was like 1:30, and I didn’t have anywhere else to fish, because I haven’t been fishing,” Terry says. “So we start fishing, and we got two bites there on the initial fall. When I picked up they were on them, and we caught two big ones there, and that was it.”
For the second year in a row, this charity tournament has served as the concluding event for the Costa FLW High School Fishing Camp, which wrapped up last night at Murray State University. Each year, it’s drawn some of the best locals, including Tour pros and BFL sticks.
This year’s field included 87 teams, raising about $15,000 for various FLW Foundation projects, and served as a laid-back competition for campers to enjoy with their family and friends. Several campers also got to fish with FLW pros Cody Kelley, Joey Cifuentes, James Niggemeyer and Jimmy Houston. But there might have been no more heated competition than what took place in the Bolton family’s Ranger.
Like when Terry culled out Dacy’s only keeper of the day; he might have been in a little hot water, at least until they found out they’d won a couple grand.
“I’m gonna just tell you, there was a competition today in the boat that would rival the competition between the other 86 boats,” Terry says. “I’ve been trying to explain to her that I’ve fished team tournaments since 1988, and sometimes one [teammate] catches them and that’s just the way it works. When I culled her fish out, she said, ‘You just culled my fish, didn’t you?’ I said, ‘Honey, I’m sorry I set the hook. Next time you want me to shake it off?’”
“I’m getting pretty good at netting,” Dacy jokes.
In fairness, Dacy did catch more fish than Terry. She landed four to his three. And according to Terry, she gets the check.
Other than the top prize, FLW also paid $500 in bonus money for the top-finishing men’s team and the top-finishing high school team. (Several other categories were offered but did not field enough teams to pay out a prize.)
Maxson Mitchell, Bill Schroeder and Billy Schroeder won the top prize among men’s teams with 11-6, earning $500 plus $1,000 for finishing second overall. Austin Moody Phelps and Matthew Wilson won $500 for being the top high school team with 9-2 and finished ninth overall. Timmy Griggs and Steve Nelson finished third overall to earn $500.
Brian Lopez and Ryan Tate, fishing with FLW Tour pro Joey Cifuentes, won $500 for bringing in the biggest fish of any species. They weighed a 6-pound, 5-ounce catfish.
There was even a kayak competition, which was won by Gavin Williamson with a pair of keeper bass that earned him a Navionics map chip, an Orion cooler and some cash.
“It was rough in the beginning,” says Williamson, a high school senior who lives in Atlanta. “I decided to run about a mile and a half in the beginning, down to the docks. I lost a 17-inch bass on a black-and-blue jig, then caught a 15-inch bass on a black-and-blue jig, flipping the docks. I ran back up here to the marina when it started getting windy and started throwing a wacky rig on the grass. I caught one there, and from there it just kind of stayed stagnant.”
Click hereto see a photo gallery from the 2019 Costa FLW High School Fishing Camp.
Click hereto see a gallery from today’s FLW Foundation Benefit Tournament.
1. Terry and Dacy Bolton – 12-2 (3) – $2,000
2. Maxson Mitchell, Bill Schroeder and Billy Schroeder – 11-6 (3) – $1,000
3. Timmy Griggs and Steve Nelson – 11-1 (3) – $500
4. Christian Heltsley, Roger Heltsley and Jackson Kulijof – 11-0 (3)
5. Ramie Colson Jr. and Douglas Colson – 10-2 (3)
6. Caleb Griffin and Dan Griffin – 9-14 (3)
7. Brian Lopez, Ryan Tate and Joey Cifuentes – 9-13 (3)
8. Cody Kelley, Caden Mathews and Christian Misciagna – 9-11 (3)
9. Austin Moody Phelps and Matthew Wilson – 9-2 (3)
10. Harlan Thomas and Marshall Evans – 8-12 (2)