CLEWISTON, Fla. – Benny Townend of Boynton Beach, Florida, weighed a five-bass limit totaling 27 pounds, 9 ounces Saturday to win the first Walmart Bass Fishing League Gator Division tournament of 2015 on Lake Okeechobee. For his victory, Townend earned $6,000.
“This tournament is something I’ve been practicing hard for,” said Townend, who earned the first victory of his career. “I did my best to stay focused and not worry about what the other boaters were catching.”
Over the course of the day Townend found success on the south end of the lake. He said that he pitched a ½-ounce green-pumpkin colored Gambler Why Not in the open pockets of the wiregrass. In between the pockets Townend relied on swimbaits to reach a quick limit.
“I knew that I could catch 18 or 19 pounds down there,” added Townend. “After that I just needed a big one, and I found her.”
Around 2 p.m., Townend pulled into a familiar spot and nabbed a 10-pound, 2-ounce behemoth to seal the victory.
“I grabbed a Heroic flipping stick and pitched the Why Not down the first pockethole in the needlegrass. It went maybe an inch below the surface and I set the hook,” said Townend. “I reached down there to grab it and was speechless.”
Rounding out the top 10 boaters on Lake Okeechobee:
1st: Benny Townend, Boynton Beach, Fla., five bass, 27-9, $6,000
2nd: Robert Crosnoe, Inverness, Fla., five bass, 25-7, $3,000
3rd: Paul Malone, Pleasant Valley, Iowa, five bass, 22-5, $2,000
4th: Ken Fitton, Loxahatchee, Fla., five bass, 21-15, $1,400
5th: Jim Gestwicki, Miami, Fla., five bass, 21-13, $1,200
6th: Dillon McMillan, Belle Glade, Fla., five bass, 20-14, $1,100
7th: Jason Jastrzemski, Wellington, Fla., five bass, 20-4, $1,000
8th: Don Demott, Boca Raton, Fla., five bass, 19-14, $900
9th: George Kapiton, Inverness, Fla., five bass, 19-13, $800
10th: Charles Bass, Felda, Fla., five bass, 19-1, $700
Complete results can be found by clicking here.
Forthun tops co-anglers
The top 10 co-anglers:
1st: Jesse Forthun, Cape Coral, Fla., five bass, 16-15, $3,000
2nd: Scott Stoll, Saint Cloud, Fla, five bass, 16-10, $1,500
3rd: James Brooks, Inverness, Fla., five bass, 16-8, $1,000
4th: Evan Barnes, Hot Springs, Ark., five bass, 15-2, $700
5th: Ernie Thompson, Anthony, Fla., five bass, 14-14, $600
6th: Brad McCullough, Ocala, Fla., five bass,14-10, $550
7th: Jessey Rudolph, Deltona, Fla., five bass, 14-5, $500
8th: Coleman Roberts, Ft. Myers, Fla., five bass, 13-10, $450
9th: James Bass, Felda, Fla., five bass, 13-7, $400
10th: Garry Moore, Jacksonville, Fla., five bass, 13-5, $332
10th: Robbie Sanger, Lakeland, Fla., five bass, 13-5, $332
Complete co-angler results can be found by clicking here.
The top 50 boaters and 50 co-anglers based on point standings will qualify for the Oct. 8-10 Regional Championship on Lake Sinclair in Milledgeville, Georgia. Boaters will compete for a top award of a Ranger Z518C with a 200-horsepower Evinrude or Mercury outboard and $20,000, while co-anglers will fish for a new Ranger Z518C with a 200-horsepower Evinrude or Mercury outboard.